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Topic: 3 to 5 day hikes in the US, What is available without pre-booking?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 16 2013, 7:21 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hi all,

This is my first post here, and am hoping to use your collective wisdom to find myself a great outdoor experience in the US.  I am travelling to the US next week and have 2 weeks after a work conference to explore the country.  I am looking to do a 3 to 5 day hike anywhere in the US at the start of July, and given the short notice I will not be able to pre-book.  What is available?

I would have loved to visit Yosemite but it seems this is really popular at this time of year and the trailhead entrances seem to be booked out.  Isle Royal NP looks like a possibility but I would prefer a mountainous region in the north or south west.  Are there any trails in Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia national parks that do not require pre-booking?  I have seen the red woods in the north of california so this time would really like to see the Sierra.

Thanks for your help guys, would be interested to hear of any less well known gems in the US for me to discover your beautiful country!

Cheers,
Dan
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 16 2013, 8:13 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

With rare exceptions such as the trail up Mt. Whitney, trailhead quotas are not 100% reservable. That means of the daily quota that is meant to keep the trail uncrowded some significant percentage is held for people walking up the day before, for example in Yosemite approximately 60% is reservable and 40% is available for walk ups. http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/trailheads.htm

I'd suggest choosing where you'd like to visit and go. There will be many trailheads to choose from so even if on a particular date your first choice was filled before you got to the application window there would be many other great selections available. For instance Yosemite is the size of the state of Rhode Island: there's always places available to go: there are multiple trailheads along the Tioga Road in Yosemite, accessible by car or park tour bus, that offer starts for hikes of that length, especially for a start on a weekday there'd be plenty of choices including a couple of routes that would include the classic views off Clouds Rest and the summit of Half Dome on the way to the Valley.

From the Yosemite webpage:
"4. If you're unable to get a reservation, consider a first-come, first-served permit.
Wilderness permits are available during business hours at any permit issuing station starting no earlier than 11 am the day before the beginning of your wilderness trip. Priority for permits for a particular trailhead is given to the closest permit issuing station, though it is possible to obtain a permit for any trailhead at any permit issuing station. This mainly affects the most popular trailheads that fill up quickly each morning, such as Little Yosemite Valley trailheads, Lyell Canyon, Cathedral Lakes, among others.

First-come, first-served procedure for all wilderness permit stations (approximately May through October): Unreserved permits are available on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11 am on the day before the intended entry date. All reservations (same day and next day) and same-day unreserved permits may still be picked up when the wilderness center opens for the day.

Though popular trailheads may fill up, there is always space available on other trailheads in the park. From November through April, wilderness permits are available without a reservation."
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/wildpermits.htm

Similar situations are at the other Sierra parks, Sequoia and Kings Canyon.

Here's the Yosemite map of the trailheads.
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/upload/trailheadmap.pdf
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 16 2013, 10:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

There are also lots of great trails outside the national parks, most of which allow you to just walk up, sign in at the TH, and start hiking.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 16 2013, 11:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rebecca makes an excellent point.  Great as the national parks are, the adjoining public lands which are often desingated wilderness, often offer just a many hiking opportunities as the parks and are as good or better. Usually they require no reservations and are signifigantly less crowded.  I would suggest any number of areas in the northern Rockies but early July may find them still snowbound.  California and southern Coloradao may be areas you want to investigate.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 16 2013, 11:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(RebeccaD @ Jun. 16 2013, 9:23 am)
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There are also lots of great trails outside the national parks, most of which allow you to just walk up, sign in at the TH, and start hiking.

I would suggest this option unless you have a must-see destination in mind.

There are tens of thousands of miles of trails in the country that this would apply to, so to choose one, I'd start narrowing down the location.

You say anywhere in the country, but then you also mention wanting to see the Sierras, or at least somewhere mountainous.  There will be options pretty much anywhere you go, except for maybe the middle of farm country in the plains states.  There is also an eastern mountain range, the Appalachians, which are also very cool yet also very different from the western mountains.  And the foothills of said mountains cover a large area with many more trails.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 16 2013, 11:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you like the idea of Yosemite, there are some regions right next door that are very convenient, have very similar scenery, and much more relaxed permitting processes.

Emigrant Wilderness is immediately north of Yosemite, and permits are free.  There are no trail quotas, and some of the trails here can lead directly into Yosemite.  

