Explore Medium - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Medium Map
10 days ago

Fun and saw nobody out there. Beautiful view.

on Highway 1 to Cone Peak

11 days ago

Feb 17-19, 2018.

This is a great first time backpacking trip. On presidents day weekend, we hiked in the five miles to Vicente Flat campground with all of our gear and set up camp. Definitely busy, but there's a ton of spots to set up tent. We were cozy with our neighbors, but everyone was polite. We left our camp set up and day hiked up to the peak just with day packs. Stayed at Vicente Flat Saturday night then hiked back out the 5 miles with our gear.

Despite it being February, I was wishing I was in shorts most of the time we were hiking, especially the 5 miles to and from Vicente Flat. It's pretty much all open, which allows for beautiful views of the coast but direct hot sun. This would be a pretty brutal hike in the summer. Even with warm days, we got a light dusting of snow at Vicente Flat Sunday morning, which was stunning.

We brought our medium sized Australian Shepherd, and saw a few other dogs throughout the weekend. The trail is pretty dog friendly, but I would recommend booties as a good amount of the trail is rocky, but totally doable for a relatively fit dog.

Overall, it was a really nice weekend trip. Beautiful view of the Big Sur coast, a nice mix of chaparral and redwoods, and Vicente Flat was a beautiful campsite.

Packed this hike, plus the extra loop out to Buck Lake into 3 days/2 nights. Bit off way more then was necessary. The hike is beautiful and a ton of fun, but plan extra days if you want to make it all the way to Buck. We did the north trail on the way out, and the south trail on the way back which ends up finishing with a brutal 1.5 mile trek straight up so beware. Fantastic hike overall though.

21 days ago

Did this with my husband for our anniversary a year ago. My first official backpacking trip! We took 3 days. Tips for the person picking you up, be sure they know where they are going! A breakdown in communication had us waiting almost 2 hours, there is no cell service at Waddell Beach. I would do it again and split the hike into two sections instead of three. I would also stay an additional night in Big Basin to explore that area more!

Reached the summit on 2.17.18. Took me 6 hours from the Kilns. That first mile on Mahogany Flat Rd was very brutal. More than half of the people seen on the trail had to turn around due to not being prepared. Crampons were a must!! Trekking poles were very handy as well. Had to leave my sleeping bag and blanket behind at the Meadows because of weight in my back pack. Setting up tent in this area was not an option, way too windy and cold! Tent set up at Thorndike, which was still pretty windy and cold at night.

28 days ago

Nice trail, but very crowded.

The first stream is a couple of minutes past Espinosa Camp. The creek was dry at Vicente Flats, you need to hike up another 5 min to get to water. When you head up to Cone Peak, the last water was where the redwoods end. I did not see any sign of the spring mentioned in the trail description.

There were easily 50+ tents at the Vicente Campground over president's day weekend. Lots of fun people, but not a lot of solitude if that's what you're looking for.

Hiking up to the peak:
Most people left their tents and stuff at Vicente and hiked up with a light pack, that way you could carry more water. I got up to the peak a bit after 10 and was alone there for almost a half hour before people started showing up. After 12 it got really crowded up there.

Four of us decided to do the Saratoga Gap to Waddell Beach hike all in one day. In order for us to accomplish it form sunrise to sundown we needed to run a good portion of it. We estimate we ran about 15 miles of it with on and off with breaks of course. We are all active, but none of us are long distance or avid runners. The trail is well marked and soft and moderate for the most part. It was difficult and arjurous trek to do in one day. We took 8 hours total with about 1 to 1.5 hours of breaks. We took a long break at big basin where we grabbed a quick bite at the store, then kept going until we hit the beach at 3:45pm.

I would not recommend hiking this entire trail in 1 day unless you can keep a 3.5 mph speed non stop, otherwise you are looking at a 12-14 hike to complete without running.

To the guy that complained about view and there only being redwood trees. He is right there are only redwood trees, lots of them. The only complaint I have is not of the trail itself ,but of the beach. It was very sandy and I got it all over my feet and inside my shoes way too sandy for my taste.


Beautiful hike through the redwoods. We did it in a day. The only problem was it was a 30 mile hike not 25 as it is called out here. That meant our timing got messed up. We were supposed to reach the sea by sunset and instead had to hike the last part with flashlights and missed the sunset!

1 month ago

Did it a week ago. The road from the Charcoal things is 1.7 Miles each way. There was snow at the top, I hiked 1,5 Miles total in snow 1.5 ft deep. The trail before that is covered in snow as well, like 2.5 Miles. Before that, patches of ice, you gotta be careful. Weather was like 40 morning and evening and 60 around noonish. With so much snow at the top you don’t see the switchbacks so you hike straight up, however you’ll need winter climbing gear, like axe and crampons. I am a slow hiker, it took me 6.5 hours to reach the top so I hiked down in the darkness like for 3 hours since sunset is early. Very rewarding nonetheless. The last two miles of the drive are rough, not good for sedans, just go slow and you’ll make it, however, you’ll need momentum to negotiate a few obstacles.

