Big SEKI Loop (as an alternative to the JMT)
A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!
Home › Forums › Campfire › Trip Planning › Big SEKI Loop (as an alternative to the JMT)
- This topic has 127 replies, 39 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 10 months ago by Pablo 2000.
Mar 18, 2015 at 6:53 am #2183678
I have been searching online too and came up with this option:
Does anyone have experience with this service?
I wonder if there is a way to plan to share the ride expense?Mar 18, 2015 at 7:15 am #2183685
"is there any kind of shuttle service to road's end from Fresno? I think not because google has revealed zip. Anyone hitchhike in and out before?"
No, there is not. The road opens in May, usually. People have hitchhiked but it's a tough sell – there isn't nearly the traffic there is in Yosemite.
There is a shuttle into Sequoia from Visalia, however.Mar 21, 2015 at 9:29 am #2184745
Thanks for the info!Mar 23, 2015 at 12:34 pm #2185257
It seems that the shuttle from Visalia to Sequoia runs only in the summer season.
Do you know of any public transportation from Fresno to the park (ultimately to Road's End Trailhead) in September?Mar 23, 2015 at 1:32 pm #2185276
There's no public trans into Kings at all, or Sequoia, from Fresno.Mar 23, 2015 at 1:48 pm #2185279
Sequoia Shuttle: https://www.sequoiashuttle.com/
"Our 2015 Season will begin May 21st and run through September 27th."
$15 round trip, includes shuttle service inside the park.
There is Amtrak service to Visalia. http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/publictransportation.htm
That shuttle service only serves Sequoia, but I suspect it wouldn't be that tough to hitch from Sequoia to Kings Canyon – but I've never done it. Hitching from the Central Valley up to the mountains would be tough and I wouldn't count on success, but once in the mountains I'd probably take my chances.
It would be an long all day endeavor to get from Fresno all the way to Roads End. Not easy like the east side trailheads.Mar 23, 2015 at 7:39 pm #2185407
Thank you. I called the shuttle service this am and was told that the shuttle would stop running come September. After getting your post I went back to the shuttle info site to see they had changed the info stating they would run until end of September. This is good news.
But then I still have to get from Sequoia to Cedar Grove…(without a car)
This planning for your area is new to me.I am flying from MA and thought that starting at Road's End with the proximity to Fresno made logistical sense. But maybe that is not the best planning.
Would you advise starting at a different trailhead/permit after flying in (maybe to Reno?) in order to hike your Big SEKI Loop?Mar 23, 2015 at 8:08 pm #2185416
The Big SEKI Loop really is best from Cedar Grove (aka Roads End). It was designed with that starting point in mind. But access to that trailhead without a car is tough.
If you're coming in from MA, I'd be inclined to fly to Reno and use ESTA http://www.estransit.com to take the bus down to one of the east side trailheads instead, and hike a different hike instead of the Big SEKI Loop. Bus access up and down highway 395 is pretty good, and Reno is a major airport with lots of flights. And hitching from 395 to any of the trailheads is very easy.
If you want a trail hike that's got good bus access from an airport, then I'd fly to Reno, bus to Bishop, hitch to North Lake trailhead (west of Bishop), hike up over Piute Pass, and drop west to pick up the JMT/PCT. Stay on the PCT when it splits from the JMT near Mt Whitney (which is a crowd scene that you should avoid unless you want to say you've been to the highest point in the lower-48) and exit over New Army Pass or Cottonwood Pass. From there it's an easy hitch down to Lone Pine. Spend a night in Lone Pine and take the morning ESTA bus back to Reno.
Very rough map of this route: http://caltopo.com/m/6A6G
This has you on the JMT for most of the trip. It's the best part of the JMT, and although not isolated from other hikers it is stellar scenery. In my experience, the JMT thru-hikers rarely go more than 200 meters from the trail. So just plan to wander 30 minutes off trail at the end of each day and you're likely to have your own lake or meadow all to yourself.
If you don't have time to go from North Lake, then you could start at South Lake instead and go over Bishop Pass to reach the JMT (but then you miss Muir Pass and the associated high lakes). If you're comfortable with easy off trail hiking, then start at North Lake and go over Lamarck Col.
