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Sequoia NF

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backpacking
5 days ago

This trail can be done in two days if you take the early ferry into Avalon and the mid day or late ferry out of Two Harbors. I did it January 11-12. Despite the mild temps, it seems to be in the off peak season. Lots of great scenery, elevation changes, and harbor views. However there are more power lines, fairly significant erosion, and other man-made changes that would otherwise result in a 5 star rating.

Check out the Wrigley Botanical Garden before starting from Avalon. it will help you identify some of the plants you see along the way.

Awesome trail. Best I’ve done around San Diego area so far. Dripping Springs-Palomar Magee-Wild Horse took me 6.5 hours while running some stretches on the way down. A bit challenging and adventurous but definitely doable and more than worth it. Great diversity of surprisingly green scenery including oak and pine tree forests. Amazing views of snowcovered Jacinto, Gorgonio and Antonio. At a small section on Palomar Magee (maybe 0.3 miles) there are a couple of dead trees and shrub blocking the way, which actually made the trail a bit more primitive and adventurous to me. Nothing too hard to overcome though. Note that there is no real summit since the peak of the Cosley saddle is surrounded by lots of shrub, so no reason to stop. If you want to take a break, take it before or after the saddle at some of the views.

Definitely top 5 backpacking trips. We did it in two full days and are in relatively decent shape. You can drive the 8 miles in with 2wd high clearance. We made it in our CX5 no problem to the beginning of the loop. Springs were flowing in cottonwood canyon and a small spring in marble canyon. We camped below the saddle on cottonwood side and yes, there were wild horses that visited our packs in the night. It was magical. Definitely needed gps or a very detailed topo map. Even with gps we got off trail. If you are heading clockwise it is the lowest saddle to get over to dead horse canyon. If you are going counter clockwise, it is a hard left up the canyon at the first big tree. After the first big climb follow the main drainage up over the saddle. Its tricky and not intuitive. Have fun. Highly recommend this as an avid backpacker!

This will always be one of my favorites! The trail is easygoing with only a few moderate hills. It’s perfect for a first back packing trip or if you’re testing new gear. Only do this trail when water is flowing (usually during CA winter months). It can get pretty chilly at night so if you go, make sure to bring warm clothes for night. The hot springs are well hidden at the end of the trail, but there is a good spot to sit and enjoy the warm water that can accommodate around 5 people. Definitely a CA hidden gem :)

Breathtaking, stunning, wonderful. Lake 2 is nice if you need to get back. Bring your camera!

I went on December 21, and ~85% of the trail was in ice or snow. The last half had the hillsides completely covered in snow, from 1 to 2 feet in it. I lost the trail many times after the first half. Very dangerous without a GPS as you can lose your sense of direction (where trail leads), as you’ll see foot prints going various directions and splitting. When I went, there were only 3 other people that I was aware of. Very beautiful and quiet. It was around 40 degrees but it’s not an accurate reading, and there were still heavy gusts when you start to summit.

I did this back in October. What an absolutely incredible hike. However, I throughly suggest doing this is two days. We were insane and did it in 1 day and it absolutely kicked our butt. The beginning is a little slow and repetitive as far as scenery goes but the second half really takes you uphill quite a bit. There is a solid stretch on the uphill to the top where the trail is hardly marked at all (only Little Rock stacks) and it is a very loose rockface you have to scramble up. Be prepared for rocks to fall and take your time going up it. It’s a little longer than this app says, too. My Fitbit clocked us at about 23 miles by the time it was said and done.

This trail kicked my butt, because I packed too much gear. Did it in a clockwise direction in 3 days an 2 nights in March 2018. If I had less gear and knew where I was going, I maybe could have done the hike in 2 days and 1 night. The springs supplied good water at this time of year. Temperatures were in the 70’s during the day and probably 40’s at night. Walking the road the first day was boring, but the trail got much better after the road ended. Lots of horse manure on the trail. Make sure you have a GPS or topi map because we took a wrong turn and got lost for a little while. We didn’t see any snakes or wild horses, but we did see lots of jack rabbits on day 2. Overall, I think it is a challenging hike and I would highly recommend it!!!

You cannot legally do this loop in a off road vehicle, you can get pretty far into one canyon or the other but you run into a wilderness restoration area where vehicles are not allowed.