....planning this for the first time. gonna break it into two days from big basin. Just not sure how I am getting up to big basin yet...and back home.

Hiked it on Saturday the 3rd. Road closure added extra miles, but still awesome for a day hike

It was an amazing trip. Too my dad and I two days. It's best to have someone drop you off at the beginning and pick you up at the end.

1 month ago

So we dove head first into this trail as my first backpacking trip. Going in January was a risk but the weather was perfect. We started at Castle Rock staging area and headed towards Waterman Gap. The views here are epic and the trail was a great challenge. My friend and I were very wore out by the time we made it to Waterman Gap. It was a great day. Waterman Gap was a cool little place and we were glad to see there was a bathroom and water. We had our choice of sites since we were the first ones to arrive. I found a good site with perfectly spaced trees for my hammock. We were bummed you can’t have a fire. Woke up the next morning and headed out toward Jay camp. This was by far the toughest day. The climb out of camp is 3 miles long. Anyone that says this is “all downhill” never did this climb! Once we got to the top of China Grade we only had about 4.7 miles to get to Jay camp. We arrived at park headquarters at 4:15 and the gift shop closed at 4:00 so no goodies for us. We hikes to Jay camp and chose site 6 for the night. Barely found trees that worked with my hammock. We slept good and headed out about 9:00. We were both pretty sore headed into day 3 but this was by far the best day. Leaving headquarters brought us deep into the forest that felt like we were in a different world. We had to take a little detour because part of the trail was closed but the atmosphere made it worth while. Another 10.5 miles to the beach!! All in all it was an epic trip. Most of the people we met thought that we were crazy doing this hike as our first backpacking trip but we made it!!!

2 months ago

Backpacking with two friends and a dog in mid November.
It Rained the day prior
Parking for about 15 cars maybe more at trailhead.

Overall medium high to low sun exposure throughout, with medium high to low poison oak as well.

Espinosa campsite is about 3.5 miles from trailhead and has Two available campgrounds

Vincente campsite is about 5 miles from trailhead and has Many available campgrounds

There is a River about 8.5 miles from trailhead, as well as a stream about 5 miles in

The Temperatures varied from sweating in shorts and sleeves rolled up during the day uphill to chilly mostly fully layered at night
Good for dogs
Some rowdy people when we were there.

2 months ago

What should I say, I very much looked forward to this hike after someone had recommended it to me. And then what do you know, last year's rainy season had pretty much closed off the whole trail and I had to wait another 3 months, until April of 2017, to hike it. The anticipation welled and and April had rounded the corner. I'll just get down to business. I was disappointed. More than an entire third of the hike runs alongside a paved road (with cars!). The first trail camp is conveniently located along a tokyo drifting hot-spot and offers bountiful tire-screeching and engine-revving for the no-sleep enthusiasts. The second "trail" camp (Jay's trail camp) isn't even a flipping trail camp. It's at big Basin HQ and let's just say look forward to the crowds and gift shops to complete your wilderness experience. Anywho Berry Creek Falls was pretty cool...

2 months ago

Was not able to reach Thorndike Campground or Mahogany Flats Campground since our vehicle is not 4WD. Started at the Charcoal Kilns, 6900 ft, added extra 3 miles round trip to the hike, and 1300 feet of elevation as well. Bring the total distance to 17 miles round trip and 4590 feet of elevation gain. The hardest parts of the hike were going up the mountain from Charcoal Kilns to trail head and then doing the zig zags right before the summit. Aside from those two, the hike was short and quite enjoyable.

We stayed at Wildrose Campground, 4100 ft, the night prior. Our group did not experience any altitude sickness. Was able to summit before 2 pm. Shortly after 2 pm, the clouds came in and temperature dropped to low 40's F without the sun and with lots of wind. The sunlight completely went out by 530 pm.

Would recommend bringing at least 3 liters of water, snacks, sunscreen, shoes with heel protections due to 3290 feet of decline on the way back down, pants and wind breaker. Was experiencing heavy wind from the Telescope peak to Rogers peak. Felt my face and extremities going numb from cold temperature, probably high 30's F or low 40's F.

2 months ago

Great 2-3 night trip. We camped atop Cone Peak and saw a beautiful sunset and sunrise (see pics above). Our trip in late December was uncrowded, but had no water above Vicente Flat. There is plenty of parking off HWY 1 for easy access.

