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Too Many Options, Looking for Help

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Too Many Options, Looking for Help
January 09, 2018 06:49PM
Hi all,
I am working on planning another 4-5 day backpacking trip for late summer/early fall and have 3 options:

1. - Red Peak Pass Loop (got smoked out last year due to the fires and would like to try again)
2. - A trip out of the Cathedral Lakes TH
3. - A trip in the Emigrant Wilderness
4. - Any Wilderness accessible from 108, 4, 88, etc. (we are coming from the Bay Area and don't want to have to drive too many hours to get to the east side of the Sierra)

I'm still in the early planning stages, but am wondering if anyone here has thoughts on a great trip (I know they will all be great).
I know that a trip in the Emigrant Wilderness will be an easier permit to get, so the options may be narrowed down for me thanks to the Yosemite permitting process.

I'd love to know anyone's favorite area in the Emigrant Wilderness, I've done day hikes in the area, but haven't explored that area too much. Cross-country options are welcome too! We had a great time off trail on our Nelson Lake trip.
Thanks for your help!
Re: Too Many Options, Looking for Help
January 11, 2018 03:07PM
Some thoughts:

Yosemite is can't miss but suffers from: 1. PIA permitting, 2. have to plan around inevitable traffic in the Valley. 3. Massive crowds within day hiking distance from either TM or the Valley.
1. Red Peak Pass loop is awesome. Note: the climb through the Illilouette is dusty and exposed, and you may have some late summer water availability issues up till Ottoway Lakes. The Clark Range area is remote, and really pretty.
2. Cathedral Lakes --> Sunrise --> Clouds Rest, Merced Lake, Vogelsang, Lyell Canyon. Well-trekked area, lots of people, but really pretty. Downside... a lot of mule [email protected]#t on the trails especially on the supply routes to the HSC camps.
3. Emigrant --> out of Giannini/Crabtree trailhead lots of routes...like Bucks Lake, Emigrant Lake. Really good cross country to the Hyatt Lake Big Lake area. Plenty of other great cross country alternatives. One of the contributors to this site has published some spot on great info about the area.
4. Ever been to Desolation Wilderness? Popular area, but is easier to access out of the Bay Area than Emigrant or Yosemite. The eastern side (closer to PCT) is well marked/trafficked, but the western side has a great loop called the McConnell Loop, that is sparsely maintained (on purpose). Start at Echo Lake trailhead, go past Aloha Lake, take the McConnell Loop, and come back along the PCT.

Have fun!
Re: Too Many Options, Looking for Help
January 11, 2018 07:56PM
Nice response here from OL. I agree with all of his points. You can't miss with Yosemite---but you will often find more people anywhere near the John Muir Trail. If you want to avoid them, take the Cathedral Lake trail past the lakes, the head down cross country to Echo Lake, Matthes Lake, and beyond. Great scenery, easy navigation, few people.

Once you get more than a day's hike in to the Emigrant Wilderness, the people disappear as well. We love the area around Big Lake (accessible via Hyatt or From above via either Pingree or Woods Lake) and the trail between Bucks Lakes and Huckleberry Lake is simply stunning, via Letora Lake.

Desolation is easy---and crowded, with complicated permits.



Balzaccom

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Re: Too Many Options, Looking for Help
January 15, 2018 03:11PM
Thanks for the great suggestions. I've got a good place to start my research and planning.
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