Awesome trail! 3 day backpacking trip. ***Easy to Moderate***
Dont be afraid to take the boots off and cross the river. We wasted a lot of time trying to not get our feet wet.
Willett hot spring was a bit difficult to find the trail leading up to it. We asked for advice and found the trail straight to it. Not to be a downer, but he hot spring was a big metal tub on the mountain side. Still pretty awesome tho.

hiking
20 days ago

Originally planned to do this as a backpacking destination, but decided to go for a day hike. The key is to find the canyon mouth, which was difficult, even with gps destination (unfortunately we did not find it). The trail is loosely marked with rock towers. For best results, park at mile 104 marker, and hike into the direction of funeral mountains. In front of you there will be 2 large brown hills. Keep left, along the left hill (this is what we should have done). This part will probably take you about 2 hrs (4 miles) until you reach the canyon mouth, which should be obvious as per other reviews. At this point, once you enter the canyon, just continue about 2 miles within that canyon until you reach the lower springs. Of note, right before the lower springs, there is a junction with the left trail going uphill, and the right one is actually hidden behind a person sized wall of rock, which you will need to climb over. Do not take the left uphill one, as it will lead you to nowhere but barren rock. You will know you reached the lower springs when you see more vegetation and some “puddles”, which you will see right after climbing the aforementioned rock. We actually decided to stop here and have lunch, before turning back. In sum, the challenging part is finding the canyon mouth. The lower springs part can be done in one day, but make sure to leave as early as possible. Also, there are good websites online if you google “Indian pass Death Valley” with pictures etc

Just completed this section of the backbone trail, from the stunt road point going towards WRSHP. First the positives: a lot of varied hiking surfaces, a ton of view (mostly at the Park end), campsite was nice and empty. Now, some negatives: very poorly marked. there are a number of side trails that people had created but there are no markings as to which one is actually the BB trail. On the Park half, there are a lot of mountain bikes and the trail isn't wide enough for both, so it could be dangerous. With all that said, I would do it again but only in the wintertime. Summertime would be too hot and crowded, but if you have some time in the winter and patience, hike on.

backpacking
21 days ago

As of 12/27/2018 the seasonal springs were up and running. This hike was everything you'd expect, beautiful views, great air, amazing weather, and loads of fun. My buddys and I set out and did it in three days, if I had the time to stay longer I would've! The trail is rated moderate to strenuous based on your expirence and this is like one of my first four hikes and it was more moderate than strenuous.

Great loop hike in DVNP! We hiked up Cottonwood and down Deadhorse and Marble canyons in 2 days. Certainly strenuous and some route finding which made us happy to have the GPS and map. There was water flowing at the three marked springs although you have to look for it (except cottonwood spring which was flowing well downstream of the campsites).

hiking
23 days ago

Did this in late Dec 2018 and it was spectacular. The scars from the wildfire were everywhere on the back side on the mountain. It was quite a sight to see. I will definitely do this again after the spring to see the new growth.

backpacking
1 month ago

Amazing view with incredible views.
Steep climbs, steep decents. Hard on the knees. Majority of the trail was a dirt road(accessable by 4x4 vehicle) Good for safety, but annoying to hike on a dry dusty dirt road.

Day one was Avalon to Black Jack(LONG DAY)
Avalon to the trailhead adds an extra mile or more

Day two was Black Jack to Two Harbor(another LONG DAY)
Stopped for food at the airport. Little Harbor Camp water spigot was dry which made for a rough waterless couple miles. The views on this day were beautiful.

Day three, we did the Silver Peak Trail to Starlight Beach, then back to Parsons Landing (a third LONG DAY)

It was nice having firewood and water at each campsite, however we spent so much of the day hiking that we didn't get to enjoy the relaxation as we should have. Probably would've been best to add an extra day, although with the way the camps were spread it prob wouldn't have helped.

backpacking
1 month ago

I did a couple of nights on the trail and opted for the counterclockwise route from Black Lake to First Lake (~20 miles with all the side trips). Less crowded campsites are Fifth Lake and Summit Lake. Explored all the seven lakes including Black Lake and Summit Lake. Reserved permits are hard to come by, but easy to obtain walk-in permits in October

backpacking
1 month ago

Great views, but there is no shade for the most part of trail. Expensive camp sites.

