Oct 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm #1294677
I was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for a 2 night trip in November? I am in the East Bay about an hour from SF near Concord CA but do not mind a few hours drive.
Lately I have spent a lot of time at Henry W. Coe State Park and am looking for somewhere new to try at that time of year. Looking for somewhere with enough trees to pitch a hammock also.
Thanks for all the suggestions!Oct 3, 2012 at 6:04 pm #1917939
Tony WongBPL Member
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
What about doing the Mt. Diablo trail?
Recently completed…think it was 30 miles or so.
You would start from Marsh Creek Rd out by Clayton and then hike to the Walnut Creek side of the world.
Details can be found on a past article on BPL by Jeremy Pendrey.
-TonyOct 3, 2012 at 8:00 pm #1917969
Hummm. Not a bad idea. I had forgotten about that one. I live right next to Mt. Diablo so know the terrain pretty well. Any other suggestions?Oct 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm #1917986
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Hey Justin a suggestion:
Off HWY 24 the Briones Reservoir Loop at 16 miles. You can connect to other trails in the area with lots of trees for your hammock and possibly a little fishing plus very close to Concord.Oct 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm #1917993
That sounds like a nice possibility as well.Oct 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm #1917999
Where do you camp on the Briones loop?Oct 3, 2012 at 9:34 pm #1918011
Jay WilkersonBPL Member
@creachenLocale: East Bay
You stealth camp (007) which I have done. There is a book called "The East Bay Trails" which describes the hike in detail. There is also the Sunol Wilderness.Oct 3, 2012 at 9:37 pm #1918012
Thanks Jay. I forgot about Sunol Wilderness. Looking like the Diablo Trail might be the way I go.Oct 3, 2012 at 10:06 pm #1918019
Cache Creek Natural Area. It's south of highway 20 near Clear Lake. Oak/pine woodlands, grasslands, dense chapparal. Hike into Wilson Valley. I recommend the Redbud trail.
No permits, no nothing, just park and walk in. There is a good chance of not seeing another person. Just a great place to relax and explore.Oct 3, 2012 at 11:16 pm #1918037
Elizabeth TracyBPL Member
Personally I like to follow the seasons.
Spring: Inland (East Bay/North Bay/South Bay, or even out to gold country). It's green and beautiful. Wildflowers.
Summer + September: Sierras
Fall: The coast. Still some green and flowers left there, and even better, the wind and fog abate in the fall, so more chances of a calm sunny day. You could even fit in section of Big Sur down south, or Lost Coast up north. Inland (and particularly East Bay) is brown after May and not too interesting IMO.
Winter: In the trees – such as Big Basin
I'd go to Pt. Reyes. But it's been a while since I've been there, and I can't recall which campsites have trees for your hammock.
Skyline-to-the-sea trail (starting at Castle Rock State Park in south bay) is a must-do. It's perfect for 3 days.
When in November? What I said about the nice fall on the coast may not apply on Nov. 30! Skyline-to-sea is mostly in the trees, which is nice if you get rain.
– ElizabethOct 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm #1918040
I'm thinking about November 17-19th. I was looking at Skyline to the Sea but need to avoid a point to point. Are there any good loops around Big Basin? I was also looking at Ventana Wilderness.Oct 5, 2012 at 5:42 pm #1918522
Ventana is AMAZING. It's extremely unique and definitely my favorite wild place ever.Oct 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm #1918534
I was just poring over my map and thinking about heading down there. Also have a friend up near desolation wilderness who says he knows a good spot that would work near Grouse Lake. Any suggestions about routes in Ventana?Oct 5, 2012 at 8:35 pm #1918557
I would head to the ranger station off of highway 1 and go on the pine ridge trail. You will be treated to massive gorges and mountains. Redwoods everywhere, they are actually scattered high mountain redwoods that suck up the coastal fog, really unique forests. There is really no place in the world looks like Ventana.
The most popular destination is the Sykes Hot spring along the Pine Ridge Trail. If you want to check out the hot springs, I highly recommend against camping at Sykes Camp. It's a boring and overly crowded place to set up camp. I went there in December and the every single flat spot was filled with people. On the other hand, Barlow Flat is one of the best camping areas I have ever seen. It's usually pretty empty, maybe a few people at times. Very flat are with massive redwoods and large areas to set up. It's right next to the Big Sur River.
There is also Ventana camp, which is not marked and the trail is unmaintained to get there. It's a nice camp though, if you don't mind wandering down some slightly confusing switchbacks and brushing up against prickly plants and poison oak. It's the most likely camp to have nobody in it.
