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Archive for the ‘Hiking and Camping’ Category

Deuter Backpacks Shine in Yosemite

Monday, November 24th, 2014

The following trip report and gear review is brought to you by Kevin Snow of Tahoe Mountain Sports:

“I should have bought another banana,” I thought as I turned onto Highway 140, entering the Merced River Valley. I wasn’t sure how long the drive was going to take me, and I’d hastily misjudged my morning hunger level as I flew through the gas station just outside of Lee Vinning hours earlier. “I heard there’s a pizza place down there somewhere,” I remember thinking, when all of a sudden, I realized what was happening, my car slowed, and a tear came to my eye. I had just entered the Yosemite Valley and what had just come into view was one of natures’ most awe inspiring, grand, and massive gifts of beauty, towering three thousand feet above the valley floor. I stood before El Capitan, in all of its majesty, in pure astonishment, as I contemplated not only the massive geologic events it would have taken to make this gargantuan monolith, but the amount of monumental historic events for the climbing world that have taken place on its walls and in its shadow. I felt like an ant. All of a sudden the world had been pulled into perspective for me, I felt small in it, and another tear came to my eye.

SONY DSC

The gang at the trailhead in Camp 4 in front of Midnight Lighting. The iconic bouldering problem is defined by the chalk lightning bolt in the background, and has been kept up by climbers outlining it in chalk for 3 and a half decades.

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Canoeing, Fishing (sort of) and Camping at Faucherie Lake

Saturday, September 6th, 2014

This trip report comes from Robyn Embry, a local pro downhill racer living in Kings Beach, California, for the past seven years. She can be found climbing rocks and skiing powder when not enjoying life on two wheels; Fine more from Robyn at http://therobynator.blogspot.com.

faucherie lake camping

Faucherie Lake had been spoken of highly by several friends who spend time there yearly, and we had always thought it would be fun to check it out. It’s hard to get far away from crowds by car on a busy summer weekend, but we took a gamble figuring it was a bit out of the way and the road is quite rough. Looking for a paddle-in campsite is also a good way to avoid the masses, and gave us an advantage over the car campers.

Getting to the lake required 2 ½ hours of bouncing up rock-studded dirt roads. After nearly losing the canoe off the top and fearing the destruction of other key items, we finally reached the lake, intact. Off came the canoe and we began stuffing gear into waterproof dry bags. Though sleeping under the stars is nice, a tent seemed ideal for this trip if we intended to keep mosquitoes away. Inflatable sleeping pads went in as well, which had not been used in at least a few summers since I’ve been too busy with bike racing.

For food and kitchen we went for luxury, packing a cooler full of good eats and hauling along the old 3-burner camp stove. The canoe should still stay afloat, and it would be worth carrying the weight since the paddle to camp is short. It might be ideal to pack lighter for a longer trip on a river or larger lake, bringing a backpacking stove and maybe some dehydrated camp meals, though the advantage of a canoe is being able to carry a fair amount more than would comfortably fit in a backpack. We did, however, pack a water filter instead of lugging in a full jug. After all, we were camping near a pretty decent water source.

campsites faucherie lake

Upon launching the canoe, (more…)

30 Hikes in 30 Days in the Lake Tahoe Basin: Round 2

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

van-sickle-bi-park-featured

TMS Ambassador Justeen Ferguson aka @SummitHunnies tackled a major pedi-project this summer. She hiked a new trail in the greater Lake Tahoe area each day for 30 days and reported back to us with details. Most were family-friendly. Some involved 4WD roads, some were strictly singletrack, and several were straight-up bushwhacks. Here are the second ten descriptions of her 30 hikes. Catch up on the first ten here, and stay tuned for the final ten, coming soon to your favorite outdoor sports blog.

What: #11 – 20, 30 Tahoe Day Hikes in 30 Days
When: July- August, 2014
Gear Used (and sworn by):
Lake Tahoe Basin Adventure Map, Lightweight Women’s Hiking Shoes,Eco-Friendly “Soft” Water Bottle, Organic Trail Snacks

*Take this information and use it as you will. Tahoe Mountain Sports is not responsible for accident, injury, or anyone getting lost trying to replicate this Summit Hunnie’s routes.

