Aug 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm #1292777
Heading out on Friday and deciding between these places. Anyone have any recent experience hiking at either? Especially interested in current water levels.
We're a little short on driving time so trying not to drive more than 3-4 hours so we have plenty of time on the trails. Mainly just looking for a cool place with water and trees for some shade.
Never been to either of these places. Love to hear about some good spots and directions about how to get there. Thanks!
Fishbowls from the Piedras Blancas trailhead
Kern River or creek
Thanks!Aug 9, 2012 at 3:52 pm #1901491
There is a reason everyone drives a few extra hours to the SEKI.
First time I went there, I kicked myself for spending so many years diddling around ANYWHERE else in California, including Yosemite.
This time of year, hot and dry, I'd go high. How about the Alta trail to Alta Meadow, bunk down there for two nights (tent or tarp, not hammock) and use your layover day to climb the trail to Alta Peak? Unforgettable. And Alta Peak will give you a view of all kinds of places within SEKI you'll want to go in the future.
All the lower-elevation places will be nicer in Spring, Feb-June. Lots more lush, green, flowers, water access, etc. Save those places for next Spring.
I'll be honest about Kern River where you access it from the highway: It is basically Redneck country and right now it is probably hot as h**l.
Wherever you go: Write us a report!
– ElizabethAug 9, 2012 at 9:27 pm #1901573
I was at fishbowls at the end of June. There was plenty of water at that time, but obviously that was over a month ago. Nice hike though. I went in from Mutau Flat Rd. and did a loop with cedar creek trail and piru creek. I'm sure it's nice and hot there right now so take that into consideration.Aug 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm #1901757
@guycooperLocale: Corvallis, Oregon
I'll second SEKI. But I'm quite biased as it is pretty much the only place I ever want to go (fortunately I grew up down the road in Visalia so didn't waste much time elsewhere).
The Alta trail is indeed a very enjoyable, quick and easy 2-3 day trip, and the view from Alta pk is awesome (in fact my avatar is me on top). Merhten, Alta and Panther meadows are all gorgeous along the way, and the views down the Kaweah canyon and up toward the GWD are awesome. From the summit of Alta you can follow the ridge to the north and drop down into Pear Lake and then follow the Lakes trail back to Wolverton. I would highly highly recommend this route to make it a loop, always more fun than an out and back.
A couple other fairly quick and easy trails in the area are the Lakes trail to Pear Lake (same trailhead as Alta trail – WOlverton), Jennie Lakes out of Big Meadows (dog-friendly as well), Eagle Lake out of Mineral King (can make a very easy x-country loop around White Chief Peak and down White Chief Canyon for a superb 2 night, or 1 night, trip). Or if you are looking to work a little harder, Sawtooth Pass is spectacular, a pretty easy summit from the pass gets you epic views of the Kaweahs and all the way to the Sierra Crest. Camping on the other side at Lake Columbine is spectacular and you can do the classic loop around to Little 5 and Big 5 Lakes, back around Black Rock Pass and over Timber Gap but that is pretty strenuous and is a minimum 3 very long days but most people do it in 4 or 5 or even 6 if you want to lay over and enjoy the excellent fishing at Big or Little 5.
Go to seki! Good luck,
GuyAug 12, 2012 at 2:44 pm #1902058
Thanks guys, ended up heading to cottonwood lakes and loved it. Tons of water and a perfect temp. Experienced a little rain but nothing major. Great time to head up there this time of year
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