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  1. #1
    Registered User tucker0104's Avatar
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    Default Hiking out west in July/September

    I am traveling to see a relative in July and September for 3 weeks in San Francisco, CA. This will be my first time hiking out west. Looking for some recommendations on places to hike. I did notice that Yosemite was only about 4 hours away. Thanks for the suggestions and feel free to email me.

  2. #2
    Registered User tucker0104's Avatar
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    Probably looking for like a week to two week hike.

  3. #3

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    Kings Canyon/Sequioa NP offers some world-class hiking. The North Lake/South Lake loop is about 50-some miles, takes in part of the John Muir Trail/PCT, and covers elevations from 7000 - 13000 feet. Beautiful, classic Sierra scenery. Closer than Yosemite, too! Highly recommend that you check this option out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Train Wreck View Post
    Kings Canyon/Sequioa NP offers some world-class hiking. The North Lake/South Lake loop is about 50-some miles, takes in part of the John Muir Trail/PCT, and covers elevations from 7000 - 13000 feet. Beautiful, classic Sierra scenery. Closer than Yosemite, too! Highly recommend that you check this option out!
    I'm hiking the N Lake to S Lake loop in mid July and hiking the JMT Southbound starting late August. The N Lake - S Lake loop is going to be a 5-6 day trip and permit was easy to reserve.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  5. #5
    Registered User tucker0104's Avatar
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    Never hiked out west and always wondered about grizzlies. I don't use a bear canister for black bear, but I am guessing I should for grizzly bears? Sounds like that loop is the way to go. Thanks for the recommendations. Are bugs bad in July?

  6. #6

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    No grizzlies in California but you're required to use bear canisters (for black bears) if you hike in the National Parks i.e. Yosemite, Sequoia, Kings Canyon.

    Yosemite is closer to SF than Sequoia/Kings Canyon and more accessible via public transportation. I suggest going to their website and investing in maps and/or hiking guides beforehand and picking out some loop possibilities among the vast network of trails in Yosemite and the adjacent National Forests. Be flexible with alternates in case the trailhead permit limit is reached but if you can, reserve a space ahead of time. For traditional JMT trailheads, the permits will all be taken as of now but pick some other trailheads; everything is connected and you can use the Park shuttle system to your advantage - info on it from the Yosemite website.

    Only downside is that Yosemite Valley is more crowded than any part of the other parks but if you've reserved a permit starting point in advance, you simply get yourself to the trailhead without dealing with the mob scene.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tucker0104 View Post
    I am traveling to see a relative in July and September for 3 weeks in San Francisco, CA. This will be my first time hiking out west. Looking for some recommendations on places to hike. I did notice that Yosemite was only about 4 hours away. Thanks for the suggestions and feel free to email me.
    By your comment it seems those 3 wks will be divided up between July and Sept.

    This a great area for hiking and only within a few hrs, OR LESS, in different directions can put you into some awesome hiking areas. Yes, Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon have untold varieties of GREAT hikes but there are many other options!. If you're READY to EXPAND your hiking options beyond Y and S/KC NPs read on. It's Cali! One word of caution! Since you said this is your first time hiking out West and Y and S/KC NPs are a MUST DO if you are an avid hiker BE CAREFUL how and where you plan going into that area in July if you choose that hiking area option. IT CAN BE CROWDED THERE IN JULY ESPECIALLY Yosemite Valley! It's MUCH MUCH BETTER going to this area in Sept! Same with many of the NPs!

    I did this on a wk long layover on my way back to Hawaii one Sept. Just north of SanFran is Point Reyes National Seashore with trails you can hike and abundant scenery(sea lions, ABUNDANT sea birds, dolphins, WHALES, sharks, sea otters, lighthouse, steep cliffs, waterfalls, deep green forests, abundant fresh water, coyotes, foxes, raptors, small mammals, THE PACIFIC OCEAN, sea caves, sea stacks, etc. Mix it up a bit by doing some coastal ridges and beach hiking/camping and sight seeing. It's legal to camp on the beach where you'll find several great established campsites adjacent to freshwater running streams. There are also inland deeply forested established camping areas. Finding drinking water isn't a major issue. Food in the area is phenomenal. Buses can get you to PT Reyes Nat Seashore HQ's doorstep from San Fran. Permits are free. It's not typically crowded type hiking especially in Sept. There's even a hostel(Pt Reyes Hostel) with reasonable rates(about $25/night) that you can throw into the mix because it's conveniently located to the trail system. And, if you have a car or are willing to hitch you can connect to other slightly inland hikes on ridges. 5 day loops with a few out and backs thrown in to make a 7 day hike are possible. I know of two hiker/surfer/boogie boarder and hiker/fisherman types who both did 3-4 day beach hikes here combined with surfing and saltwater fishing. It was strange seeing a hiker inland on one of the coastal ridges with a boogie board strapped to his pack! We sometimes do the same thing in Hawaii. It's AWESOME doing a 2-3 day hike out to a secluded beach where you have the place to yourself or you fish and surf while on a multi day hike!

    I did this in a two week period as I hitched south to San Fran from Oregon where I had just did some hiking. If you have a car you can spend an additional wk or more exploring the various Redwood NP areas in addition to Pt Reyes. Actually, there are buses to Crescent City CA from San Fran. Redwoods NP has the 70 mile Coastal Trail(WHICH IS LARGELY IGNORED) as well other trails that can be linked together to do a few days here and a few days there type hiking. And, as the R NP site says Redwoods NP IS NOT JUST ABOUT the HUGE and TALLEST trees in the world! That kind of trip where you break up the hiking and scenery by doing 5-7 days on the coast at Pt Reyes and doing a few of the Redwood NP areas would provide a good range of hiking adventures and scenery. Northern Cali can be a BEAUTIFUL area! These areas in Cali don't get ANYWHERE near as much ink as Y and S/KC NPs. Another largely forgotten area for some great hikes is Lassen NP in northern Cali. You could even throw in some wandering and short hikes around the Big Sur area. Heck just the drive along the Pacific up to Redwoods NPs is quite scenic.

    Here are the NPS links to Pt Reyes Nat Seashore and Redwoods NPs. Both sites have trail maps.
    http://www.nps.gov/pore/index.htm
    http://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm

    This is a decent book for Redwood NPs hiking.
    Hiking the Redwood Coast Guide Book

    by Dan Brett (Falcon Publishing)

    320pp/photos/maps/elevation charts
    ISBN: 0762725826


    Enjoy 52 of the Redwood Coast’s most fascinating hikes, featuring a dazzling geographic, historical, biological, and cultural diversity that makes this region unique. From the towering majesty of Redwood National Park to the sea caves and blowholes of Mendocino’s shores and the wildflower meadows of Big Sur, the Redwood Coast offers abundant opportunities to experience nature at its best. Whether you want to whale watch from rugged coastal bluffs, delve deep into ancient forests, or comb beaches for Neptune’s treasures, let veteran hiker and local guide Dan Brett lead you through this land of stark contrasts, stirring history, and incomparable beauty.

  8. #8

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    I wasn't aware of the 70 coastal trail in the Redwoods - sounds very tempting.

    Another option of a less-visited but beautiful area is Lassen Volcanic National Park. Haven't backpacked there but I've enjoyed my day visits.

  9. #9
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    Lassen has some great areas as mentioned, as does the Mount Shasta area. Both are very close to one another too. Or you can do that section of the PCT and get them both!

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