Day 11 – Coyote Mountain aka Cowboy Peak
Right in the heart of Meyers lays a nice little mountain; I went into this thinking, Oh, piece of cake. I’ll get a nice hike in before work. I was so wrong! This trail starts behind the Humane Society and practically goes straight up, and the trail back down is also really steep. Once you are covered in sweat and your legs are on fire, there is a wonderful view of South Lake Tahoe and Echo Summit. This hike is recommended for someone who wants a quick yet fulfilling workout.

coyote-peak-cowboy-lake-tahoe-trailcoyote-cowboy-hike-tahoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 12 – Desolation Wilderness behind Fallen Leaf Lake
The trailhead is located on the southern end of Fallen Leaf Lake, the same trail used to get out to Grass Lake from Day 1 of my 30 Tahoe Hikes. This route takes you out and back over a beautiful bridge and alongside some amazing mountains. You’re given a number of route options: continue traversing along the mountain side, make your way even further out toward a variety of lakes, or, if you are up for it, eventually make your way to the top of Mount Tallac. It’s a perfect place for all levels and abilities because hikers can decide how strenuous they want their hike to be. It is beautifully covered with both trees and wild flowers, and has great views of Fallen Leaf Lake.

desolation-wilderness-tahoe desolation-wilderness-granite

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 13 – Back of Dunlap Mountain
This trail is a trip! I accidently stumbled upon it on my way to Angora Lake. The beginning of the trail is just before the main gate to Angora Road. It’s a singletrack that takes you the opposite way of Angora, along the backside of Tahoe Mountain (from day 10) and all the way down to the infamous Camp Richardson. This is an easy hike, great for trail running or beginning mountain bikers, and ideal for walking the dogs. There is also a lovely view of Tallac almost the entire way. Beware of fallen trees…there’s some mandatory log-hopping but it’s a lot of fun!

hiking-desolation-wildernessdogs-allowed-desolation-wilderness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 14 – Big Chief
This amazing rock/mountain trail is near the town of Truckee. It’s a perfect little hike that leads to the Big Chief climbing area [link to big chief climbing Tahoe Info page] where we stopped to do some rock climbing! I like this hike because the trek out isn’t too tough and there are some rad trees and amazing rock formations to gander at. If you’re not a rock climber you can still enjoy the beauty of this cool rock! Try playfully climbing around and up the back of it to enjoy the view from the top! There are trails that take you beyond the Big Chief climbing area and out toward the woods with pretty views of the mountain ranges. The area has a very relaxing feel and is great for all abilities of hikers, bikers and trail runners. However, if you want to be adventurous and climb Big Chief, I highly recommend finding a buddy and making it happen. It makes the hike that much more rewarding!

big-chief-hike-to-clib big-chief-hiking-trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 15 – Five Lakes
The Five Lakes trail starts on Alpine Meadows Road and winds its way between the Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley ski resorts, providing wonderful scenery the entire time. (more…)

30 Hikes in 30 Days in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Round 1

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

tunnel creek trail hike lake tahoe

TMS Ambassador Justeen Ferguson aka @SummitHunnies is tackling a major pedi-project this summer. She’s hiking a new trail in the greater Lake Tahoe area each day and reporting back to us with details. Most are family-friendly. Some involve 4WD roads, some are strictly singletrack, and several are straight-up bushwhacks. Here are her first ten hikes. Stay tuned for twenty more.

What: #1-10, 30 Tahoe Day Hikes in 30 Days
When: July-August, 2014
Gear Used (and sworn by):
Lake Tahoe Basin Adventure Map, Comfortable Hiking Shoes, Kiss My Face Sunscreen, Deet-Free Bug Repellent

*Take this information and use it as you will. Tahoe Mountain Sports is not responsible for accident, injury, or anyone getting lost trying to replicate this Summit Hunnie’s routes. 

