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Best Sierra Hikes from the West

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Best Sierra Hikes from the West

Postby Ze » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:33 pm

If you live in the bay area and don't want to drive 7 hrs to the eastern Sierra but want some solid hiking and bag some Sierra peaks, what are the best options? I guess I am thinking of potential hikes from the west from Yosemite and south. Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Postby ScottyP » Wed Apr 07, 2010 6:53 pm

This is a serious workout and close to the Bay Area.

http://www.tahoebackcountry.net/feature ... efault.htm

Great fishing along the way!!
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Postby Dave K » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:04 pm

There are some very nice places out of the west side of Kings Canyon and Sequoia NP, but I'd guess that the amount of driving involved from the Bay Area approaches 7 hours.
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Try Sonora Pass

Postby Sagecal » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:08 pm

U can hike to Leavitt peak from Sonora pass (HWY 108) on PCT and its peak trail. 4 hours drive without a break.
http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock ... -peak.html
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Postby mrchad9 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:12 pm

I'd agree King's Canyon is a nice option. For me getting there is about the same as getting to Mammoth- once the passes are open.

And yes- there are nice things to do in between Yosemite and Kings Canyon, but the roads are so small and winding my experience has been you can probably drive to Bishop a little faster.
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Postby mrchad9 » Wed Apr 07, 2010 7:26 pm

btw- I've also found the east side in between 108 and 120 to be enjoyable recently. The Hoover Wilderness areas, Green Lakes and Virginia Lakes and such. It's still eastern Sierra but a lot closer than 7 hrs.
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Postby rhyang » Wed Apr 07, 2010 8:05 pm

There are loads of western Sierra peaks within about 5 hours of the bay area. Are you looking for just class 1-2 stuff, or more interesting scrambling too ? A few examples -

From my house to Lodgepole in Sequoia NP is ~5 hours. I've done Alta and Silliman multiple times in the winter / late fall / early spring. I always snowcamp, but I know some folks do them as day ski trips.

Kaiser Peak (near Huntington Lake) is about the same driving time for me. I usually do that one more towards June.

Lots of stuff in the Tahoe area too .. I see there is a page for peaks in the Carson Pass area / Mokelumne Wilderness also.

Once 108 opens, there are peaks in the vicinity of Sonora Pass. And then when 120 opens it's like a candy store :)
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Postby Ze » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:17 am

nice, thanks for the suggestions :) yeah I'm only looking for summer stuff for now. generally like good elevation gain in less miles. (trying to avoid 25+ mile hikes!)

that Tahoe one is a great example! I would love to do that as a dayhike.

I'm interested in class 3 climbs for sure.

seems like there is some good stuff around the 108. now the 120 I know goes through Yosemite...my question is it always seems like Yosemite is a zoo, if you want to wing it and find a place to camp / stay near some hikes of the 120, what do you do? it seems like everything is booked.

I would definitely consider driving down to Kings / Sequoia, just wasn't sure what peaks / hikes are good there. thanks for some of those peak names.
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Postby Matthew Holliman » Thu Apr 08, 2010 4:55 am

There are a lot of nice hikes on the west side, but they tend to have (much) longer approaches to get up to timberline and the summits than east side approaches.

Yosemite/Ansel Adams Wilderness: I really enjoyed a couple of days I spent around Madera Peak (a short hike in a pretty area) and Foerster Peak (also accessed off Beasore Road). From the valley, Mt. Clark and Starr King are both classic peaks. And in early spring, Grizzly Peak/Mt. Broderick are really fun options from the valley. The peaks off Tioga Road are also obvious options when it opens up: Tresidder, Unicorn, Cathedral, Tuolumne, Ragged, etc. are all worthwhile.

John Muir/Dinkey Wilderness: Finger Peak is a nice peak, but it's about twice as long RT as your 25mi cut-off. There are some short peaks around there: Three Sisters has nice views, and close by is Dogtooth (some short but enjoyable cl 3).

Sequoia/Kings Canyon: North Guard is the classic peak IMO, followed by Mt. Gardiner and Thunder Mtn. There are a bunch of other worthwhile peaks around there, too... State Peak, Mt. Harrington, etc. For shorter hikes, Mineral King is probably the best bet, since you have only a short approach to get up above treeline and to the peaks. (And for longer hikes, it's tough to beat Black Kaweah). As Rob mentioned, both Alta and Silliman are good, and accessible even with snow cover.

It takes somewhere between 4.5-5h to get to Cedar Grove, if I recall. Probably 5h to Mineral King. I don't think it's much more than 5-5.5h to get to Bishop, assuming no traffic. So the time savings may not be all that much, especially if you look at east side hikes around the Hoover or Ansel Adams Wilderness.
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Postby gordonye » Thu Apr 08, 2010 9:49 pm

I second the suggestions for Hoover Wilderness and Mammoth area. Not more than 5h driving. The Minarets and Rock Creek areas around Mammoth have plenty to do if you're interested in high 12k or 13k peaks. Hoover Wilderness has plenty of 11-12k peaks. When driving through Tioga rd, camp just outside east entrance of the park, there are several camp spots right by the road and Saddlebag Lake is another option.

That said, Tahoe area offers shorter driving. For around 3h you can get to Desolation and climb high 9k peaks. with 45 min more driving you have Carson pass area with much great terrain as well.
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Postby Tom Kenney » Thu Apr 08, 2010 11:24 pm

Florence Lake is a good start. It's on the southern branch of the 'Y' (Kaiser Pass Rd.) that leads from Huntington to Edison. There's a ferry across the lake, to cut 3.5 mi. from the hike, and then about 3-4 miles to some really cool hot springs in the middle of a beautiful meadow. Also many nice peaks further back on the same trail, or take the PCT up towards Selden Pass.
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Postby Ze » Fri Apr 09, 2010 5:33 am

great tips. thanks everyone
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Postby Palisades79 » Fri Apr 09, 2010 3:38 pm

Lola,Basin,Castle,Tinkers Knob,Mt.Rose,Silver,Dicks,Pyramid,Ralston,Freel,Jobs,Stevens,Red Lake,Round Top,and lots of other peaks are close enough to S.F. and have great views .
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Postby ScottyP » Fri Apr 09, 2010 7:44 pm

Castle to Basin then down to Devils Oven lake to Paradise lake then back up to Lola is a GREAT hike! Even better if you bring your fishing gear to Devils! Scott
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