Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Moderator: HAZ - Moderators

Linked Guides none
Linked Areas none
User avatar
mackt
Posts: 27
Joined: Sep 18 2012 7:39 pm
City, State: Phoenix, Az

Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by mackt » May 06 2013 8:19 am

Hey everybody. When I went to Arizona on a business trip in fall I found this website and had some great input that resulted in some really good day hikes. I'm hoping to get some more for this trip. First the fitness info:

I am going with a 30 year old female. She runs and works out and hikes here in the flatlands of Florida probably 1-10 miles per week. I am a 33 year old male. I work out and trail run here about 4.5 miles per run. I have hiked South Mountain in Arizona and climbed Squaw Peak at night (Phoenix Arizona), hiked to Mystic Lake in the Beartooths and in the Beartooths just outside Red Lodge (Montana). As a kid I did some hiking and multinight camping in the Smokies, as well as a little mountain climbing and rappelling. I think we can handle about any day hike that doesn't require climbing gear or something. I plan on taking my camelbak, a couple of knives/tools, headlamps, maps of our planned hikes, compass, cell phone, and lighter and matches in case of emergency.

We know the areas we're going and for how long. And to some degree we think we know what we want to do. However we're open to change and in the case of Yosemite we have no plan. Here goes:

1.5 days Big Sur:
Tuesday June 18th we will get up in San Francisco and drive the PCH over the Bixby Bridge and do some sightseeing. She wants to see the McWay Falls/cove so we will also stop there and do that hike. Im sure we'll take some time there to appreciate that but I would imagine that it wouldnt be later than 2 or 3 in the afternoon when we're done. We will be staying in the area, so we will have the rest of that afternoon and the next day to do something in the Big Sur area before we head over to Pinnacles National Park. We are considering Cone Peak. Please give us any suggestions on that or something else for the Remainder of Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday.

1 day Pinnacles National Park:
Thursday the 20th we will get up early and drive to Pinnacle. We'll do Pinnacle hiking all day and then that night I'll drive to Merced to stay in a hotel. So it will be an early wake up, long day of hiking, and probably a late evening arrival in Merced. The Bear Gulch cave will be closed unfortunately. We would like to do Balconies cave and we would like to see Pinnacles. I admit I haven't researched the hike well yet and don't know where the Pinnalces are or if that is feasible. I can usually cover a lot of ground by foot and car and see a lot of stuff when I'm hiking. But I don't know how difficult or dangerous a hike the caves will be and I see that the roads in the park are winding and at times one lane. So please advise if seeing both of these areas would be possible.

1.5 days Yosemite:
Friday the 21st we will get up in Merced and we will have that day to see Yosemite, we can stay anywhere that night, and then the next day we will get up and have about 4-5 hours before we have to head back to San Francisco. We have no plans or even ideas of what to see. We want to see Sequoias. I know they have some big ones up in Calaveras National Park. I know Half Dome is beautiful. I once spent a couple of days in Yellowstone/Grand Tetons and we didn't hike at all we just drove and saw so much stuff, Grizzlies, wolves, bison, waterfalls, geysers, the "Grand Canyon of Yellowstone". I wonder if it's the same situation here, it's such a big place we would be better suited to more driving than hiking. Maybe driving all day Friday, then Saturday getting up and riding to Calaveras to hike and see the Louis Agassiz Tree that morning before driving back? Please advise

Thanks everyone!

no avatar
Borknagar
Posts: 33
Joined: Dec 05 2011 8:12 pm
City, State: Phoenix

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by Borknagar » May 17 2013 9:33 am

I am actually doing a very similar trip to you in July. We are going to Monteray, Yosemite and Joshua Tree.
A few hikes I am really looking forward to are:

In Monteray:

Day hikes:
-Garrapata State Park (fun hike through red woods, beach/ocean views, flowers!) (~3.5 mile loop) (http://www.yelp.com/biz/garrapata-state-park-carmel) (HIGHLY RECOMMEND!)
-Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
-McWay Falls overlook hike

Multi day Hikes:
-Hot springs (Sykes Hot Springs) (20 miles total)
-(campfire permit here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOC ... 404941.pdf)
-Hike information (http://www.everytrail.com/guide/pine-ri ... ot-springs)


As for yosemite and joshua tree we aren't really doing any day hikes, just multiday, maybe upper and lower yosemite falls though for a day hike.