Day 1 – Grass Lake
Grass Lake is located near South Lake Tahoe. This trail starts at Fallen Leaf Lake and winds out through Desolation Wilderness, passing a variety of waterfalls, streams, and swimming holes along the way. This is a mild hike that the entire family can enjoy. The trail varies from dirt to some granite and has a few spots where stream jumping becomes necessary (nothing too large, however). This hike provides spectacular views of different mountains and meadows and plenty of wild flowers. Once you get to Grass Lake, the views get even better. You can hop in and cool off, have a picnic and even camp out if you’re willing to brave the wilderness overnight! It’s an easy hike for just about anyone!

grass lake hike waterfall tahoe

 

grass lake tahoe hiking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2 – Cascade Falls
Cascade Falls is located on the West Shore and sits above the infamous Emerald Bay. This is one of the shortest hikes in the basin. It is perfect for the novice hiker, but when you reach the falls the adventure does not have to stop. There are plenty of trails that leave from here and take you to the top of nearby peaks, or farther out into Desolation Wilderness. This is one of those hikes that can be as hard or as easy as you make it. Once you get to the falls, there is an amazing view overlooking both Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe. Perfect for hikers of all ages and abilities.

cascade falls lake tahoe day hikescascade falls sunrise emerald bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3 – Heavenly Ski Resort- Roundabout Trail
Heavenly Ski Resort is most famous for its wintertime fun. However, the ski slopes provide for excellent hiking in the off-season. This round-about trail starts at the base of Heavenly and winds its way up the mountain to the top of the resort, overlooking the Double Black Diamond runs Gunbarrel and The Face, and an amazing view of Lake Tahoe. This trail provides a bit of a challenge as it is uphill the entire way, but the way down is all downhill! The other good news is the views of South Lake Tahoe help ease the leg pain as you make your way to the top! So would having some poles made for hiking, if you have any. This hike is recommended for those who hike some, but by no means do you need to to be an expert. It’s fun to get out and see the resort when it’s not covered in snow!

heavenly roundabout trail sunset

heavenly roundabout trail tahoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4 – Corral Loop, Power line & Big Meadow
These trails are in South Lake Tahoe and start way back out in Meyers off of Pioneer trail. They are mostly used for mountain biking, but also make for excellent day hikes. There are so many ways to go from the trailhead so you can easily use the beginning for multiple routes. Its pretty soft and sand so it makes the down hills a bit tricky but there are a few spots where the lake peeks out and the tedious up hills become worth it! If you choose you can even make it to heavenly ski resort! Although you’re allowed to hike these trails, keep your eyes and ears open for mountain bikers flying downhill.

power line trail lake tahoe hikingpowerline bike trail lake tahoe hiking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 5 – Shakespeare Rock
Shakespeare Rock is on Tahoe’s northeast shore, near Glenbrook. This is an amazing, must-do hike! Not only does the peak resemble Shakespeare, but there is a miraculous cave that leads out to an incredible view of the east side of the lake. It is a challenge to get to the top because it goes practically straight up the mountain, but the cave itself makes it worth the trek and the view from the top is breathtaking. This is easily one of my favorite hikes in the Lake Tahoe Basin. You’ll find little-to-no people on this trail (many locals don’t even know about it), and it’s the perfect hike for sunset as the sun disappears behind the West Shore; you have the best seats on the lake for viewing.

shakespeare rock tahoeshakespeare cave lake tahoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Things To Do In Lake Tahoe: The Best Trails and Classic Day Hikes

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

This guest post comes from Lauren Gregg, a professional mountain biker living in North Lake Tahoe. When Lauren’s not working on, or dreaming about mountain bikes, she’s out exploring the trails in the greater Tahoe region. Happy trails, Lauren. We hope your knee heals quickly!

hiking-trails-north-lake-tahoe

Lake Tahoe day hikes are a great way to experience the Tahoe area. From quick picnics to half-day or full day adventures, there are many options for people seeking trails with beautiful scenery, picturesque mountain lakes and spectacular views. There are few better ways to spend a Tahoe summer day than with a hike to an alpine lake! The Tahoe region has an endless amount of awesome hiking trails, but here are highlights from some of the best Tahoe hikes that are not to be missed! Stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports to pick up a Tahoe Trail Map and any gear you may need before your adventure, making sure you are prepared with means for hydration and nutrition, and that you apply sunscreen and suit up with proper hiking shoes and apparel. Once you are all geared up, enjoy one of these classic Tahoe hikes!


