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Good, Short Backpacking Destination?

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Good, Short Backpacking Destination?

Postby builttospill » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:47 am

I'm looking for a good route to do with a slower hiker, but I've never done any real hiking in California. We usually spend time in the Uintas (Utah) or Winds (Wyoming) but we're looking for a change of pace and the Winds are pretty buggy this time of year.

I'm just looking for a few suggestions I can check out, since I'm really unfamiliar with what's available. Needs to be:
1. Not real buggy (hopefully bugs aren't as big a problem in the Sierra as in the Winds!)
2. ~20 miles or less roundtrip--either a loop or out-and-back--less is fine.
3. Good alpine scenery, high peaks, nice lakes, etc
4. As little elevation gain as possible. We're talking under 1,500 up and 1,500 down for sure--I'm not sure how high the trailheads in CA tend to be.
5. Enough lakes/streams/water that we can camp a few times en route

I know, I know, that's kind of a lot of conditions. But hopefully there are some options that come close to fitting the bill. Any suggestions? This'll be our last trip before we move to the East Coast, so I'd like to make it a good one.

Thanks!
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Postby builttospill » Thu Jul 22, 2010 8:45 am

Damn, I forgot to mention.....we have a dog. So anywhere in national parks is pretty much out.

I knew I had forgotten an important one. Sorry!
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Postby myles » Thu Jul 22, 2010 2:10 pm

Bishop Pass trail starts high, so there's not a lot of elevation gain, and the scenery's lovely, but I've never done a loop out of there. It's pretty much a highway, especially until you get to the pass itself.
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Postby fatdad » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:40 pm

Start at Agnew Meadows. JMT or River Trail to 1000 Island Lake and hike out the High Trail. About 15-20 RT with only about 1200' of gain.
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Postby rickvena » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:42 pm

I don't believe you can take a dog over Bishop Pass, although there are some great possibilities around South Lake. Check out the Saddlebag Lake area. There is a fun, SHORT, FLAT and incredibly beautiful loop in that basin. Also, look at Rock Creek.
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Postby goldenhopper » Thu Jul 22, 2010 6:18 pm

Rock Creek Trailhead! Fairly flat, dogs OK, Very beautiful. The trail starts at just over 10,000' and you can go a ways without rising above 11,000'. Lots of great camp sites/lakes and peaks in the area.

You will have to deal with the skeeters!
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Postby mlca » Thu Jul 22, 2010 7:05 pm

In the Mammoth area you can start at Agnew Meadows trailhead, take the river trail to Shadow Lake, pass the lake and head to Ediza Lake at the base of Mt. Ritter and Banner. 1st night. From there head up to Iceberg Lake, then to Cecile Lake and over to Minaret Lake. 2nd night. The next morning head out down the Minaret Lake trail and you will end up at Devils Postpile. Take the bus back to the Mammoth Mountain Main lodge and your car.

I think the whole mileage is around twenty miles and taking two nights is an extra leisurely pace. Elevation gain is just about two thousand total but you do half each day. Here's a few pictures. If that one is too much the Thousand Island Lake one is nice but a little crowded.

http://forums.mammothgear.com/showthread.php?t=316
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Postby butitsadryheat » Thu Jul 22, 2010 9:10 pm

Last two are nice suggestions. Rock Creek is beautiful, and the elevation gain is pretty tame. Several nice peaks in the area. I went up Pyramid last year. You could also go over Morgan Pass and come out down near the Pine Creek area, but that may be outside of the range.

The Mammoth/1000 Island loop is beautiful too. Garnet Lake is nice.

You will NOT escape the bugs anywhere in the Sierra this time of year (unless you are planning on later in August/September.
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Postby JHH60 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:00 am

The Vogelsang Loop in Yosemite is a very pretty 20 mile loop, and if you make a resv. at the High Sierra Camp you don't need to bring a tent or food. Unfortunately you'd need to leave poochie at a kennel for a couple of days. Another option which is dog friendly is to hike in the Mokulemne Wilderness. There are a number of short loop hikes there (e.g., Winnemucca Lake) which might fit the bill.
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Postby alleyehave » Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:43 am

South Lake to Long Lake(Bishop Pass maps): I think roughly 4-5mi one way, out and back total of 8-10mi. Elevation gain minimal, beauuuuutiful lakes and tons of day hiking possilbities, the scenery is top notch. With a little more elevation gain and mileage you can hit a completely another set of lakes that is equally as beautiful. Basically you have anywhere from 4-10 miles way one to choose from all with non-stop awesomeness...I HIGHLY recommend it...
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Postby butitsadryheat » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:18 am

alleyehave wrote:South Lake to Long Lake(Bishop Pass maps): I think roughly 4-5mi one way, out and back total of 8-10mi. Elevation gain minimal, beauuuuutiful lakes and tons of day hiking possilbities, the scenery is top notch. With a little more elevation gain and mileage you can hit a completely another set of lakes that is equally as beautiful. Basically you have anywhere from 4-10 miles way one to choose from all with non-stop awesomeness...I HIGHLY recommend it...


Nice, but crowded. Treasure Lakes would be less so, and just as nice. Several peaks in the area too. Maybe (no map to check) more elevation than wanted, but not much more
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Postby McCannster » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:33 am

Kibbie Lake, which is just inside Yosemite but is basically national forest (you need a wilderness permit, not a natl park back country permit, so I don't know what the dog rules are), but if dogs are okay there, it's a 4 or 5 mile hike in with minimal elev gain. And it's absolutely beautiful, but go during the week as it's very popular for the weekend backpacker crowd.
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Postby Denjem » Sun Jul 25, 2010 1:13 am

Rock Creek is cool. Not too many bugs there either. I wonder why they call it Mosquito Flats though? :wink:
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Postby KathyW » Sun Jul 25, 2010 5:14 am

The Kearsarge Pass Trail would be a nice destination.

Here's some info:

http://www.mammothcityconcierge.com/summer/onion-valley.asp

http://www.naturalbornhikers.com/KearsargePass/KearsargePass.htm


You can go as far as Kearsarge Pass with your dog because that's the National Park Boundary.
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