Hope you have a fun trip

User avatar
Tough_Boots
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mar 28 2008 7:08 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by Tough_Boots » May 17 2013 3:49 pm

Borknagar wrote:Sykes Hot Springs
I second that one! That's the first backpacking trip I ever did probably about 12 years ago. I've always wanted to go back.
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan

User avatar
John9L
Posts: 169
Joined: Mar 12 2004 1:33 pm
City, State: Scottsdale, AZ
Contact:

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by John9L » May 17 2013 4:13 pm

Here are some Yosemite options. Some people will complain about the crowds and how they are too good for Yosemite Valley and blah blah blah. IMO everyone needs to visit Yosemite at least once in their lives. The waterfalls are truly breathtaking! The farther back you hike the fewer people you'll see.

1. Mist Trail (7 miles, 2,000 AEG) - This hike takes you past Vernal Falls and Nevada Falls. This is also the lower portion of the Half Dome hike. It's the most popular hike in the park. You hike along the Merced River as you gain elevation to the top of both waterfalls. I love this hike and have done it four separate times.

2. Upper Yosemite Falls (9 miles, 3,000 AEG) - This is another popular hike. You gain a lot of elevation as you work your way up the trail. There are a bunch of spectacular views of the falls as well as Half Dome and Yosemite Valley. I recommend heading all the way up to Yosemite Point. It's roughly a mile past the top of the falls and well worth it! http://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=11397

3. Lower Yosemite Falls (Less then 1 mile and its paved) - If your in the area and have time, make a quick detour over to the lower portion. Bridalveil Falls are similar with length and time.

4. Glacier Point - Absolutely spectacular views! This is possibly my favorite place on earth. You can hike up from the valley floor (Four Mile Trail or Pohono Trail) or drive your car. It's worth the time getting there. http://hikearizona.com/photo.php?ZIP=198832 Try to hike over to Sentinel Dome if you drive. It's a short 2 mile round trip hike from the road.

5. Some sites to check out if you can...Olmsted Point, Tunnel View, Ahwahnee Hotel and Mariposa Grove. Mariposa Grove has the giant trees you mentioned in your post.

User avatar
toddak
Posts: 234
Joined: Nov 15 2005 8:46 pm
City, State: Puhoynix, AZ

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by toddak » May 17 2013 9:09 pm

Pinnacles is nice, but a half day there will probably be plenty, I might even bag it entirely in favor of more time in Monterey or Yosemite. You can get to Pinnacles from either the West or East sides, but you can't drive directly through the park from one side to the other. A good hiking loop from the West side is High Peaks to Balconies Cave, a good loop from the East side is High Peaks to Bear Gulch. Personally I prefer the West side, much bigger rock formations and views, but either way you will want to get up into the High Peaks area, lots of spires and formations. I've never thought the caves were all that great, they are really just deep narrow gullies where boulders and debris have fallen in to form a roof overhead. Enjoy!

User avatar
JimmyLyding
Posts: 1319
Joined: Feb 16 2007 3:17 pm
City, State: Walnut Creek, CA

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by JimmyLyding » May 19 2013 8:23 pm

