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Topic: Best Hikes in the Sierra Foothills?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 1:18 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

This is a pretty broad area, running from Chico all the way down to Bakersfield. I only have experience as far south as Yosemite. Further than that is a mystery. I have not done too much around Sacramento too, something I hope to rectify this spring. As far as what I have done, I really like Feather Falls and Table Mountain near Oroville:



Bidwell Park near Chico also has some great scenery too. Down by Yosemite, the South Fork of the Merced is really nice in the springtime.

What other foothill hikes do y'all like?


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 1:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Tule River Trail in Sequoia NF from Wishon Campground as far up as you want to go - you'll go through several giant sequoia groves

Marble Falls in Sequoia NP, I hiked it once after it snowed a little and it was gorgeous!!

Mill Creek Trail in Sequoia NF off of the Old Kern Canyon Road between Bakersfield and Lake Isabella - lots of wildflowers and newts if you go @ the right time


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 5:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Man, we have a whole section of these in our website.  Depends on the season, but Hite Cove is stunning in the springtime with the flowers in bloom:



And do you count Hetch-Hetchy or Lake Eleanor?



Or Yosemite Valley?  What about cross-country to illilouette Falls?




Wawona in winter?



Pinecrest lake?



Just about anything in Lassen...


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 25 2013, 8:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I think that Hetch Hetchy, Yosemite and the like are way to high. I am not sure what part of Lassen would be considered in the foothills, and I would not consider that the Sierra Nevada anyway. I was thinking more along the lines of under 3,000 feet. The real foothills, that is best hiked now and in spring.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 1:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yosemite's lowest elevation is 2,127 feet.

Hite Cove's th is lower than that at just under 2,000.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 1:36 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Seems to me that the elevation would change as you go North to South.  Areas that are considered foothills in the southern Sierra are probably at elevations way higher than similar areas in the north.  By the time you get to SEKI, foothills are 4-5000 feet, I would say.  Same vegetation as 2500 feet further north.

Another trail you might consider would be the Ladybug trail in SEKI...

And as a footnote, Lassen NP is official where the Sierra, Cascades, and Great Basin regions all meet.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 9:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
Seems to me that the elevation would change as you go North to South. Areas that are considered foothills in the southern Sierra are probably at elevations way higher than similar areas in the north.  By the time you get to SEKI, foothills are 4-5000 feet...

That stands to reason. I reckon that is related to the phenomenon of the treeline getting lower the further north you go.

QUOTE
And as a footnote, Lassen NP is official where the Sierra, Cascades, and Great Basin regions all meet.

That I have to to disagree with. s far as I have been able to find, the Mountain Meadows area and the valley now occupied by Lake Almanor is considered the point where the Cascades and the Sierra meet. That would make the Lassen area the beginning of the Cascades and Keddie Peak, the northernmost peak in the Sierra. How the Great Basin gets thrown into that mix I am not sure, that area is a good 40 miles from the southeast corner of Lassen NP to the Great Basin. Some of that 40 miles goes through pretty classic Cascade terrain like the Caribou Wilderness. I am not dogmatic about that division but that seems to be what I found in multiple sources and it makes the most sense. Is there something official that says otherwise?


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The rangers at Lassen frequently explain this to visitors...although they may be using a broader definition of terms than you are.

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 26 2013, 12:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Geology versus biology. Biology will shift in elevation from north to south , the geological structures that can also define "foothills" wouldn't. Just different vegetative communities would be found at the same elevation and exposure as you looked to a different latitude.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 28 2013, 11:49 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I would not classify areas generally above about 3500 feet as Sierra foothills and in some cases lower.  There is a significant change that occurs between blue oak digger pine vegetation to black oak, yellow pine, and incense cedar where snow becomes from common in winter.

Unfortunately even though Sierra foothill areas have many potentially superb areas particularly in spring that could have been park lands, most long ago became private property.  Such regions have overwhelmingly been developed, mostly for small towns, rural ranches, cattle grazing, and in recent decades booming rural real estate home development for urban refugees with money in their pockets.  

Those areas now have considerably less trees than before US immigrants migrated west and the horrible European alien grains they spewed over those lands have decimated many of our native grasses and wildflowers.  In former decades many trees were cut for firewood and or to change them into more open grazing grasslands.  Some of the former grazing lands passed through family generations who left trees on those lands until lazy descendents were not capable of continuing grazing and instead eeked out a living slowly cutting down remaining oaks for firewood sales till trees were gone and they had to sell out.   That is why some foothill areas are vast barren areas except for riparian stream areas too difficult to log.   Now in recent decades many such areas are being destroyed by bull dozers as greedy real estate developers, their bankers, and endless growth advocates mutilate our state.  Fortunately some land trusts have been buying up some of our foothill lands before the real estate gangs get to them, but such are tiny drops in the bucket.  There is still much that could be saved if the public was interested.  

There are actually many small parks, especially around public reservoirs that often have short hiking trails.   I could make a long list because they are many of the places I've sought out wildflowers during my lifetime and many are poorly known about except by locals and they prefer it that way.   A person has to dig to get at much of the information.  There are also some BLM areas and many of those are also poorly signed thus one needs the BLM maps to identify.  Sometimes there is just a barbed wire fence one can legally duck under to enter and one sees cattle grazing because the BLM administers such areas for grazing fees.  One large area that has been upgraded with public trailhead facilities and well signed trails is the Millerton State Recreation area near Fresno.  Actually has some long trails.