Echo Lakes Hiking Trail

Echo Lakes Trail
This trail offers a beautiful hike with stunning views of alpine mountains and lakes. The trailhead begins at the Echo Lakes Resort and is one of the most popular entry points to Desolation Wilderness. Hikers can follow the trail out and back for a total distance of five miles, or can cut off about 2.5 miles by utilizing the water taxi service ($10 per person, $5 per dog) for a fun and scenic boat ride through the granite basin of Echo Lakes. Both Upper and Lower Echo Lake (which connect at a narrow channel) provide awe-inspiring views and relative solitude as well as great swimming in the summer! If hikers are feeling adventurous, they can continue further into the Desolation Wilderness to Lake Aloha and Rockbound Valley, both popular destinations.

 

Skunk-Harbor-Hiking-Trail

Skunk Harbor
Accessing Skunk Harbor requires a short hike down to a secluded bay on Lake Tahoe’s East Shore. Hikers journey 1.5 miles down from the trailhead to the beach at Skunk Harbor where they can explore the remains of the Newell House, a summer home built in 1922. The view of Lake Tahoe from the tiny harbor is the main attraction of this hike, and huge boulders and the remains of an old pier add to the scenery. Skunk Harbor is the perfect place for a summer swim or picnic, especially as a detour during a bike ride on the Flume Trail or around the perimeter of the lake.

 

Five-Lakes-Hiking-Trail

Five Lakes Trail
This easily accessible trail nestled in the foothills of the Granite Chief Wilderness brings hikers through the north side of the Alpine Meadows valleys to the gorgeous Five Lakes Basin. This hike is roughly 4-5 miles out-and-back to the five beautiful lakes between Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. This hike is very popular, however the lakes provide many areas of solitude and serenity. Adventurous hikers can continue beyond Five Lakes and into the Granite Chief Wilderness, picking up the Pacific Crest Trail shortly past the lakes.

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Kid-Friendly Hikes on Tahoe’s West Shore

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Growing up on the West Shore, hiking in Lake Tahoe’s woods and spending afternoons wading in high altitude lakes were things I took for granted. In hindsight, I was one lucky kid to have the endless trails in Tahoe just out my back door and I realized it as soon as I moved away. (Which is why I moved back home to Tahoe immediately after college.) Tahoe offers a plethora of scenic trails in the woods for both the avid hiker and the young family. For this post, I thought I would outline a few of my favorite family hikes in Lake Tahoe from when I was a kid. These easy-to-moderate trails are great day hikes with excellent destinations. Some are more crowded than others. But they all offer spectacular views, and most a nice cool body of water to dip your feet — or for the kids, to splash in feet first.

Angora Lakes

Photo Credit: Ktpdancer/Flickr Creative Commons

A gradual two-mile-or-so hike takes you to the two Angora Lakes, which are located above Fallen Leaf Lake. Both lakes are beautiful, but it’s the upper lake that you should hike to. Nestled in a glacially carved basin surrounded by Echo Peak and Angora Peak, the upper Angora Lake features a sandy beach, cool waters, and rocks — even large cliffs for those more experienced — to jump off of. You probably won’t find complete solitude on this popular hike, but you will find fresh-squeezed lemonade and paddle boat rentals operated by Angora Lakes Resort, a string of rustic cabins that have hosted guests since the 1920s.

Directions to the trailhead are a bit confusing, and I can’t guarantee signs. But take Fallen Leaf Road off of Highway 89, turn left on Tahoe Mountain Road, and then right on Angora Ridge Road. Follow Angora Ridge Road until you reach the parking area where the trailhead is located.

Eagle Lake

If you just have an afternoon (preferably on a less-crowded weekday), Eagle Lake is a great place to take the family. Located on the edge of Desolation Wilderness, this lake is very popular, and rightfully so. It’s a quick hike that’s not too steep. And the setting is spectacular with views of Emerald Bay on the way up and plenty of beach next to the lake. Bring your dog and throw a stick in the water. And don’t forget your bathing suit. You’ll find the trailhead in Emerald Bay. This is also one of the biggest access points to Desolation if you’re feeling like a longer hike and bigger adventure.

Vikingsholm and the Rubicon Trail

Take a stroll down history lane on this trail. Start at the top of Emerald Bay and walk down a wide dirt road to the famous Vikingsholm Mansion, where the infamous Mrs. Knight spent her summers and entertained guests in the early 1900’s. This Victorian mansion looms over the beach of one of the most famous landmarks in Lake Tahoe. A few hundred feet off shore sits the island, where Mrs. Knight hosted afternoon tea. There are plenty of trails that weave around the mansion, and you can walk up to Eagle Falls from here. But for those with a full day and more energy, I would highly recommend the Rubicon Trail.