2 months ago

Didn't have access to a 4wd, so started at the charcoal kilns (6900 ft). It was about 1.5 miles continuous uphill climb to the trail head with almost no views. Would avoid hiking this part at all cost next time. The trail itself was amazing and fun. View at top was mangnificent. The last mile and half of switchbacks before the summit was tiring, but really not too punishing.
We lived in Beatty the previous night, and drove there in about 2 hours early morning. From past experiences, I knew the attitude would effect me. I tend to experience headache, drowsiness and other cold like symptoms once over 6500ft. I dressed in layers, carried ample water, food and alotted plenty of time. I took breaks often, and spent about an hour on the summit. The whole 17 miles took me about 9 hours to complete.
My trip was in early November, temperature was around 20 to 40. There was no snow. I recommend sun protection, there was very little shade. Watch your step coming back down, the trail can be sandy, dry and slippery. Would love to come back and do this again.

2 months ago

Absolutely stunning views. Plan on starting early if you want to make it back. Take it slow, everybody I saw on the trail underestimated the effects of going from below sea level to 8,000 feet above in 4 hours.

2 months ago

13 Mile Day Hike Up Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park | Telescope Peak is the tallest mountain in Death Valley National Park. It has beautiful views of Badwater Basin and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We have created a detailed trip report for a successful summit up Telescope Peak, easily accomplished in a day. You won't regret doing this hike! It's beautiful! | Full Detailed Trip report at www.shedreamsofalpine.com

Strenuous hike with beautiful views all the way to the top. Don't start too late, if you don't want to walk back in the dark ;) You need a high-clearance vehicle to reach the parking lot after Charcoal Killns. Definitely worth it!

Emigrant is my favorite place to hike for all around scenery and terrain changes.
This loop is stunning at every turn. And the lakes...come on!! Wow!!
Starts out at the always busy Crabtree parking lot/trailhead. But, as is the norm, you get more than 1.5miles out, and it the herds thin drastically.
Not sure I’d qualify this as a “hard” trail. Three, maybe four good steep climbs. But nothing horrible. Just depends on your fitness level...and/or your pack weight.

lovely views, be cautious of poison oak!

4 months ago

Loved all the scenery, steady slope of trail, cushioned, great weather for mNovember, but the first half of the hike (castle rock to Jay camp) just hugged a road the whole time. My group and I felt like hitchhikers and didn't get the satisfaction that we were hiking deep into the redwoods. Second half was MUCH BETTER (Jay camp to Waddell beach) and would definitely do that section again!

5 months ago

Absolutely one of the best views I've ever had! We were glad to have a cold budweiser at the top :)
The last part of the road is a bit harsh, but we made it up there with a 30ft RV...

Stunning hike. Was tired by the end but a very good tired. Saw only a handful of people until I reached the Sugar Bowl. Spectacular views everywhere you look. Would do this hike again anytime.

5 months ago

Good place for an easy backpack. There are a couple of streams for water and lots of shade. The forest floor has a lot of sticks on it so finding a campsite took some looking.

First backpacking experience. Only did the roundtrip hike/camp from Castle Rock SP to Waterman Gap.
Downhill to Waterman - pretty much all uphill back to Castle Rock. Good variety in terms of scenery. Took off 1 star because of gunfire and highway noise (although honestly not a big deal). Looking forward to completing the entire Skyline to Sea Trail in the future.

Me and my partner decided to do the trail for her birthday, 3 days to do the loop so we could take our time, and we had a blast.
It was our first time backpacking, but we came prepared. we started from Fox Meadows trail head around 3:30pm and headed to Jennie Lake for our first night we arrived around 7:00 just enough time to enjoy some views of the lake then setup camp and start a fire, before the sun set. the second night we stayed in-between Rowell Meadow Junction and Warren Lake, that day we arrived with plenty of time before the sun set, but there was a storm brewing as we were hiking down the canyon so we set up between some of the streams. that night we both vented of being sore in various spots due to the pack. on the third night we got to warren lake in under an hour and a half. Jennie lake wasn't very populated the night that we stayed there. The 2nd night we were alone for the night which was pretty cool. Warren lake ,due to being so close to two trail heads, was very packed. This made it tough to sneak away and perform certain doodies.

Poop out pass was not all it was made out to be.

In retrospect doing the trail counter clockwise seems to be the easier choice.

all and all the trail was much fun, I cant wait to explore more of Sequoia national forest!

We were originally going to do the full loop with an end destination of Gem Lake. The ranger told us that she had written a ton of permits for Gem Lake and made a different suggestion. We look the loop trail and went right (south) at the fork. Our first night we camped at Grouse Lake. Insider tip: only 2 non-marshy access points on this lake so we suggest not camping near one of them unless you want a lot of foot traffic through your campsite.

Day 2, we hiked south towards chain lakes. There is no trail to get here so you have to forge your way over a pretty high ridge. But we traversed and got over it with ease. Chain lakes were beautiful. Only one is a swimming lake (the largest one). The other two are mostly marsh.

This was a fun, easy 3 day/2 night trip with shorter hikes. We had our little puppy so the 18 mile loop would have been too much for the little guy.

Load More