If you keep hiking the trail past Sykes, you end up towards the pine ridge area, which is higher elevation with pine forests. I haven't been up there yet.
If you are feeling truly adventurous, you can hike up the big sur river. The big sur river is very, very calm and safe. You basically wade up or downstream. You will encounter some amazing natural features and pristine ecosystems that very, very few people have ever seen. There are some perfect little banks with sand and redwoods and perfect swimming holes that have no signs of people ever camping there. BUT, you will be forced to swim at times and it's impossible to exit the river area (steep, rocky cliffs and mountains all around). You can only do that safely in warm weather.
There is also the Ventana Double Cone hike, which I have not done yet but want to. In the winter the high mountains and ridges can get snow, which is very unique for a coastal area.Oct 5, 2012 at 10:08 pm #1918580
WOW! Great review. Sounds like I may just take the Ventana route. Looking for some pretty serious mileage so I may shoot for Ventana camp or beyond. Thanks for the help everyone.Oct 9, 2012 at 5:03 pm #1919634
@sbreckLocale: Bay Area
I'm doing a 3 day hike of Pine Ridge Trail this weekend. Heading down from SF Friday afternoon, and will probably arrive around dusk- do you know of places to camp that first night that will keep me close to the trail head? I've heard about a hike/bike spot within a mile of the ranger station, but no one seems to know how to get to it.
I plan to camp Saturday night at Barlow, and possibly Sunday as well. Steering clear of Sykes.
Thanks!Oct 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm #1919635
I will take a look at my map tomorrow before work and shoot you a line on something if I see a good spot.Oct 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm #1919645
I haven't seen anything that was really campable between the trail head and the camps.
I have night hiked to the Terrace Creek camp several times. It's a bit of a walk though. There is the closer Ventana Camp, which you need to take some steep switchbacks to get to. However, there is a small flat area before you take the trail down that would be ok. But, you are probably going to walk right by it and miss the turn off.
Unfortunatley, it's pretty much impossible to find a flat spot anywhere except for the flat areas near creeks/rivers. You can't just walk off the trail and sleep unless you have a hammock. The mountains there are relentlessly steep.
Barlow flat is nice. If you are interested, there is a very nice area upstream. But you need to wade upstream and it's very out of the way. And I don't think anybody ever goes there (except me and my hiking friend). But the well beaten campsites at the camp are very nice as well.Oct 9, 2012 at 5:47 pm #1919647
Thus the reason I switched to hammocks. With a little modification can still keep my pack weight under 7 lbs and can sleep almost anywhere!Oct 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm #1919648
Have you thought about trying to get a spot at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for the night and just start early the next day?Oct 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm #1919705
Yeah, you will be very glad to have the hammock. Some of the areas near the river are very rocky but very nice.Oct 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm #1919729
Sometimes hard to get a camp site at PBS.
Try Andrew Molera State Park just a few miles north on Highway 1.
Walk-in about 3/4 mile, camp in a big meadow with picnic tables and fire rings, flush toilets & running water, first-come, first-serve, and the old party scene is pretty much gone.Oct 9, 2012 at 11:09 pm #1919742
A 2 night loop around Big Basin, might go Park HQ > Lane Camp > Sunset Camp > Park HQ.
Must camp in established camp sites. No water at Lane, water in Berry Creek about 1/4 mi downhill from Sunset.
Make reservations by phone 831-338-8861 M-F 9-5, more info here. Double check your reservation email, I've found significant errors every time.
HIghly recommend the Redwood Hikes Press maps for any hikes in the Santa Cruz Mountains. I'm fond of the Bay Area Trail Map Saratoga to Big Basin, and Bay Area Trail Map Half Moon Bay to Cupertino for overview and bang-for-buck.
If anyone's interested in a 100 mile loop through the Santa Cruz mountains that includes Palo Alto and the Pacific Ocean, let me know. I've done variations three times now, most recently in August 2012.Oct 9, 2012 at 11:29 pm #1919746
Four backpack campgrounds in Point Reyes:
Glen – Some sites in the trees.
Sky – Some sites in the trees.
Wildcat – No sites with trees. Some trees near camp if you want to take your chances.
Coast – No sites with trees. Some trees near camp if you want to take your chances.
You can check out air photos with camp sites marked on the NPS Point Reyes web site.
I've never used a hammock, so can't say if the trees are suitable for that.Oct 10, 2012 at 9:23 pm #1920120
@sbreckLocale: Bay Area
Thanks very much for the insight. I am playing it safe and going to Pfeiffer Friday night and starting out early Saturday.
thanks for the tip on Barlow, we will check that out on Saturday.
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