You’ll find the trail weaving its way north from Vikingsholm. It follows one of the most dramatic shorelines in the Basin between Emerald Bay and Bliss State Park. Hikers pass secret coves and azure waters, and meander above gigantic cliffs that jut down hundreds of feet below the surface of the water. This is a great trail to set up a shuttle and park a car at Bliss and Emerald Bay if you don’t want to hike back.

Platypus 1 Litre Bottle
Platypus 1 Litre Bottle
MSRP: $16.95
Deuter Speed Lite 20 Backpack
Deuter Speed Lite 20 Backpack
MSRP: $88.95

 

 

High Sierra Music Lovin’

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

For this Adventure of the Week, TMS Blog Editor Julie Brown writes about the High Sierra Music Festival, which took place in Quincy over the Fourth of July weekend.

Who: Julie and lots of friends

What: High Sierra Music Festival

Where: Quincy

When: July 5 to 8

Gear: Tent, sleeping bag, sunscreen, water bottle, sunglasses

For years, my friend has always told me that I should go to the High Sierra Music Festival. But being on the Fourth of July weekend, I’ve always had to work and made excuses. Not this year. I finally put my foot down and bought my four-day ticket to this little festival with a big heart. And after four whirlwind days of solid music, dancing the night away, 95-degree-cool temps, camping in stables with an endless crew of friends, and immersing myself in an eclectic community of music lovers, I’m sitting here writing this and thinking: Did High Sierra really happen? I’ll definitely be attending the High Sierra Music Festival again next year, and for years to come after that.

The town of Quincy is small and quiet. But for four days, the High Sierra Music Festival transforms this sleepy town into a pulsing city of tents that never goes to bed. When we arrived, camps were set up in a matter of minutes. Shady Grove, the most popular camping area, was filled to the brim immediately. Good thing our friends beelined to the stables, and reserved a nice area under the shade. Conveniently located next to the Vaudeville Tent where dozens of bands played all day, this was our home sweet camp for the weekend. And we filled it with friends of friends of friends from Tahoe and Davis and Reno and SLO and beyond.

I can’t give you an exact rundown of this and that. It’s all blurred together in a mesmerized medley of color and eclectic people and dancing and hot sun and good music and late nights. But I can give you a couple glimpses of favorite moments:

Like watching Tahoe’s hometown band, the Dead Winter Carpenters, kill it on the Grandstand stage in front of hundreds of patrons.

Stumbling upon a silent disco at 3 am, where to the observer people danced in silence, but to the participant, a massive dance party could be accessed via head phones.

Falling in love with new music — the folksy Elephant Revival, Rubblebucket whose lead singer is full of rad personality and jumped into the crowd to dance with the rest of us, Delicate Steve, Kids These Days, David Garza… there was so much!

Rediscovering music legends like Toots and the Maytals. And getting to know the bands I already listen to. STS9 put on one crazy light show.

Destroyed guitars and crowd surfing.

Lotus drew me right up front. And I spent the last few late night hours of the weekend with Paper Diamond and Big Gigantic, closing out the festival with some sweet beats and jams.

High Sierra sold out this year. And I am very happy that I got to be part of the celebration. It was my first time at High Sierra Music Festival, but definitely not the last.

 

Snow Peak Spork
Snow Peak Spork
MSRP: $9.95
Eagle Nest Single Hammock
Eagle Nest Single Hammock
MSRP: $54.95

 

11 Tips to find the Best Campsites on your next Wilderness Adventure

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Max Neale, Review Editor for Outdoor Gear Lab, shares some tips on how to choose the best campsites and where to set up your tent for the next time you hike into the backcountry. Max regularly contributes reviews and tales from the road on our blog.

A good campsite can make or break your wilderness experience. When traveling long distances or through remote areas, I break the campsite selection process into two steps.