I've had a hiking/camping trip to Big Sur on the short list for a while now (I live in the SF Bay Area-Walnut Creek), and Cone Peak certainly piqued my interest, but unfortunately I can't offer any recommendations as I've never been to the area.
One thing you might want to consider about Pinnacles is that it will be hot. I would expect 95-100 degrees in the afternoon.
As for Yosemite, I'm not sure about your lodging plans for the night but you might want to check out Yosemite Creek off of Tioga Road. You'd have a pretty good chance of snagging a campsite if my experience there last 4th of July is any guide. The entire campground is first-come first-serve, and don't be scared by the road. My passenger sedan easily navigated it multiple times last July. It looks like you may have a rental car, so no problemo . You could also easily see the Tuolumne Grove of giant sequoias either on the way in or out, and do the North Dome hike for great views: http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=16716
Yosemite Valley isn't so great for car touring because it's congested, parking is dicey, and it's just not that big. However, you could easily see the vast majority of the things-to-see in the valley by hiking the various trails that ring it and also the numerous side trails that lead to the high country. Yosemite Valley will also be fairly warm in June.

User avatar
paulhubbard
Posts: 609
Joined: Jun 01 2010 9:54 am
City, State: Mesa, AZ
Contact:

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by paulhubbard » May 19 2013 8:26 pm

Don't overlook the Kings Canyon area... Very spectacular scenery with 1/10th of the crowd!
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

User avatar
mackt
Posts: 27
Joined: Sep 18 2012 7:39 pm
City, State: Phoenix, Az

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by mackt » Jun 03 2013 8:16 am

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FORT YOUR INPUT! I kept checking back and seeing no response and thought I just wasnt going to get any. Then came back last Friday and saw all this. I am at work now but tonight I will research all this info and write back tonight. Thanks again

User avatar
mackt
Posts: 27
Joined: Sep 18 2012 7:39 pm
City, State: Phoenix, Az

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by mackt » Jun 04 2013 10:16 am

Borknagar - good looking out on the garrapata state park. That is DEFINITELY on the list. We can do that, McWay Falls, Cone Peak, and either Julia Pfeiffer or just some PCH driving

Thanks everyone for the info on Pinnacles. We will probably skip that and get some more time in Yosemite.

I think I will still go to Calaveras State Park to see the Sequoias. It has a lot of them and has one of the top ten biggest. Plus you can leave the trail and explore the map and that's just too cool not to.

Has anyone heard of Stanislaus National Forest and do they have any advice on that?

Thanks a million everyone

User avatar
Tough_Boots
Posts: 1724
Joined: Mar 28 2008 7:08 pm
City, State: Phoenix, AZ
Contact:

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by Tough_Boots » Jun 04 2013 12:20 pm

Julia Pfeiffer is beautiful if you just wanna hang out on a beach for a day. Its hard to see the turn-off from the pch, though, unless they've actually put up a sign. Big Sur unfortunately gets a little more developed every time I go through there-- but its still super chill. If you like live music, you should see if anything is going on at Fernwood or the Henry Miller Library. The Henry Miller Library is hands down the best place to see a show ever :)
"there is no love where there is no bramble."
--bill callahan

User avatar
paulhubbard
Posts: 609
Joined: Jun 01 2010 9:54 am
City, State: Mesa, AZ
Contact:

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by paulhubbard » Jun 04 2013 1:54 pm

mackt wrote:I think I will still go to Calaveras State Park to see the Sequoias.
Kings Canyon / Sequoia Nat Park should be a must see for you too, since you're relatively close. The trees in the Nat Park are tremendous! Kings Canyon is spectacular just to drive through, and it has 1/100 of the people compared to Yosemite. Moro Rock in the Nat Park is way cool too, albeit kind of crowded.
Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

no avatar
tandmsimmons
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 08 2013 10:12 am
City, State: Manteca, CA

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by tandmsimmons » Jun 08 2013 10:41 am