Hoover Wilderness, on the east side, has similar policies--at least at Leavitt Meadows, you don't even need to talk to a ranger to get your permit--you just fill it out at the trailhead and drop it into the box.

Spectacular areas, and very easy to access.

We have trip reports on a number of trips in these areas on our website


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 16 2013, 10:40 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

As mentioned, there are thousands of miles of trails and millions of acres of wilderness that can be as spectacular as any Park but are wide open.

As an example, this photo is 2 days in offtrail at 10,000' in the Beartooths of Montana, not too far north of Yellowstone NP. Not that you could get there this time of year (it's still snowing off and on above 8,000' just south of me).


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 10:01 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Adirondacks (northern New York State)

Pros: No fees, permits, etc. needed. Just park at the trailhead and start walking. Note: a couple of trailhead parking lots charge a fee.

Cons: Nearest major airports are Montreal and Albany (NY). Will require a 2-hour drive from the airport to the mountains. Small airport in Lake Placid.

Suggestion: Start at the High Peaks Information Center (near Lake Placid). Hike through Indian Pass, loop around to Flowed Lands/Lake Colden, up Opalescent River, climb Skylight and Marcy (possibly Haystack), down to Indian Falls, loop around to Lake Arnold, up and over Colden, down other side to Avalanche Lake, and pack to High Peaks Information Center (climb Algonquin if you have the time/energy).


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 10:06 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another good area would be the San Juan range in SW Colorado (near Durango and Silverton).

Pros: No fees/permits required for most areas. Amazing views at every turn.

Cons: Altitude.

Suggestions: Ice Lakes Basin (HIGHLY recommended), Wetterhorn Basin, Blue Lakes (Mt Sneffels)


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 10:19 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Or Chicago Basin in the San Juans, if you don't mind seeing a couple more people. I would second WWBF's recommendation of the San Juans this year, particularly if you dislike snow (there is none). I'm working in the region, so feel free to ask me anything about it.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 11:53 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So to sum up: pretty much anywhere in North America it's not going to clear one hundred degrees Fahrenheit during the evening hours.....

As to "Are there any trails in Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia national parks that do not require pre-booking?  ", yes, all of them (Whitney is in Inyo National Forest).

Another "Yosemite adjacent" locale to consider would be up  Beasore Road from Bass Lake just south of Yosemite: A start from the Granite Creek TH into Ansel Adams Wilderness within the Sierra National Forest offers loops though a low visitation section of the park and with a crossing of it's highest pass, Red Peak Pass. The road isn't great but it's passable.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/sierra

The same 60/40 WP split:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail...._018115

Good luck!
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(Reminiscence @ Jun. 17 2013, 10:19 am)
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Or Chicago Basin in the San Juans, if you don't mind seeing a couple more people. I would second WWBF's recommendation of the San Juans this year, particularly if you dislike snow (there is none). I'm working in the region, so feel free to ask me anything about it.

I assume this applies to all of us so I will feel free to ask questions. Is Johnny Depp still in the San Juan's after the lone ranger or is he back in Hollywood?
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(Marmotstew @ Jun. 17 2013, 12:07 pm)
QUOTE

(Reminiscence @ Jun. 17 2013, 10:19 am)
QUOTE
Or Chicago Basin in the San Juans, if you don't mind seeing a couple more people. I would second WWBF's recommendation of the San Juans this year, particularly if you dislike snow (there is none). I'm working in the region, so feel free to ask me anything about it.

I assume this applies to all of us so I will feel free to ask questions. Is Johnny Depp still in the San Juan's after the lone ranger or is he back in Hollywood?

He lives in France.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 4:28 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

wow thanks guys, great info!  yeah I am starting in CA and then flying out of NY, so that is why I am considering anywhere in the country.  will just take some time to digest all of the suggestions, and think of what I really want to see.    thanks again, will write more soon.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 4:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

hey high_sierra_fan, what would Red Peak Pass be like in 3 weeks time?  I have heard many of the high passes are snow bound even in July... are they passable?
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(scintilla @ Jun. 17 2013, 1:32 pm)
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hey high_sierra_fan, what would Red Peak Pass be like in 3 weeks time?  I have heard many of the high passes are snow bound even in July... are they passable?