At the macro level, I look at maps an hour or two before bedtime and identify — based on my average speed and the desired time I want to bed down for the night — a general area to sleep. At the macro level, I look for an area that is:

  • Off trail, so you don’t interfere with other people’s wilderness experience
  • Flat, where you’re most likely to find a level place to lay down
  • Near resources such as water and firewood
  • If the bugs are bad, in a breezy area away from breeding grounds such as swamps and slow moving water
  • Not in the bottom of a valley where the air will be colder and dew and frost will be greater
  • Not near animal paths or ideal habitat, which might lead to an unwelcome nighttime guest
  • Finally, away from natural hazards such as flash floods, potential rock fall, and avalanche

Once I’ve identified a site at the macro level I zoom in and focus on micro level details. Specifically, I look for a campsite that’s:

  • Dry, because wet ground is more thermally conductive and can promote condensation in your shelter
  • On a surface that’s not prone to being flooded by rising groundwater during rain
  • Covered in soft materials like leaves, pine needles, sand, or moss, which will be more comfortable and warmer than compact ground (Note that it’s also important to camp and travel on durable surfaces. Weigh your comfort with your potential environmental impact. Camp in established sites while in a high use areas.)
  • Next to or under something that will act as a windbreak and reflect heat back to your shelter. Trees, bushes, and rocks can work well.

Finally, once I identify a potential campsite, I lie down and mark the location of my head and feet with a rock.

Happy camping! And may you find some of the best campsites out there.

Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2
Mountain Hardwear Drifter 2
MSRP: $194.95
Sierra Designs Lightning HT 3
Sierra Designs Lightning HT 3
MSRP: $349.95

 

Zion Hiking and Camping: Our Utah Roadtrip, Part 1

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

WHO: Lis and Chris

WHAT: Zion hiking and camping, part one of our Utah roadtrip, from Tahoe to Zion National Park to Escalante and back

WHEN: April 14–22, 2012

WHERE: Zion National Park, Utah

GEAR: MSR cookset, Lole Twist tanktop, leatherman

Wow. Utah is amazing! Zion National Park was the first stop on our roadtrip last month and the weather was prime for hiking and camping. Cool nights, not too hot days, I highly suggest a spring visit to this park. It took us about 11 hours to get to the park from our home on Tahoe’s West Shore, but we stopped for plenty of photos.

We arrived to the park at sunset and chose the Watchman Campground to set up our tent. It’s more set back from the main road than the South Campground, with newer amenities. Our site was on the outer rung of the campground, providing great views of the towering Watchman right from our tent. We couldn’t secure the site for two nights though, so night 2 we set up camp at the walk-in site the next night. You have to walk in your gear, but bear boxes keep your food safe for the night, and some communal campfire spots make the walk-in sites great for groups. An extra bonus was a short, steep trail up the knoll behind our tent to a historic Indian storage site with great valley views.

Day One we got right into hiking, choosing to tackle the famous Angels Landing first. A rocky cliff that juts up from the valley floor right smack in the middle of the park, it’s a one-of-a-kind hike that provides views of the canyon from every angle. You start at the Virgin River, near towering Fremont cottonwoods, on a very pedestrian friendly trail (mostly paved) trail. There are tons of switchbacks but the hike is very easy due to the mostly paved terrain.

At the top of the most-traveled trail is a fork: Left leads on the West Rim Trail, along a trail affording views of Moonlight Buttress (one of Chris’s climbing goals so we made an excursion out here after Angels). Right leads the rest of the way (1.5 miles) along a spiky ridge to the top of Angels Landing. This part is not for the height-sensitive. Or is it? I am pretty afraid of heights but was so happy that I did this hike, or scramble. Lots of chains are installed to help you up the tricky sections. The slickrock topped with sand is a bit fear-inducing if you’re not used to it but you’ve just got to trust your feet. It’s amazing the amount of people that do this hike despite its difficulty. As we were going up, an older couple from Florida was behind us and made it to the top. I kept watching all the flatlanders around me and told myself that if they could do it, I had no excuse to be afraid.

After descending we treating ourselves to lounging by the Virgin River in the sun, shoes off and bare feet in the frigid water.

Day Two we set off for a full lengthwise hiking tour of Zion. We took the park shuttle to the end of the canyon and hiked the 1 mile approach to The Narrows. The water was too high for The Narrows to be open but when it is you can continue up canyon to ultra-narrow walls as you walk up into the Virgin River.