Pinnacles is a nice one day hike, there is a web site with trail maps. The trails can be steep in places but anybody in their 30's should find it reasonably easy. Bring water it will be hot! You can camp there or drive up to Hollister. The road in and out of Pinnacles is narrow and twisty and a favorite race track for motorcycles so stay on your side of the road! Yosemite offers fantastic hiking. The hike up to Merced Falls from Yosemite Valley is a long hard climb but well worth it. The redwoods at the south entrance can be hiked to VS taking the tram and is a nice up hill hike, the Mariposa Redwood Grove (near Big Oak Flat) is less visited and at the North side of the park. Glacier point is a drive not a hike but well worth the drive if you have the time. The Meadows offer very nice flat hikes with points of interest, black bear (rarely seen), deer, and small animals are easy to spot. Go to the NPS.gov site they have a map and list of hikes. To me Big Sur is more of a drive than anything else but there are lots of trails and hikes. There is a hike down to the beach north of Big Sur at Bixby Creek that follows the creek to the sea and takes you out to a very nice beach. There is no parking lot so parking can be difficult, the only way you can find the hike if you are not familiar with the area is the cars parked on the roadside. Personally I would give up Pinnacles and push on to Yosemite if your time permits. Pinnacles is well worth the stop but it's not Yosemite.

User avatar
mackt
Posts: 27
Joined: Sep 18 2012 7:39 pm
City, State: Phoenix, Az

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by mackt » Jun 09 2013 10:42 am

Thanks for the advice! Yes we have decided to skip Pinnacles. Any additional advice about how to follow the trail at Bixby Creek?

User avatar
mackt
Posts: 27
Joined: Sep 18 2012 7:39 pm
City, State: Phoenix, Az

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by mackt » Jun 14 2013 7:50 am

Thanks everyone. I leave tomorrow night/Sunday morning and of course i have my first cold in about two years. Oh well - Ill survive. When I get back ill post about my trip and put up some pictures.

User avatar
Sredfield
Posts: 1579
Joined: Sep 08 2002 1:07 pm
City, State: Ahwatukee, AZ

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by Sredfield » May 26 2017 4:18 pm

Bumping this old thread forward with an added question: any recommendations for ~ 3 nights backpacking with the goal of seeing the big trees? When it's not too hot? Thanks!
Shawn
The bear went over the mountain to see what he could see.

User avatar
Tortoise_Hiker
Posts: 323
Joined: Apr 02 2005 1:30 pm
City, State: Mesa, AZ

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by Tortoise_Hiker » May 26 2017 7:33 pm

Hey Shawn,
If you go to Yosemite I read that Mariposa Grove is getting work done until Fall. I heard they are taking out some buildings and turning some roads into trails. the thing I read said closed til fall but didn't give a date.
Tortoise Hiking. Stop and smell the Petrichor.

User avatar
flagscott
Posts: 333
Joined: Jan 03 2016 7:41 pm
City, State: Flagstaff, AZ

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by flagscott » May 27 2017 7:06 am

FYI, you need a permit to backpack in Yosemite--they are notoriously difficult to get, though it depends where exactly you are going.

I don't know if you were thinking of Pinnacles NP, but it does not allow backpacking period.

User avatar
ddgrunning
Posts: 177
Joined: Apr 13 2011 10:01 pm
City, State: Gilbert, AZ

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by ddgrunning » May 30 2017 10:29 am

@John9L
I second 9L's recommendations. One other I would add is Taft Point. it is on the way to Glacier point and not nearly as crowded. We made a loop hike out of it to Sentinel Dome, and for much of the hike, enjoyed relative solitude. The views from Taft Point are spectacular. Here's my triplog and photos: https://hikearizona.com/photoset.php?ID=31267

User avatar
ddgrunning
Posts: 177
Joined: Apr 13 2011 10:01 pm
City, State: Gilbert, AZ

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by ddgrunning » May 30 2017 10:32 am

oops. just realized I was responding to the old post--not the new question....

User avatar
JimmyLyding
Posts: 1319
Joined: Feb 16 2007 3:17 pm
City, State: Walnut Creek, CA

Re: Big Sur, Pinnalces, Yosemite trip - Advice wanted!

Post by JimmyLyding » May 30 2017 6:50 pm

Sredfield wrote:Bumping this old thread forward with an added question: any recommendations for ~ 3 nights backpacking with the goal of seeing the big trees? When it's not too hot? Thanks!
Are you referring to sequoias or redwoods?

Post Reply

Return to “Looking for a Hike”


cron