Seeking recommendations on US road trip

Post general questions and discuss issues related to climbing.
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ghostfacechinon

 
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Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by ghostfacechinon » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:40 pm

Hey folks, first time poster, long time lurker here.

I am planning a road trip from June to December, with the aim to visit as many national parks and places of interest as possible, and climb a few mountains of course. I was looking for some recommendations to add to the list, and also to start planning our route more seriously.

So far, this is what we have:
-Maine: Katahdin
-Wyoming: Middle Teton (maybe Grand, we will see)
-Idaho: Borah Peak
-Utah: King's Peak
-Washington: Mt. Rainier (again, we will see, depends on many factors. My partner has a friend who is an adventure guide in Washington, if they have the time, we would attempt it with them)

Looking for some recommendations along those lines, nothing too technically complicated (Class 3 for the most part), but interesting, challenging and engaging summits. Rainier, if we do attempt it, would be the most ambitious climb I have attempted. For the most part, my hiking and summiting has been confined to the Northeast (with a few weeks in the Dolomites), but I would like to change that and push myself a little. I am in ok physical condition (have run 4 marathons in the last 3 years, but the past few months I've let myself go a little), and have recently joined a climbing gym to train for this upcoming road trip.

Any help would be much appreciated!

-Oskar

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nartreb

 
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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by nartreb » Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:46 pm

In Washington state, I would add Mt St Helens. It's a National Monument rather than a National Park, but it's spectacular. It's also much easier than Rainier - will make a good warmup.

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phydeux

 
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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by phydeux » Sat Jan 23, 2021 12:56 am

keep an eye on the COVID situation, it may close national parks in some areas. Here in California we may not start seeing general population vaccinations until about June. Also be aware some hotels/motels may not be open or at reduced capacity.

If your Mt. Rainer plans don't work out you could drive south and hit Mt. Adams (pretty routine hike from the south side, take crampons and ice axe just in case) and Mt Shasta if you want to drive into Northern California (south side, basic crampon & ice axe skills needed).

If you want some sightseeing in California I'd suggest Pinnacles National Monument/Park, Bristlecone Pine National Monument (maybe hike up White Mountain 14242 ft), Mono Lake and the Mono Craters are around Mammoth Lakes area, Death Valley National Park (in the fall, NOT in the summer!).

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Scott
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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by Scott » Sat Jan 23, 2021 1:44 am

Katahdin is a really long way from those other places. It seems out of place to do with the other ones.

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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by Jow » Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:33 pm

Agree that your best bet is to stay west given timeframe as much as love Katahdin. Here is a map someone came up with on how to visit all national parks. Could help with planning.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/matadornet ... rks/%3famp

I would start by flying into San Fran then start exploring mountains and national parks in northern CA and work way up north for Rainier in July. Then head east to Idaho and Yellowstone, Tetons working way south. During fall enjoy southern Utah national parks and hit up Grand Canyon. Then either keep going south through AZ national parks and maybe over towards Guadalupe Peak and all the parks there or head back west to Joshu Tree and finish near LA. Obviously no idea COVID rules by then

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ghostfacechinon

 
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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by ghostfacechinon » Sun Jan 24, 2021 3:17 am

Hey all,

Thanks for all the recommendations so far! Doing more research into all the places mentioned.

I should have maybe pointed out that we are starting in New York, and June is dedicated to New England, hence Katahdin being on the list.

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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by Jow » Sun Jan 24, 2021 12:34 pm

Yea that changes things a bit. Haha. You’ll be driving across?

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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by Scott » Sun Jan 24, 2021 5:14 pm

One comment:The National Parks are beautiful, but can be extremely crowded in summer. I'd consider visiting at least a lot of equally or more beautiful places outside the parks as well.

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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by ghostfacechinon » Sun Jan 24, 2021 7:33 pm

@Jow - yea, we're driving all the way out west. The idea is to then drive back along the southern US to try to be back in NYC by Christmas.

@Scott - thanks for the advice. I've never been out west (except LA and Denver), so a few of the parks are on my bucket list (Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite) and this might be the only opportunity I will have in a while to see them. I understand that we'll probably be going in the most crowded times, but its hard to pass up the opportunity to experience these places. That being said, I'm trying to give myself a lot of time to experience other things apart from the National Parks. The Bristlecone Pine forest in California looks incredible, and we will def try to make it out there. If you have suggestions for more off the beaten path places that are worth seeking out, that would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Sierra Ledge Rat

 
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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by Sierra Ledge Rat » Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:00 pm

Don't waste time with anything out east of the Mississippi. Seriously. Waste of time. Seriously.

If you insist on wasting your time out east, do it on the way home.

You don't have anything in California on your list. YGBFSM.