This year's about 50% of average so by then even the north side that holds snow longer would be reasonable, the south facing side would be clear even now almost to the crest.. Maybe not snow free but passable nonetheless. A packed trail given how popular it's become (sigh). Isberg/Post etc. even lighter for a Granite Creek- Chiquito sort of loop. IIRC Backpacker.com has a route description and I think maybe Balzaccom has written it or a variation up....
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 4:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(scintilla @ Jun. 16 2013, 3:21 am)
QUOTE
Hi all,

This is my first post here, and am hoping to use your collective wisdom to find myself a great outdoor experience in the US.  I am travelling to the US next week and have 2 weeks after a work conference to explore the country.  I am looking to do a 3 to 5 day hike anywhere in the US at the start of July, and given the short notice I will not be able to pre-book.  What is available?

I would have loved to visit Yosemite but it seems this is really popular at this time of year and the trailhead entrances seem to be booked out.  Isle Royal NP looks like a possibility but I would prefer a mountainous region in the north or south west.  Are there any trails in Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia national parks that do not require pre-booking?  I have seen the red woods in the north of california so this time would really like to see the Sierra.

Thanks for your help guys, would be interested to hear of any less well known gems in the US for me to discover your beautiful country!

Cheers,
Dan

Hey Dan

All of Alaska.

Cheers

Carl


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 5:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Walkinman @ Jun. 17 2013, 2:51 pm)
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Hey Dan

All of Alaska.

Cheers

Carl

Two weeks off and a ticket to ride, that's where I'd go. :)

Maybe not "all" of it in two weeks, but the point is clear.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 10:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(WalksWithBlackflies @ Jun. 17 2013, 3:28 pm)
QUOTE

(Marmotstew @ Jun. 17 2013, 12:07 pm)
QUOTE

(Reminiscence @ Jun. 17 2013, 10:19 am)
QUOTE
Or Chicago Basin in the San Juans, if you don't mind seeing a couple more people. I would second WWBF's recommendation of the San Juans this year, particularly if you dislike snow (there is none). I'm working in the region, so feel free to ask me anything about it.

I assume this applies to all of us so I will feel free to ask questions. Is Johnny Depp still in the San Juan's after the lone ranger or is he back in Hollywood?

He lives in France.

He's on a motorcycle trip with my brother in law in New Mexico this week.

Seriously.

And why goof around with crowds at NPs when you have NF lands and some really cool BLM areas out west?


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 11:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 17 2013, 11:53 am)
QUOTE
So to sum up: pretty much anywhere in North America it's not going to clear one hundred degrees Fahrenheit during the evening hours.....

As to "Are there any trails in Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia national parks that do not require pre-booking?  ", yes, all of them (Whitney is in Inyo National Forest).

Another "Yosemite adjacent" locale to consider would be up  Beasore Road from Bass Lake just south of Yosemite: A start from the Granite Creek TH into Ansel Adams Wilderness within the Sierra National Forest offers loops though a low visitation section of the park and with a crossing of it's highest pass, Red Peak Pass. The road isn't great but it's passable.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/sierra

The same 60/40 WP split:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail...._018115

Good luck!

By the "pretty much", you were making an exception for DV, weren't you?

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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 11:18 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Reminiscence @ Jun. 17 2013, 11:10 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 17 2013, 11:53 am)
QUOTE
So to sum up: pretty much anywhere in North America it's not going to clear one hundred degrees Fahrenheit during the evening hours.....

As to "Are there any trails in Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia national parks that do not require pre-booking?  ", yes, all of them (Whitney is in Inyo National Forest).

Another "Yosemite adjacent" locale to consider would be up  Beasore Road from Bass Lake just south of Yosemite: A start from the Granite Creek TH into Ansel Adams Wilderness within the Sierra National Forest offers loops though a low visitation section of the park and with a crossing of it's highest pass, Red Peak Pass. The road isn't great but it's passable.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/sierra

The same 60/40 WP split:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail...._018115

Good luck!

By the "pretty much", you were making an exception for DV, weren't you?

I'm going to DV this weekend.  I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but it will include some pedestrian wandering under the baking sun.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 17 2013, 11:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(big_load @ Jun. 17 2013, 11:18 pm)
QUOTE

(Reminiscence @ Jun. 17 2013, 11:10 pm)
QUOTE

(High_Sierra_Fan @ Jun. 17 2013, 11:53 am)
QUOTE
So to sum up: pretty much anywhere in North America it's not going to clear one hundred degrees Fahrenheit during the evening hours.....

