NW wrote:I had the chance to buy some cheap tickets to the west this year so am taking the kids this time. I knew I would never be able to be near the bigger mountains without venturing up one but didn't want to wear the kids out. So I looked into some and decided on Barcroft. Personally I like arduous journeys (I'll be drooling at it's neighbor the whole time) but it's close to some Joshua trees which I want to take them to see and it's a decent height for them. Plus we'll be able to show them Whitney since they have see the pics from our trip last year. The kids have never been at much altitude so I thought this one would be fine to test them out on (I know it sounds like some experiment put that way but you never know how each individual will react to altitude when they live at 66-300ft above sea level). Plus I'ld like a place that isn't super crowded before we head to Yosemite for awhile. I have taken them on some loooong days so they can take the hike no problem (we did Katahdin last year when they were 7 and 8 and are going there for round 2 for them in a few weeks). Just curious about how long anyone thinks it may take to go round trip back to the car. Just making some plans and any details would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
That brings up tons of questions to me. When? The gate will be open all the way to the Barcroft Station on September 2nd (only). Then you would be looking at about 1.5 miles round trip and a bit over 500 feet of gain. In the fall, wind and weather concerns may increase.
The specific question I see is how much time it will take for your 7 and 8 year old to hike Barcroft. Specific to that, I would think you could guess that better than us with the information on the mountain page. My guess is 3-6 hours. Make them go slow to lessen the chance of altitude sickness. It sounds like a couple of miles of simple fire road walk each way with about 1.5 miles of straightforward off-road hiking in the middle of the hike. It is less than 6 miles round trip and a bit over 1000 feet of gain.
Where do you plan to come from and stay? The altitude makes completing that hike questionable and risky. Some find themselves with AMS without leaving the car all the way up there. Be wary of AMS, and its deadlier extensions. What will you drive? The drive from HWY 168 may take 2 hours each way (or more) depending on what you drive, car sickness, and altitude sickness. Will you have a spare tire(s)? The road is notorious for tire problems. From the paved part, there is a nice viewpoint and a Bristlecone Pine grove with hiking at a lower elevation and a safer, shorter drive.
I suggest checking out trailheads here: http://www.summitpost.org/eastern-sierra/154084
. Little Lakes Valley/Mosquito Flat, South Lake, Lake Sabrina, North Lake, Onion Valley, Glacier Lodge/Big Pine Creek, Horseshoe Meadows, and others are scenic, accessible, high altitude, and have adventurous family hiking opportunities. You can ditch crowds with many of the suggested peaks, or ask around more on here, or check out peaks with the Interactive Map feature. Lower altitude might be just as adventurous and scenic with less risk of problems.
By the way, there are Joshua trees along the paved part of the Big Pine Road to Death Valley (turn off is on the south side of 168 just east of the north end of Big Pine). Going farther into unpaved parts of Death Valley is not advisable this time of year. The views of the Sierra coming back down to Big Pine are nice. As far as seeing Whitney, there are closer viewpoints for it to the south, if the specific peak view matters. I could make other suggestions if I knew a little more of your general plans. I do family trips to the Eastern Sierra, Death Valley, Mojave National Preserve, Western Sierra, and general vicinity year round.