Sep 13, 2008 at 12:49 pm #1231155
Does anyone have any recommendations for early winter trips in the Southern Sierra's? We're looking for something in the 20-40 mile range. We are willing to use snowshoes, but we do not want to get into anything which would require any mountaineering gear. Something w/o any steep passes or traverses.
Thanks.Sep 15, 2008 at 10:13 am #1451175
@slnsfLocale: Northern California
Sequoia National Park would be a good place to start – they keep the main road plowed and one of the lodges open for winter, with cross-country and backcountry/snowshoe routes following many of the summer trails. There's also a forest service cabin for rent at Pear Lake (caveat: nothing technical on the route but there is a stretch where you need to assess avalanche danger and avoid/turn around when prudent).Sep 15, 2008 at 11:16 am #1451182
Which route are you refering to? Which highway to which trailhead?
thanks.Sep 15, 2008 at 12:36 pm #1451184
I searched for Pear Lake, and if I found the one your talking about, it is about 7 miles in from Lodgepole Trailhead. Is that correct?Sep 15, 2008 at 3:57 pm #1451197
@slnsfLocale: Northern California
You're on the right track: Wolverton is the trailhead I've used, though Lodgepole may get you there as well. The "lakes trail" heads from there to Heather, Emerald, Pear and other lakes. Wuksachi Lodge stays open in winter and there are numerous trails around it and Grant Grove. If you call the ranger station there (at Lodgepole) I bet they'll be glad to suggest other backcountry routes in addition to the one to Pear Lake Hut.Sep 29, 2008 at 9:28 am #1452645
***Something w/o any steep passes or traverses.***
Shawn, I know you are familar with the Kern River Valley but just a little north, west of Kennedy Meadows, there are some possibilities north from the Black Rock Gap trailhead. No traverses nor are there any steep passes within the range of miles you are suggesting. You can reach the trailhead driving east from Johnsondale or west from 395 through Kennedy Meadows. The road isn't plowed so be careful of an "ify" forecast.Oct 10, 2008 at 8:31 am #1453950
Are you refering to the Sherman Pass Road? Is this trailhead right off of Sherman Pass Road?Oct 10, 2008 at 8:58 am #1453954
Yes, this is the Sherman Pass Rd., also known as the Kennedy Meadows Rd, and Forest Route 21S97/22S38 and as the 9 Mile Canyon Road. All the same road but it changes names almost as often as it changes direction.Oct 10, 2008 at 11:04 am #1453967
John can you give me any other landmarks to help spot this trailhead. what is the best direction to come from the Johnsondale side or Kennedy Meadows side. I have considered doing a winter trip in the Black Rock / Beach Meadows region before, but I have never been confident in the road access. Have you been in that far on the Sherman Pass road before in November?Oct 10, 2008 at 1:43 pm #1453991
The last time I hiked out of Black Rock was in October or November many years ago. I came in from 395 and the weather was turning bad as I drove in past Kennedy Meadows and by the time I turned off to drive up to Black Rock Gap it was snowing. As far as landmarks go, the Black Rock Ranger Station is right on the corner of the turn-off to Black Rock Gap and it is shown on the Forest Service Map for that area. The road dead-ends at the trail head. You can't miss it. Call the Kernville Ranger station to see if the BRRS is still open. There is a snow gate that is closed after the first big snow.
To help specify the time, there was a bear hunt going on and it was between deer seasons or the first season was just ending. Also there was a ranger still on duty at the Black Rock station prior to it closing down for the winter. That is about as close as I can pinpoint the time of year. This had to have been at least 20 years ago. By the way I was driving a sedan. If you have a 4-wheeler and chains I’d give it a go. However check with the ranger to make sure they don’t lock the gate behind you.
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