There are MANY great hikes in the Sierra from the east side. I'm suggesting one that is very easy to describe. The JMT is not the only trail, but it's the simplest waMar 23, 2015 at 8:45 pm #2185425
Martha – or, alternately, spring for the $300-400 and rent a car at the Fresno airport. Just depends on whether your time is more valuable than your money.Mar 25, 2015 at 4:57 am #2185801
Thank you Amy for all the information and for taking the time to suggest some alternate options from the east.
Yes time versus money?! I am hoping to spring for the rental if all goes as planned.
Very much appreciate your knowledge and sharing your experience.Apr 21, 2015 at 7:08 pm #2193772
Stupid questions to anyone who hikes in seki often: I just got a confirmation for a reservation at Bubbs creek in August. I made it for 11 days, what exactly happens if I'm on the trail for an extra day? I also made the exit bubbs creek, technically it would be copper creek. Does this matter?
Last question: any ideas on how the drought will effect the area? Should I be worried about water?
This will be my first time visiting the sierras so not to familiar with how reservations work . . .
Thanks in advance for any info.Apr 21, 2015 at 9:39 pm #2193795Andrew FMember
@andrew-fLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
The rangers will happily change your exit TH or trip duration when you pick up the permit; it won't affect your reservation. It's mainly used for SAR purposes if someone reports you missing.
Named creeks and rivers will still have water in August, and of course the lakes will too.Apr 21, 2015 at 9:59 pm #2193799Jim SweeneyBPL Member
@swimjayLocale: Northern California
Just to emphasize that the rangers never check that you've exited on the day you said you would, or in fact ever exited. The system is principally concerned with trail head apportioning, allowing a certain number to depart from each trail head each day. A secondary concern is to give them some idea where to look for you if you're reported lost. Once you're underway, especially after a few days, the schedule, and route, which you initially gave them can become quite elastic.Apr 22, 2015 at 7:19 am #2193839
What may happen, though, is if someone notices a car sitting a long time in the park parking lots, which are monitored, they'll run the plate. If they see you're quite a bit overdue they start searching. (I've been on a couple of those in Yosemite.)Apr 22, 2015 at 9:25 am #2193863
Thanks everyone for your responses. I have the maps but havent started figuring out an itenerary. I'm planning on 15 miles per day. Are there long stretches without water, say ten miles or more?Apr 22, 2015 at 5:29 pm #2193951Theo DiekmannBPL Member
I will most likely do a variation of the Big Seki Loop in early August this year. I will probably bug you guys in order to figure out possible slight variations of the trail at a later time.
Right now, I have some more basic questions:
What day/night temperatures should I expect in early August?
The tent question: What do I have to expect in terms of bugs, chance of rain availability of tent-suitable spots, exposedness of the terrain and wind (and anything else you deem important), and based on that would you recommend
– fully zipable waterpoof bivy (with optional bug headnet and optional MLD rain kilt as micro tarp)
– MLD Monk Tarp with either waterproof or water-resistant bug-net bivy
– MLD Solomid w/ water-resistant bugnet-bivy
I should say I really like bivying (also my bivi is really light around 300g) and I guess I could cope with light drizzles or occasional showers but probably not long or frequent rain. Also the bivy is most forgiving with non-optimal camping spots. The tarp is a little small for weather protection in exposed areas but the Solomid might be a little overkill. What do you think?
Of course I'd also be interested in the water situation.
Thanks everybody (especially Amy) for putting together this awesome alternative to the JMT!Apr 23, 2015 at 12:07 am #2194000
I'll take a crack at some of these issues.
Day temperature? You should be prepared for it to get up to 65-70F.
Night temperature? You should be prepared for it to get down to 30F, light frost on the ground.
Bugs? By August, it may have dried out somewhat, so the bugs may not be a big deal. However, they can always be around in small numbers, especially if you camp near wet areas with moderate air temperatures. You want to have some kind of bug repellent, although you may not need to use much (if you are lucky). Also, a mosquito net head bad is handy.
