Apr 6, 2012 at 5:43 pm #1288404
I am wondering if anyone here has been to the South Warner wilderness. I am wanting to go there this summer. I am interested in any experiences, what was the weather like, interesting trails/routes, good destinations, ect. I also want to check out lava beds national monument.Apr 16, 2012 at 8:02 pm #1867963
John BrownBPL Member
@johnbrown2005Locale: Portland, OR
I was an SCA volunteer there years ago. So no up to date info re: trails, etc. Here are my general impressions from back then.
Beautiful high lakes. Open, big pines. Views from an alpine environment out across dry lake beds and into Nevada basin and range, sagebrush country. Kind of unusual that way. Lot's of aspen, very pretty. Back in the day, Basque sheepherders carved pictures of women and letters written in basque language into the trees to pass time. Now they're head high or higher, looking down at you. Cool when you stumble upon one.
Super-remote, it's a trek to get out there from any major city. On the one hand the remoteness gives it a lot of wilderness quality, and relatively few users out-of-town users. On the other hand there's fair amount of grazing, and horsepacking, and the use is heavily concentrated around the lakes, where you could expect cut tree branches, pounded campsites, tangled fishing lines, trash in the firepits, toilet paper under rocks, etc. Again, ten years ago, so now idea what the patterns or management is now.
It's a neat and rarely seen (by city people) part of California. I guess overall, I'd say, definitely make it a stop if you're on a grand tour that takes you up that way, but I'm not sure I would drive a long way solely for that area.
Feel free to ask any other questions, will answer as best I can.
Oh, also, snows up there, so depending on the year, it follows the cycle of snowed in, wet and buggy, then dry and hot. With lots of beautiful times in between.Jun 3, 2012 at 2:37 pm #1883623
I live in Klamath Falls Oregon and my family has a second home in Fort Bidwell California in the norther Warner Mountains. I have spent the last 10 years of my life hiking around these areas and rarely seeing people despite how relatively accessible this area is. I strongly encourage you to go to this part of California. Stay at Winje's Farm Cottage near Lake City if you need a B&B as a starting point. Do hike Mount Vida, Mount Bidwell, and the South Warners. You will not be disappointed!Jun 3, 2012 at 2:49 pm #1883625
Oh yeh – Really did not answer your questions. September is the best month – can be really hot even at 9000 feet in July early August and not accessible into June. Do the Summit Trail in South Warners – Find the west side of loop to be in the trees and not as interesting but the east side along the ridge is spectacular. In the north warners near Fort Bidwell use High Grade Road Count Route 2 to access trails to Mount Vida and Mount Bidwell – You can almost drive up both but you won't see many people except during hunting season or a holiday weekend if at all. Get the Modoc National Forest Map and Topos – you will need them as some trails are not maintained and can be hard to find. The bookstore in Cedarville sells topos. Good grocery store (holiday market) in Alturus and good small store in Cedarville. General Store in Likely is helpful too. No food or gas north of cedarville so stock up here if you head the northern part of surprise valley. A subaru could make all access roads including fandango pass road (route 9) and high grade road (route 2) from June to early October.
Lava Beds (some 70 miles west and north of Alturus) is really worth the visit but check out National Park Service website first as many caves require preregistration to visit. Many others to see though and nice hiking trails across great basin landscape – hot in summer with little cover. Go up to Medicine Lake while you are there and hike the lava flow.
Late posting but hope you get this in time for your trip.Jul 23, 2012 at 5:22 pm #1896987
I didn't realize that anyone had responded to this thread, so a late thank you!Jul 23, 2012 at 6:09 pm #1897000
I can't decide between going to North Emerson Lake and trying to push up to Eagle Peak or going from the north to Patterson Lake. Any input? I might just flip a coin. I'm leaving Thursday after work and I need to be in my car Sunday morning.Jul 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm #1897049
USA Duane HallBPL Member
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
I've been up there a couple times, snowed once, turned around and came back home, was not prepared for snow. My one successful trip, no one back in there for my Sept. trip, nice weather, no deer hunters. Did a big loop in two nights/ three days. Loved the Aspen grove. I started at the south end, looped around Squaw Peak (well named :) ). I'm away from home for the week so do not have my map to check names. Seems the lake close to Squaw Peak was highly over used, no fire wood but still a nice lake. May be summer campers, may have been sheep herders who use it extensively.
Lava Beds was neat, nice campground with water, restrooms, picnic tables. If visiting the caves, would be a great experience to go with someone who has explored there before. I was there this Spring with some highly experienced cavers, a great trip, a full day exploring. About six of us from our NorthCA Hiking group went for two nights. Bring a high horsepower light as the caves really eat up any small flashlight.
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