One excellent riverside trail in April few are aware of starts at west the end of the gravel road one accesses by crossing the Briceberg Bridge off SR140.  One can actually backpack there.  There are also 3 small very nice usually empty low fee BLM campgrounds along a few miles of riverside along the road.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 28 2013, 12:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dave Senesac @ Feb. 28 2013, 11:49 am)
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many are poorly known about except by locals and they prefer it that way.  

My thoughts exactly when reading this thread. Initially, I was going to name a few of my favorite hidden hiking/fishing spots located along the Sacramento 80 corridor but stopped short as not willing to reveal these closely-guarded secrets to the masses.

Hint - there is a big green bridge close-by.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 28 2013, 1:50 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I wouldn't dismiss out of hand the other Sierra foothills either: the EAST side ones.... A lot to see and experience in the Owens Valley and beyond further north.
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 28 2013, 2:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dave Senesac @ Feb. 28 2013, 11:49 am)
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I would not classify areas generally above about 3500 feet as Sierra foothills and in some cases lower.  There is a significant change that occurs between blue oak digger pine vegetation to black oak, yellow pine, and incense cedar where snow becomes from common in winter.


I concur. That was what I had in mind when I started the thread. I have some this spring to head somewhere a little different. Having driven through the foothills most of my life, I have never really stopped to explore them for themselves. They were always something to just go through to get elsewhere. I figured it was time to explore them a little bit.


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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 28 2013, 2:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And then there are the Sierra Foothills Conservancy preserves:
http://www.sierrafoothill.org
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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 28 2013, 3:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Feb. 28 2013, 2:40 pm)
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And then there are the Sierra Foothills Conservancy preserves:
http://www.sierrafoothill.org

That is really cool and exactly the king of thing I was hoping to find. Thanks!

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PostIcon Posted on: Feb. 28 2013, 4:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Sure thing, but again, don't forget about the east side!
Given national forest lands that side may also have more public access, though I wouldn't be able to state that definitively.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 11:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've always thought the 'foot hills' of the eastern Sierra was the ridge that has all of the 14'rs. :)

Some of the trails near the lower Kern River above Isabella and then finally Big Whitney Meadows area should become open in a couple of months.

Two of my favorite Spring (April/May and early June) hikes on the east side.

Outside of Bishop and up to South Lake as soon as the road is plowed.  The snow is still 'concrete' for a few weeks and the hike up toward Bishop Pass can be magical with all of the water falls in full plunge from the 12,000' ridges around the valley.

The other, near Independence is the Shepherd Pass trail.  The only  impediment are the early crossings of Symmes Creek.  If the ridge is snow free, then the trail to the spectacular switch back above Mahogany Flats and below Anvil Camp may also be.  That is one of the more spectacular early Spring hikes with water pouring from high hidden valleys on the south and chaos in Shepherd Creek below as you descend from the ridge then start returning up to waterfalls just beyond the trail on the north.  First water is just below Mahogany so plan ahead.  Two 14,000' peaks do a slow strip tease using the falls as distraction as you gain altitude.  It is a fairly tiring day to hike up to above the head wall of a long extinct glacier having been replaced with a water fall.  The long switchback makes it an nice view.  

Take a wedge of cheese, some good wine and a chunk of Schats french bread for lunch when you run out of trail and hit snow.

Much of the old rail system (check out Laws east of Bishop) and the Owens valley floor between the Sierra and the Whites is worth exploring as are all of the old prospects on the valley sides and now long gone small towns that thrived a hundred years or more ago. Most of them will have to wait until the snow gets above 11,000' in mid June.

A good four wheel drive will get you up to visit the Sierra Gordo area. Magnificent tales of so many 70 pound ingots of silver were produced that they were used as bricks to construct barracks until they could be hauled south.

From Lone Pine to Reno on either side of US 395, there are scant trails remaining to the places thousands used to tred to get to the promised riches only a rare few found.

It is a good time of the year to spend exploring instead of collecting trails .


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 1:03 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Feb. 28 2013, 4:03 pm)
QUOTE
Sure thing, but again, don't forget about the east side!
Given national forest lands that side may also have more public access, though I wouldn't be able to state that definitively.

If his criteria is under 3500 feet, the East Side is going to be tough...

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 01 2013, 1:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

There actually are some spring hikes in the Eastern Sierra below 3000 feet at what is considered the northern end of the Mojave Desert, during years when they receive good rainfall.   Has been droughty in those areas for at least 7 years now.  

Red Rock Canyon State Park and nearby Jawbone Canyon SVRA both along SR14 are both about 2500 feet and have wonderful areas of wildflowers usually in March of good years.  RRCSP also has some geological formations that look similar to what one finds in Utah.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=631

Also a bit north where SR178 goes over Walker Pass down to US395 near Inyokern, is Short Canyon at 3000 feet that during wet years has spectacular wildflowers.   The below image was taken in 2003 in that same area a couple miles south.  



http://www.davidsenesac.com/images/print_03g1-5.html

Further north there are some really late spring areas like Alabama Hills.   All those playa areas and others SPeacock mentioned are above 4000 feet and really don't get interesting until May or well after the real spring lower elevations have dried and gone to seed.  Those areas are more properly considered to be part of the Great Basin high desert environment


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