Though not advertised, there is a small riverside trail that runs most of the way down the park. It’s a beautiful way to see the park outside of the shuttle; we were even treated to a deer herd running by us and crossing the river. Big Bend was one of our favorite stops as it’s just north of our previous day’s hike and has great vistas as the river takes a huge turn around Angels Landing. From there, we continued down the small river trail to Weeping Rock, where we hiked up to the Weeping Rock and to Hidden Canyon, for more chain-assisted hiking to a dark hidden canyon. As you can see in the below photos, the trail wraps along a cliffside for some pretty cool hiking terrain.

From Weeping Rock to the next shuttle stop down canyon (The Grotto, where you get off to hike Angels Landing), there is not a good riverside trail, so you’ll need to take the shuttle. We tried to do that hike but had to hike on the road for half of it, so take my advice and shuttle it!

At The Grotto, we crossed the river to the Kayenta Trail that follows the riverbank up to Emerald Pools. This trail was awesome, with great river views, mellow hiking and a cool section that goes through a split rock. This trail is definitely one of the best Zion hikes that the whole family can do.

After two full days of hiking (and a big backpacking trip ahead of us), we treated ourselves to afternoon ice cream and then dinner at the Whiptail Grill in Springdale, the town just outside the park. The chicken enchiladas with chile verde sauce are a must-order!

Day Three we headed on our next adventure, toward Escalante, which afforded us a great opportunity to see the rest of Zion National Park with a drive on the Zion-Mount Carmel Highway. While you can’t drive up the main canyon, you can drive on this part, and the road takes you through a long tunnel and then out onto a dramatically different landscape that looks a lot more desert. Then it was off to Escalante for slot canyons and backpacking… which I’ll tell you all about in Part Two of this adventure.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk, hike, bike, or Zion National Park hike in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

Lole Twist Tank Top
Lole Twist Tank Top
MSRP: $49.95
MSR Stainless Steel Camp Mug
MSR Stainless Steel Camp Mug
MSRP: $14.95
Leatherman Juice Pocket Knife
Leatherman Juice Pocket Knife
MSRP: $84.95

 

Hiking the Lost Coast Trail: Two romantic days on the beach

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

This Adventure of the Week comes from Max Neale, Review Editor for Outdoor Gear Lab, which was recently named Best Gear Website by Outside Magazine. Max regularly contributes reviews and tales from the road on our blog. He took us climbing in Turkey in February, and now we head down California’s Lost Coast…

WHO: Max Neale

WHAT: backpacking on the Lost Coast Trail

WHEN: March 6-8 2012

WHERE: Northern California coast

GEAR: MSR tent, waterproof jacket, plus gear to impress her like the Platypreserve to hold your finest wine and the luxury Nemo Fillo pillow

If backpacking trips were like dinner dates, the Lost Coast Trail would be a seaside French bistro. It doesn’t get much better than this: the logistics are simple, the terrain is mild, and the views are spectacular. Whether you’re looking for a romantic weekend outing, or a peaceful solo hike, the Lost Coast Trail could be one of the best coastal walks in the world.

Looking south from the Punta Gorda Lighthouse

The Lost Coast is a mostly undeveloped section of the California coast. It lies far up north, just south of Eureka. The terrain is mountainous and wet; this is the land of Redwoods and pristine aqua-blue rivers. Lost Coast can be done anytime, but summer has best weather and winter has the lowest tides (so you may be able to pass through some sections that would otherwise be impassible at high tide). The trail that bears the area’s name stretches roughly eighty miles from where Route 1 cuts inland, south of Garberville, to Fortuna where it rejoins 101. Though this whole stretch is walkable, most people do a 26-mile section (from the Mattole River to Shelter Cove) along the water. This is a rare slice of beachside wilderness. Sea otters and sea lions chatter as you walk along deserted beaches scattered with polished rocks and driftwood. Camp wherever you like: anywhere is a five star site.

Lost Coast Logistics

Park at the Mattole River Trailhead, where you self-register for free permits. “Mandatory” bear canisters are available at the Petrolia General Store (707-629-3455) for $5 plus deposit. Hike south for two nights, being mindful of several sections that can’t be passed at hightide, and hitchhike back from Shelter Cove or leave a car there. This Lost Coast map shows start and end points, particularly good campsites, and tide-related information.

The Tahoe Mountain Sports Adventure of the Week blog series takes a walk, hike, ski, Lost Coast Trail backpack in someone else’s shoes, from pro athletes to local Tahoe adventurers. Let us know if you’ve got an adventure to share.

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