Most of the time, the rain showers will not appear at all. Sometimes they appear for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Once in a while it will rain at night. Once in a while the precipitation will be sleet or hail instead of rain.
A fellow told me that it hardly ever rains in the Sierra Nevada. Then he went out on his next summer trip and got rained on for nine out of eleven days. Two years ago I got rained on (for a few hours) for five days in a row.
–B.G.–Apr 23, 2015 at 6:17 am #2194023Sam BuchtaBPL Member
I'm no Sierra expert but I'd add that although the daytime temps might not get high, the bright and strong sun can make things feel hotter and it's nice to have some clothes that can cover up exposed skin on your arms or legs while not making you too hot. Sun protection is pretty handy to have.
It also might feel a lot warmer in the lower areas of the trail but that shouldn't really be an issue.Apr 23, 2015 at 6:48 am #2194032
One of the things people underestimate is the sun at higher elevations. If you plan to be in granite for more than an hour or two, a big brimmed hat, long sleeves/pants and good sunglasses are important. It's possible to temporarily go blind up there. A friend had to redneck herself some eye protection on day 4 of a trip because the intense sun was giving her a headache. Another friend crossed the Tablelands in shorts and a tank top, and ran out of sunscreen trying not to fry, without success. It was her habit to wear shorts and short/no sleeves while hiking, with just a bandana on her head, and it was the first time she stayed above treeline in granite for a day's hiking. She begged sunscreen from the rest of us on the way to the car and looked pretty red and uncomfortable. So if you will be above treeline for extended periods don't rely on natural resistance to sunburn or sunscreen that sweats off.
There is usually about a 30 degree differential between night and day temps. It can swing farther – we exited early when a friend prepped for the forecasted 30F night temps and it plummeted to 15. She prepped for forecast, I usually take enough for comfort at 20F and survivability to well below that and would have been fine if perhaps a little chilly. We passed a ranger on New Army Pass wearing a heavy jacket and one of those fur lined hats with ear flaps and it was spitting snow. That was the last week of July/first week of August. The winds were so strong on 395 that I had to stop in Mojave at a motel to wait it out. The car was being pushed off the road. None of it was forecasted.Apr 23, 2015 at 1:05 pm #2194101
Yes, at higher elevations, the UV light in daylight is much stronger than at sea level. Therefore, you tend to sunburn a lot quicker. It depends on your actual elevation, but on the summit of Mount Whitney the UV intensity is about three times the normal sea level intensity.
–B.G.–Apr 24, 2015 at 10:53 am #2194336Theo DiekmannBPL Member
Thank you so much for your answers!
Bob's description of the bug-situation contained a lot of "mays". Is there a not negligible chance that I will find myself in serious bug-situations or can they mostly be avoided by smart choice of campsites? That's a decisive factor for my "bivy or not"-question.
As for the sun, I am prepared with long pants and pearl izumi sun sleeves (these things are amazing, the keep me nearly as cold as with just short sleeves). I will also invest in something like to OR Sun Runner, I guess. Really good sunglasses are at my disposal, too.
Temperatures sound okay, I can either bring my MLD Spirit 28 or a Brooks Range Alpini 15. I'm partial towards the MLD that I can pimp with an insulated jacket if needed.
As some of you may have noticed, I opened a different thread, in which I initially wanted to discuss dayhike opportunities before the BSL. However, the thread's focus shifted more towards creating a variation of the BSL. Since I do not want to capture this thread with a discussion about a route that is not the BSL, I will just post the link here:
It'd be very much appreciated if you could also share your knowledge in this thread!
Again, thank you so much!Apr 27, 2015 at 10:24 pm #2195225Kenneth KuanSpectator
Also thinking of doing the loop in August with my girlfriend. Just wanted to see if anyone has done this loop, CCW, using bear boxes for the first half until past Rae Lake? I currently planned out 8 days for it, with the first 5 nights using bear boxes so that a smaller canister (BV450) or an Ursack can be used to carry the rest of the food.
