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Topic: Spring Backpacking in Sequoia/ Kings Canyon< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 26 2013, 9:55 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm considering going backpacking in Sequoia and Kings Canyon.   Mid June would probably be the best for me.   Looked at the NPS sites for the park but wanted to get some other advice.

Would like to go for 2-3 days and spend most of it below the treeline but in the "upcountry" forested areas, if that makes any sense.

Will most of the snow be clear of those type of areas by then?  Will nightime temps stay above 20F?

Any recommendations on loops or routes?  

Thanks
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 26 2013, 11:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The thing about most of the routes in Kings Canyon and Sequoia is that they start high and go higher.  If the snow level is at 9500 feet, you are going to be pretty limited in your options.

You might look at Jennie Lake or Seville Lake...those might be open early---and if you can get over Marvin Pass, you could go down through into Sugarloaf.

Out of Road's End the only hike might be Paradise Valley---and that one fills up very quickly.  Lodgepole routes are likely to still be pretty snowy.

I think you should be OK about temperatures--but just remember that the two hardest parts of spring hiking are the high run-off creek crossings, and finding the trail in the forested areas under snow...

We've got some early season hikes on our website, if you are interested.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2013, 12:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

June it's better to look at the West side  and then there are a lot of options.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2013, 6:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Thanks.  This helps.  Now to get some maps.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2013, 9:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

For a qucky overview the EarthRover app versions of the Tom Harrison sheets (or the Tom Harrison sheets themselves) are a nice choice. Less detail than, say, the National geographic Trails Ilustrated sets and for wide angle looking that's a good thing IMHO. The Tom Harrisons have prominent trail mileages between intersections so sketching out prospective routes is easy enough.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 1:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Generally by mid June (Father's Day) - a traditional first backpacking trip for the young (then) family was Cottonwood Lakes - the snow level would be at 11,000'.  This is the eastern side from LA going up US-395 out of Lone Pine.  There would be berms of snow across the trail before then, but at 11,000 it was cross country as there was no trail.  Didn't stop us from seeing how far up we could get to Army Pass.  Usually there would be a cornice that was intimidating to the wife - the one with most of the common sense in the family.

The kids always looked forward to it.  With a few flavors of syrup, there were unlimited snow cones.

We got caught in one late season snow over perhaps a decade. Tree line on the east side is about 11,000' give or take.  Trailheads start around 9,800 to 10,500'.

My favorite day trip in June is Shepherd Pass trail  (6000' trail head) out of Independence.  Wonderful waterfalls after most winters.  Another is up to Long Lake out of Bishop (9,500' trail head) and for the rugged or adventurous, continue up to Bishop Pass on 'Sierra Cement' - consolidated Spring snow.

Temperatures were coolish to warm during the day and 20-30 over night There would be a few nights that would form a skim of ice.

Good time for the western side. In Sequioia, you should be able to get up to Hamilton Lake on the High Sierra Trail out of Crescent Meadows.  Spectacular scenery.

http://mapper.acme.com/?ll=36.57404,-118.73551&z=14&t=T

You should have little problem going toward the north side of Alta Peak.  Table Land will have snow but is not steep.  In the morning it shouldn't be too much problem 'postholing'.  Trails start around 6-7000' on west side, with generally little gain in altitude for miles.

You may have too much water in the river going anywhere far from road's end in Kings.

+1 on Tom Harrison Maps. Take a look at ACME Mapper for planning purposes. It is free on 'net'.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 2:11 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've hiked the High Sierra Trail to Hamilton Lakes on Memorial Day weekend a couple of times with little snow.  This year is looking to be an average or low snow year so it will likely be clear by mid June.  That's an out-an-back, though, with maybe a variation of using Panther Gap in one direction.  You could also go down to the Kaweah River and back up to Atwell Mill, but that's just a longer out-and-back.  

That section of the High Sierra Trail is mostly in forest, hugging contour lines from Crescent Meadow to Bearpaw Meadow.  There are some spectacular views mixed in, but the views don't get really good until you approach Hamilton Lake.  The trail from Panther Gap to the High Sierra Trail is more open, so has more views.

You could just remain flexible until you know what the snow levels will likely be.  The way things are looking the snow level could be much higher than normal in mid June this year, opening up more possibilities.  Whatever you do, bring a head net and deet.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 12:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Also there are variety of places along that portion of the trail with steel food lockers.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon have a list of their locations (Mehrten Creek and Hamilton Lake are on the list IIRC).

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_box.htm

"Mehrten Creek crossing/High Sierra Trail
9 Mile Creek Crossing/High Sierra Trail
Buck Creek Crossing/High Sierra Trail
Bearpaw (4)
Upper Hamilton Lake (3)"

The other aspect is even were there to be snow as the season progresses that snow get's very hard and so would be crossable in boots, especially in the morning. That's already the conditon along the Glacier Point Road.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2013, 11:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Redwood Canyon is gorgeous that time of year...  You can do both the Sugar Bowl and Hart Tree Loops, plus hike down the main canyon a ways.  

http://www.tarol.com/redwoodcanyon.html


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