As to "Are there any trails in Yosemite / Kings Canyon / Sequoia national parks that do not require pre-booking?  ", yes, all of them (Whitney is in Inyo National Forest).

Another "Yosemite adjacent" locale to consider would be up  Beasore Road from Bass Lake just south of Yosemite: A start from the Granite Creek TH into Ansel Adams Wilderness within the Sierra National Forest offers loops though a low visitation section of the park and with a crossing of it's highest pass, Red Peak Pass. The road isn't great but it's passable.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/sierra

The same 60/40 WP split:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail...._018115

Good luck!

By the "pretty much", you were making an exception for DV, weren't you?

I'm going to DV this weekend.  I'm not sure what I'll do yet, but it will include some pedestrian wandering under the baking sun.

What force is driving you there in June? You don't exactly fit the German or Japanese tourist stereotype of the humans usually found there in summertime (besides the residents, of course).

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(Reminiscence @ Jun. 17 2013, 11:49 pm)
QUOTE
What force is driving you there in June? You don't exactly fit the German or Japanese tourist stereotype of the humans usually found there in summertime (besides the residents, of course).

I'll be in the area later this week and all next week, so I figured I might as well do it up right.  I won't cover much ground, but it should be more interesting than the hotel.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 18 2013, 12:33 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Let me know if any plants are alive in that heat.

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(Walkinman @ Jun. 17 2013, 4:51 pm)
QUOTE

Hey Dan

All of Alaska.

Cheers

Carl

Pffff... Alaska isn't in the US. ??? :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 19 2013, 5:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Many National Parks are surrounded by National Forest land.  Less restrictions.  Many areas do not require reservations or permits.  Often primitive camping is allowed (pull of the road less than 100 yards and camp).

The scenery is often just as beautiful and there are fewer people...a lot fewer people.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 27 2013, 12:34 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have narrowed the location down to the Sierra's, and the Hoover Wilderness looks especially promising.  The "HOOVER WILDERNESS: Leavitt Meadows and the West Walker River" description on this page inspired me, thanks balzaccom.  Has anyone done some backpacking in this area? Any other route suggestions?  I am thinking a 3 to 4 day walk.  Also, any tips on getting to that region from San Francisco via public transport and hitchhiking?  Also are there any buses out of that area towards Lake Tahoe?  

Thanks heaps everyone!  Much appreciated.  Am enjoying the hospitality of the coast but keen to head to the mountains soon :)
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 01 2013, 8:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I have hitched from the coast to Tahoe before, but not from the big city. If you take public transport to the eastern outskirts of San Fran, it's doable -though might end up eating a day or two into your trip. Try to avoid Sacramento in the middle.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 10:44 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

EDIT: Just saw your comment above about Sierra. Maybe these will do for another day:

I probably would avoid the NPs given the difficulty of obtaining backcountry permits in some areas. Focus on National Forests or BLM areas, which tend to get much less traffic.

Consider the 4 Pass Loop outside Aspen, CO. It is a spectacular trip through the Maroon Bells and West Elk wilderness. You would have some company, but it's a challenging route that tends to discourage novices.

I am a huge fan of the Shoreline Trail at Pictured Rocks in upper Michigan. It is a 42 mile trek through Boreal forest along sandy beach and then sculpted sandstone cliffs, with waterfalls, crescent beaches, and lake views the entire way. It's beautiful.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 02 2013, 4:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(scintilla @ Jun. 26 2013, 9:34 pm)
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.....I am thinking a 3 to 4 day walk.  Also, any tips on getting to that region from San Francisco via public transport and hitchhiking?  Also are there any buses out of that area towards Lake Tahoe?  

Thanks heaps everyone!  Much appreciated.  Am enjoying the hospitality of the coast but keen to head to the mountains soon :)

Both Yosemite and Sequoia are accessible via BART/AMTRAK from San Francisco, say the airport, SFO..

To get into the high country connecting with YARTS at Merced from AMTRAK will work (out as far as Mammoth Lakes on the East side, then you could walk "back" to Tuolumne Meadows or beyond down to the Valley and pick up a YARTS back to Merced and out. Or AMTRAK to Visalia and from there use the Sequoia Shuttle to get to a West Side Sequoia trailhead.

http://reservations.sequoiashuttle.com

http://www.yarts.com

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/publictransportation.htm

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