Washington:
1. Hike and camp along the Olympic National Seashore. In the same area, do a day trip into the Hoh Rain Forest.
2. Drive the Cascade Loop. Lots of possible day hikes from the road.
3. West Ridge of Forbidden Peak (photo). See all of those mellow ridge lines off in the distance? Those are day hikes from the nearby road.
Image

California
1. Yosemite and Tuolomne
2. The east side of the Sierra Nevada is not to be missed. From Bishop and Mammoth Lakes, there are many high trail heads that get you into the high country fast, like Rock Creek. Plan on spending a week (or more) hiking and climbing here.
3. A nice 2-3 day loop is from Rock Creek > Mono pass > 2nd Recess > Lake Italy > Rock Creek
4. The Minarets and Ritter-Banner areas can both be done in 2-3 days
3 . The Giant Sequoias
4. Drive up to the Lake Sabrina trailhead from Bishop. Lots of hiking and peaks to visit from there.

Other places like Idaho, Texas, and Arizona would be nice to visit, were it not for the fact that those states are full of Idahoers, Texans, and Arizonans.

Utah is full of Utahns, and Wyoming is full of Wyomingites, but you can still have a great time there if you stay away from the locals. The area of NW Utah and SW Wyoming is a great place to explore.

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jdzaharia

 
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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by jdzaharia » Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:07 pm

A big thing I see missing from previous suggestions is Colorado. A random smattering of neat places include: San Juan Mountains, Sawatch Range, Silverton, Salida, Pagosa Springs, Cottonwood Pass.

Lots of people agree with Sierra Ledge Rat's opinions. Those in Idaho, Texas, Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming appreciate those people keeping their opinions closer to the coast! :)

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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by Snowslogger » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:19 am

The Black Hills and the Devil's Tower are very cool if you are driving across the country that way. And the Wall Drug tourist trap. Borah Peak in Idaho would be another idea.
As far as going up Mt. St. Helens, you need permits for that most of the year, and they are gone the first day they are available.

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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by ghostfacechinon » Wed Jan 27, 2021 8:32 pm

@ Sierra Ledge Rat - thanks for all the great recommendations! Yosemite was def on our list, but I wasn't sure where to start with the Sierra Nevadas, so thanks for all the suggestions. The Rock Creek loop looks great. I wanted to spend some time in the Sierras anyway, a lot of my favorite wines from California are from the Sierra foothills (before Covid I worked in the wine business).

@jdzaharia - yea, we were planning on being in Colorado in late September, a friend lives in Paonia, so we might post up a tent on his land for a week or so. He really recommends Beckwith, which looks really nice, but also Gunnison is not that far away from there. Will also check out some of the places you recommended!

@snowslogger - def want to check out the Black Hills and Badlands and places like that on our drive out West. Regarding permits, I got a backcountry permit for Grand Teton as that is an important stop for us, but we more or less want to be flexible, so not looking to do a lot of climbs that require permits.

Thanks all for the great responses!

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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by markv » Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:33 am

Have an alternate for everything you plan out west from July on, because fires will close things down. Just be ready and flexible

If you're doing Kings in Utah, consider adding a couple of days to the trip to loop like this: start one trailhead west of the typical Henry's Fork TH. Head south to the Red Castle area. Really spectacular and not as crowded as Kings. Then you go east across a no-trail pass according to the maps, but there is a use trail. From there it's obvious how to hook up to Kings and back to your car.

If it's a high snow year in CA, climb Shasta in July or August. If it's a low snow year, don't. Personally i'd do it after something else like Yosemite where you've spent some time at altitude, and then you can climb it in a long day instead of hauling up a full pack for a mediocre camp.

Leave a little time for the NoCal redwoods area. The national park and also the state park areas.

If you're heading back via the southern route in the fall it'll be the perfect time to see the Moab/Canyonlands/Arches area. So many great hikes.

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Sierra Ledge Rat

 
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Re: Seeking recommendations on US road trip

by Sierra Ledge Rat » Mon Feb 01, 2021 3:55 pm

More ideas

Lava Beds national Monument at the extreme northern tip of California is a fascinating place. The lava tube caves are 100 feet from the parking areas, and they are cool as hell. Get the "cave loop map" and venture into any one of the caves there. You can go through several in one day. Bring a helmet and 3 flashlights.

If you really want some great caving, hook up now with the Mother Lode Grotto of the National Speleological Society. Just south of Lava Beds, in the Medicine Lake wilderness, are some spectacular ice caves. Maybe if you're lucky they will agree to take you on a tour of some wild ice caves. Bring a harness, rap gear, and an ascender. There are some big ice slopes in the caves that you will rap down.

Image
Mt. Shasta is also in northern California, if you wanna climb a volcano.

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