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Re: Eastern Sierras suggestions

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Eastern Sierras suggestions
June 14, 2007 09:20AM
My husband and I want to do a farewell to the Sierras trip because we're moving out of state. We are thinking of driving down 395 and going to Bodie and seeing some other sights. Are there any excellent car camping sites you would suggest with great views in the Sierras? Up high? I don't know much about the Eastern side so I'm going to have to do some research. If you have any must-see stops, let me know. I like guidebooks, so if you know of any good ones I'm open to suggestions. I already have "Touring California & Nevada Hot Springs" Hahaha! I also have "Sierra North" and "Hiking in the Sierra Nevada."

Also, if you have any suggestions for a short backpacking trip (2-4 days) accessible from the Eastern side, that would be great. I'd like to go to Kings Canyon/Sequoia, but don't know how many short trips are possible with good views. I don't think you can access it from the Eastern side, either. We've backpacked in Ansel Adams Wilderness from Red's Meadow to Ediza & Garnet Lake, so we probably won't hit that area again.

Saddlebag Lake?
Lower Monarch Lake? (Sequoia- Mineral King)
Lake Reflection?
Mammoth Crest (Crystal Crag/Lake George to Deer Lakes) - this one sounds like it has great views.

Anyone been to these places?

Post Edited (06-14-07 11:48)
avatar Re: Eastern Sierras suggestions
June 14, 2007 10:43AM
Three suggestions:

1. White Mountains/Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest. Go east from the Giant Sequoia tree (allegedly planted by Teddy Roosevelt over 100 years ago) just north of Big Pine and hang a left at Westgard Pass, drive to the 10,000-foot forest. Nice visitor center, easy 4.25-mile self-guided tour of the world's oldest known living things. Campground (free, no water) at 8,400 ft. called Grandview, which is what you're looking for, right?

2. Whitney Portal. Go west from the only stoplight in Lone Pine. Thirteen miles later you will be at the Mount Whitney trailhead (8400 ft). You can hike up to Lone Pine Lake (3 miles, 10,000 ft. elev, moderate hike gains 1,600 ft.) without a permit. Beyond the lake you will need to acquire a permit. Campgrounds dot Whitney Portal Road but most require a reservation, but this early you might luck out. The Whitney Portal Store next to the Mt. Whitney trailhead has excellent burgers and fries.

3. Also out of Lone Pine, instead of going straight to the portal, hang a left at Horseshoe Meadow road and follow it all the way to the end. The zig-zag up the side of the mountain will blow you away with the views to the east and Owens Lake far below. Two walk-in campgrounds at the end of the road. Picking up dead wood for a camp fire is illegal. Short, easy hikes north and/or west will give you spectacular views of the Sierra. Cottonwood Pass (west) puts you at the edge of Sequoia NP and Cottonwood Lakes (north, then west) will give you a nice tour of several beautiful lakes below Mount Langley (14,026 ft).

If you are going to hike in the Lone Pine area, I would recommend visiting the ranger station on 395, east side of the road just a block or so south of the stoplight, and ask about hiking permits. Some trails have quotas.

Too bad you won't be around July 16, I have a few extra permits for a day hike to the top of Mount Whitney.

Have fun!
Re: Eastern Sierras suggestions
June 14, 2007 11:00AM
We'll actually be here til the end of July and plan to do our trip the latter half of the month. We'll just be getting back from a trip to out of state on the 15th, so I don't think we'd make it for a Whitney summit on the 16th! Too bad!

Thanks for the tips, the Bristlecone forest is a good idea, the others too.
avatar Re: Eastern Sierras suggestions
June 14, 2007 12:14PM
If you are talking about the Saddlebag Lake off of highway 120 exiting Yosemite to the east then I would suggest a 2-3 day backpack trip to Upper McCabe Lake from Saddlebag Lake with perhaps on to Middle and Lower McCabe Lakes. Shepherd Crest by Upper McCabe Lake is quite a sight.

You've probably been to Mono Lake but if not be sure to spend a day there.

Alabama Hills at Lone Pine. This is a virtually unknown wonderful place to visit. It's on the road the Whitney Portal and just a couple of miles west of 395. It's the site of many old western movies and some new ones too. If you've ever seen a cowboy movie (Roy Rodgers, Hopalong Cassidy, lots of John Wayne early ones, Gunga Din, and many others) you will have seen some of he Alabama Hills geology. Maps of the area are available in Lone Pine. We were there last fall and actually found an old movie fake boulder that had been left where it had apparently come to rest after being shoved over some cliff.

Old Dude
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