Just hiked this trial this weekend. ALL snow. 24” of fresh powder made the summit impossible for our team. Setup for the night at High Camp. Great hike. Cold at 24°. Well worth the experience. Will come back for the summit soon.

I finally completed the 6 pack of Peaks. This hike is freaking hard. We left at 6:05 am and finished at 4:30 PM. Spent less than 15 minutes at the top for photos. 1st mile after you cross dry river bed is a killer. The last couple miles the same, killer. I did this hike about a month ago. All snow now I'm guessing. Mt Whitney next August!

hiking
1 month ago

Peaceful, no water for dogs so don’t bring them, rocky. It was cold when we went there. 49F. Dress appropriately.

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacked one night (Dec. 1-2nd). This was my third time on this trail. I was hoping to reach the top of the first lake, between the first and second, to get a good morning photo. I got a late start and the snow kept me from even making the first lake. I ended up camping at the Cabin and didn't have enough time to continue on. Can't say what the conditions are after the Cabin, but expect deeper snow. It was about knee deep in most places and deeper after the first falls. Its all fresh snow and soft.
Overall amazing trail in summer and winter. Temps were around 1-5F at night with a negative wind chill, but the wind died down. It was about 11F this morning around 8am. Nice easy hike down after plowing.

I was wearing outer shells and snow shoes. I'll post some pics. Happy backpacking.

Recent snowfall from Nov 29/30 will make your trek longer if you decide to do the full loop...not sure what the conditions look like as I only hiked a mile in to scope out the trail and will return in the spring! It is gorgeous. If someone does the full loop with the current snow let us know the conditions and time!

hiking
1 month ago

Easy but beautiful trail. All I want to see is the second lake!

backpacking
1 month ago

Did this hike over thanksgiving 2018, starting with cottonwood and ending in marble canyon. We liked doing the gentle uphill of cottonwood, marble canyon would be much steeper going uphill. There was water at cottonwood spring, but not the other two sources. This hike would be doable in two or three days, though there are few camping places in marble canyon so I'd recommend camping somewhere sandy in deadhorse canyon. The hike has a lot of shifty terrain, definitely wear sock liners and pack some moleskin, we got lots of blisters. We used the National Park GPS coordinates as well as this app. The NP route is not accurate at Deadhorse Canyon, but the trail was easy enough to follow. The road to the 2WD parking lot was rough in places, so we ended up parking about 1.5 miles from it and walked the rest of the way. We got nervous with the road and stopped, but other cars made it just fine. Feel it out for yourself!

In Death Valley nothing is flat, you are either going up or down hill.I have done this loop twice, clockwise and counterclockwise. It can be done in 2 or 3 days. I prefer going counterclockwise in 3 days, less uphill in sand hiking. As of last week (11/22/2018), the only water is at Cottonwood spring. Really cool geology structures, amazing views and petroglyphs.

hiking
1 month ago

I LOVED this hike. It's about 11 mi round trip if you go to lakes 1-3. We went on November 23 which was the day after the first snowfall, and it was gorgeous -- I could see it getting slippery in certain places once the snow has a chance to melt and refreeze a couple of times. Nothing insurmountable, but hiking poles could be helpful in the winter.

As far as the level of hike -- I was bracing myself because people have been citing it as a pretty challenging hike, but there was not any particularly challenging moment -- the distance makes it tiring and by the end I was feeling my legs running out of steam, but neither my partner nor I are overly active (we've recently been doing a 2-3 mile hike maybe once a week and yoga maybe once or twice a week, in addition to daily walks with our dog) and it was totally doable with enough water, snacks, and layers. The way up is pretty consistently uphill, but you're not climbing boulders the whole time or anything; it's just a mountain!

Timing -- I think that for the average healthy person, 7-8 hours is probably a good amount of time to give the hike if you want to stop for photos, food, exploration. We left just before 8:30, got to the 1st lake around 11 AM, meandered to the 2nd and 3rd lakes and back to the 1st again, stopped for some food and chatting (and some dog play between our dogs and other awesome dogs on the trail), and were on our way down around 12:45, then back to the car by 3 PM.

I can't wait to come back and see how the lakes look in other seasons. Can't recommend this hike enough.

Stunning hike but we got a bit lost between Lakes 5-7 as the ground was covered in snow and we couldn’t find the trails (hiked November 24th). Might be advisable to turn around after lake 3 in snowy conditions if you’re not familiar with the route.