Day 1 (bear box): Road's End to Roaring River (15.3 miles)
Day 2 (bear box): Roaring River to Upper Hamilton Lake (14.7+0.9-ish miles)
Day 3 (bear box): Upper Hamilton Lake to Upper Funston Meadow (22.1 miles)
Day 4 (bear box): Upper Funston Meadow to Wallace Creek (13.6 miles)
Day 5 (bear box): Wallace Creek to jct with Sixty Lakes Basin Trail (20.9 miles)
Day 6: Sixty Lakes Basin Trail to somewhere near Upper Basin (17.7 + X miles)
Day 7: Previous point to Simpson Meadow (26.3 – X miles)
Day 8: Simpson Meadow to end (22.5 miles)
The mileage kind of ramps up (except for a long day 3 but followed by a shorter day 4). Actually with this route, one can even use an Ursack since the areas that require bear canister (Rae Lakes Loop) are covered by bear boxes. Thoughts? How much can one rely on bear boxes to have space? Even if bear boxes are full, is there any issue with using an Ursack and just securing it for areas that do not require a bear canister?Apr 27, 2015 at 10:57 pm #2195228
"Bob's description of the bug-situation contained a lot of "mays". Is there a not negligible chance that I will find myself in serious bug-situations or can they mostly be avoided by smart choice of campsites?"
If the weather tends toward being very dry, that will minimize the bug situation. If the weather tends toward being a bit cold, that will also minimize it. Many mosquitos might show up in the evening shade, so if you spend evenings in a dry, sunny spot with a little breeze, then that will help. You may not be able to control all of this. In some areas, you may not have much choice in where you camp. All of the perfect spots may be taken, so you get stuck with some flat a hundred feet from a wet stream.
–B.G.–Apr 28, 2015 at 8:01 am #2195280
Kenneth, a couple of thoughts.
Have you looked at the gain on some of the legs of your journey? If you or your girlfriend are not at the top of your game, that's going to hurt. I've half killed people on parts of this route.
What Upper Basin are you talking about (between Sixty Lakes and Simpson)? One does not simply bushwhack to Simpson Meadow – Tehipite is considered one of the most remote areas of the range simply because it becomes technical climbing or a completely miserable and dangerous bushwhack, even on some of the trailed routes. The Muro Blanco is not fun, either, even tho it's not vertical like other approaches.
I do not believe the Ursack is an option where there are habituated bears. Even if they do not get into it, they will not let up until they have damaged the tree or pulled the knot so tight you need bolt cutters. Once habituated bears taste the food, it's theirs. However, some of the areas you're heading into are quite remote, and the bears who love your food tend to hang out along the JMT. In closer to Tehipite the bears are merely curious to the point they take sustained effort to drive off – a little spooky how some of them act. They don't see lines of people carelessly leaving food about, so that's not the point of interest for them.Apr 28, 2015 at 8:31 am #2195287Kenneth KuanSpectator
Yea one thing I did not consider is the elevation gain, but this is still a preliminary planning stage for me. As for fitness, we should be hiking a fair bit from June until August at elevation, so if we decide to go through with this we will definitely train for it.
On the map it just says Upper Basin, but really stopping any point past Pinchot Pass for that night would work since that is where bear canisters are required (Forrester to Pinchot). No intention to bushwhack at all, following the trail all the way.
I think we will still likely get a bear canister in the end, not just for the greater safety and convenience, but also so I don't have to convince park rangers of our plan to use bear boxes all the way where canisters are required. Just wanted to see if this was feasible to leave more options open.
Thanks for the reply btw!
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
A Membership is required to post in the forums. Login or become a member to post in the member forums!
Our Community Posts are Moderated
Backpacking Light community posts are moderated and here to foster helpful and positive discussions about lightweight backpacking. Please be mindful of our values and boundaries and review our Community Guidelines prior to posting.
Get the Newsletter
Gear Research & Discovery Tools
- Browse our curated Gear Shop
- See the latest Gear Deals and Sales
- Our Recommendations
- Search for Gear on Sale with the Gear Finder
- Used Gear Swap
- Member Gear Reviews and BPL Gear Review Articles
- Browse by Gear Type or Brand.