The hike to the Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout is about 5 miles (out and back) with a climb of 1500 feet (or more if you start at a different trailhead). It’s a pretty cool destination! We went with a group of 14 people and even the non-hikers seemed to enjoy the lookout! The top (at 8587-ft) provides views down to Upper/Lower Sardine Lakes, the surrounding Sierra Buttes and many miles of Tahoe National Forest. Continue reading “Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout”
Shortly after our last failed attempt at backpacking in Desolation Wilderness, I was ready to try again. We waited a few weeks for more snow to melt, then made our reservation for Lake Aloha (Zone 33). We snagged 6 of the allotted 25 spots for this zone.
Basics: This overnight hike was about 13 miles round-trip. This distance sounds easier than it is – the Ralston trail begins by climbing 2400-ft in a few short miles. Anyone looking for an easier approach can access Lake Aloha from the Echo Lakes area. From the route described in this post, it’s possible to take short detours to climb Ralston Peak or visit several other Desolation Wilderness lakes. Continue reading “Lake Aloha via the Ralston Peak Trail”
Things don’t always go according to plan. I’m normally pretty good at planning stuff and I have decent luck most of the time, but every once in a while hiking does not go how I expect.
Continue reading “Lyons Creek Trail – Desolation Wilderness”
Basics: Loch Leven Lakes are three very popular alpine lakes in Tahoe National Forest. The lakes are surrounded by granite and typical Sierra scenery. The hike is approximately 8 miles roundtrip. It is slightly shorter if your destination is the first of the three lakes. These lakes offer great swimming and camping – they definitely get crowded on summer weekends! Continue reading “Loch Leven Lakes”
The Quarry Road Trail in Auburn State Recreation Area is perfect for trail running, easy mountain biking or hiking. It’s also dog and horse friendly. The trail is six miles long, and gently climbs a few hillsides along the river.
It has finally rained in California! Not enough to save us from the drought, but at least the grass is a little less brown. The snow conditions still aren’t great (heavy, wet snow) so rather than braving the holiday weekend crowds, we decided to saunter in the foothills. The next best thing to do after some rain is to go see a waterfall! So many waterfalls in California seem to just spring up out of nowhere for a few short weeks or days each winter. This one actually has water for a decent portion of the year.
Basics: The Quarry Road Trail in Auburn State Recreation Area actually follows a portion of the Western States Trail. It’s a wide dirt path that is perfect for trail running, easy mountain biking or hiking. It’s also dog and horse friendly. The entire trail is nearly six miles from beginning to end. We extended our hike another mile by heading up the single track American Canyon Trail to some small waterfalls and a deep little hidden pool. Continue reading “Quarry Road Trail to American Canyon”
This 10 mile hike is located on BLM land, just across the highway from Cache Creek Regional Park. The hike starts off climbing steeply up to Billy’s Hill. If you continue all the way to Glascock Mountain it’s 10 miles and 3100 feet of elevation gain.
Basics: This 10 mile hike is located on BLM land, just across the highway from Cache Creek Regional Park. The hike starts off climbing steeply up to Billy’s Hill. After enjoying the views from there, it’s possible to continue on up two ridges (with a few steep sections) all the way over to Glascock Mountain. There is no official trail, but the path follows a combination of use trails, fire breaks and a somewhat overgrown fire road. Continue reading “Billy’s Hill & Glascock Mountain”
The fire lookout on Martis Peak can be reached from both Martis Peak Road and the Tahoe Rim Trail. We had a limited amount of time, so we opted to go up the paved road which is a slightly shorter route. This hike is 8 miles roundtrip, with about 1700-ft of elevation gain.
It’s been way too long since we got out and hit the trails. We had some spare time before the holidays, so we decided to head up to Tahoe for the weekend. There’s not much snow yet this year – 2013 was the driest calendar year on record (though water is usually summed by water year: Oct-Sep). California is going to have some serious water problems if we don’t get crazy amounts of rain/snow in the next couple of months. We wanted to use our snowshoes, but the road looked pretty bare so we left them in the car. (Of course the road was completely covered in snow as soon as we turned the first corner.) This hike was 8 miles roundtrip, with about 1700-ft of elevation gain. Continue reading “Martis Peak Fire Lookout”
This hike is 6-ish difficult miles beginning at the Pyramid Creek trailhead on Highway 50, with about 1900 feet of elevation gain. The unmaintained trail goes past Horsetail Falls (a neat destination itself) up to several beautiful lakes in Desolation Wilderness.
I’ve been wanting to hike up Pyramid Peak for quite some time, but it just hasn’t happened (yet). On the occasions I have planned to do this hike, I’ve been stopped by major thunderstorms or crazy gusts of wind. This weekend, the weather was looking pretty perfect, but with a late start and the days already getting shorter, we didn’t make it up the peak. I will get there eventually. Instead, we hiked up to some high alpine lakes and enjoyed a beautiful and relaxing October day in Desolation Wilderness. Continue reading “Ropi Lake via Horsetail Falls – Desolation Wilderness”
We hiked the Mountain Trail towards the top of Sonoma Mountain – a seven mile hike with over 1500 ft of elevation gain. It doesn’t quite reach the top which is outside of the park boundary, but it’s nonetheless a great hike.
It has been far too long since we’ve had a chance to get out and hike. Work and other commitments have taken up way too much of our time. We have plans to go to Yosemite in a few weeks – let’s hope the government is back up and running by then.
While visiting friends and family in Sonoma County last weekend, we made plans to stop at Jack London State Park. We hiked the Mountain Trail towards the top of Sonoma Mountain – a seven mile hike with over 1500 ft of elevation gain. It doesn’t quite reach the top which is outside of the park boundary, but it’s nonetheless a great hike. Continue reading “Jack London State Park – Mountain Trail”
Basics: Mount Tallac is a 10 mile hike (out and back) with approximately 3500 ft of elevation gain. The main trailhead is just a few miles west of South Lake Tahoe, though this peak can also be reached from Gilmore Lake and other areas deeper in Desolation Wilderness. It’s strenuous, but the incredible views down to Fallen Leaf Lake, Lake Tahoe, and over to Desolation Wilderness make this a very popular hike. On summer weekends, there can easily be dozens of people on the summit at once. I would recommend an early start. Permits for day hikes are self-issued at the trailhead. For overnight trips, reserve your permit in advance at Recreation.gov. Continue reading “Mount Tallac in Desolation Wilderness”