On November 11th, we arrived at the Mill Creek ranger station to pick up our camping permit. We arived before they opened to increase our chances of getting a walk in camping permit. With it being a Sunday we lucked out and had our choice of campgrounds. The ranger station sets aside one walk in camp permit per sight per day. Our plan was to hike to the summit and camp at the summit camp site that night. We arrived at the trail-head around 9 am. our packs weighed about 35 ibs each. We started with 4L of water and a filter to resupply our water at high creek camp ground. We carried extra food, fuel, first aid kits, layers, cooking supplies, and the normal camping load. The extra gear was due to the extreme weather that was forecasted. The first mile is by far the steepest. After two hours we arrived at half-way camp ground. Don't let the name foul you, it's only 1/3 of the way to the summit. We reached this site in about 2 hrs. After a quick break, we pushed on to the next camp site, High creek. High creek is around 6 miles in. At this point we were at about the 4 hour mark. High creek is a very nice camp ground and is defiantly the most popular. I recommend applying for this camp site well in advance. But if not, just show up earlier and if your first in line, you'll be a walk on! Whats nice about this camp ground is that its protected from the weather, a nice water source, and great camping spots! We spent about an hour here. We refilled our water from the creek via filter and cooked a nice mountain house meal. As we started pushing for the summit another 3 miles up the mountain the temperature started to drop fast. The last 2 miles are pretty exposed. You'll hear countless people comment about how windy and bone-chilling it gets the last 1.5 miles as they descent. Don't worry to much, if you have layers and a good windbreaker, you'll be fine! Also be sure to bring a good pair of gloves and a beanie. Once we reached the summit at around 5pm, we were welcomed with a beautful sunset on top of the highest peak in SoCal! There was a few small patches of snow. The summit camp ground is about 50 feet away from the summit and is extremely exposed. Although they're about 6 manmade rock shelter to reduce the wind hitting your tent, it still makes up for a windy night. As we set up camp we both experienced our hands going almost completely numb from the cold. As the sun disappeared we set up our tent just in time. At this time it was a rush to warm our hands and jump into our sleeping bags. It was so cold that we decided not to cook that night. The forecasted called for the low to be around 5 and with the windchill to be around -13. We were told the winds would be around 15 but awoke to a wind advisory of 50+ gusts! Luckily we had the proper gear! Our phones stopped working due to the cold and our camel bac froze. At around 1 am we woke up do a midnight summit. It was truly a special moment being on-top of SoCal and only us were crazy enough to experience this that night. I'll never forget all the stars and the sense of purpose that night Brough to us. A sense of belonging that only nature could bring. At around 8 am we broke camp and hiked down making stops at the same camp grounds as before. The climb took us 8 hours and the descent took us around 5. Ultimately, This was a very fun hike! Although a day hike is doable, backpacking this trail seams more enjoyable. Next time I'd love to make this a 3 day trip. Camping at high creek the first night, hiking to the summit day 2 and sleeping back at high camp the 2nd night. That would be more relaxing. This hike is tough but worth it.
Side notes: altitude sickness is possible after 8,000 feet. Both my friend and I got sick at the summit for about two hours after we set up camp, This was due to the heavy packs and fast paced hiking to reach the summit before sunset. If you become sick just stop where your at for a little while until you feel better. If you don't feel better turn around below 8,000 ft and adjust!
Bring a water filter so you can save weight by refilling at high creek.
Start early! It gets dark fast!
Look out for wildfires! We saw multiple firetrucks putting out such fires as we drove home.
Hike with a friend! Trails like this are safe, but weather/ injuires can happen fast and to anyone.
Leave no trace, keep this place beautiful.
Have fun! Enjoy not just the summit but the journey that leads up to it. As you climb notice the different ecosystems!
Camping at the summit was a great time but I wouldn't recommend it with the summit being so windy!

hiking
1 month ago

This was the perfect hike! A little challenging due to the distance and carrying about 25 pounds, but definitely doable. It was a gradual incline so nothing too brutal. After the first mile, you are walking next to a beautiful river the entire time. Got to see a waterfall, then Lon Cheney’s cabin, and then the lakes were gorgeous. We only made it to lake 2 due to time, but we will be back to do the entire thing. HIGHLY recommend, one of my favorite hikes.

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