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  1. #1
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    OT - for the Pinecrest backcountry know-it-alls (hiking not biking related)

    I'm looking for some info on access into the Emigrant and Yosemite backcountry, via the dirt roads out of Pinecrest, for a backpacking trip in the fall. I've hiked from Hetch Hetchy north and from Levitt Meadows south, into the Yosemite high country. I've also driven the dirt roads from Pinecrest to Cherry Lake. This year I'd like to 4 wheel it as far as I can to/into the Emigrant Wilderness, and then backpack from the road's end into the high country towards the PCT and Emigrant Pass area. There's a ton of lakes and peaks in there that I haven't seen and am looking for a unique way to access it from the West for a 3-4 day hiking trip.

    Anyone have any experience doing this and could suggest a route or at least road/location to start from? I can't tell from my Delorme Map which are 4wd roads vs hiking trails. FYI I have a newer outback, so I have some clearance and capability (and plenty of off road experience) but not enough for any extreme rock crawling stuff.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Bump...I'm pretty interested in this too. Outbacks are great for rough roads. I just wish the bumpers weren't so long. You could do some pretty gnarly stuff if the approach angles and departure angles were better.

    One thing I like to do is use Google Satellite view or Google Earth. That'll give you another vantage point to see what kind of road it is.
    I like to ride bikes.

  3. #3
    downward bound
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    Well, for the Emigrant there is the popular Gianelli trailhead at Burst Rock and then there is the more serene Coyote Meadows in Hammill Canyon, which I prefer though by a ratio of 1,000:1 I am there to mountain bike versus hike. Or you could go over to Eagle Meadow but there is a hoof over the pass. [Best to head down from there on your mountain bike...] Both the Kennedy Meadows and Crabtree trailheads will be over-horsed zoos. Some people really like the Shingle Springs trailhead to Kibbie Ridge on the boundary of the Emigrant and Yosemite...

  4. #4
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    OT - for the Pinecrest backcountry know-it-alls (hiking not biking related)

    Stop by the Summit ranger station in Pinecrest and get a national forest map, they list all the roads and trails. Most of the roads will be fine in the Subaru, especially if you don't baby it and are willing to take a rub or two. Great hiking into Yosemite off of forest roads between highways 108 and 120.

  5. #5
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    OT - for the Pinecrest backcountry know-it-alls (hiking not biking related)

    Thanks for the tips and suggestions. Will call the ranger station for the map and check out the locations you've mentioned. Was hoping to avoid all the horse crap and deep sand (caused by the pack trains) that is typical from Kennedy and Levitt Meadows trailheads.

    When I last drove the forest roads between Pinecrest and Cherry Lake (back in 2002) I did it in a wax wagon, so I'm thinking the outback will allow for a bit more exploration. I treat my vehicles with the same respect as my bikes - use it as it was designed to be used!

  6. #6
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    I drove to the bell meadow trailhead once to start a trip into emigrant. I don't think you'll get any horse trailers down there. It has been several years. The road wasn't a problem in our outback. i remember there was some water flowing across the road at one point but no issues. We we were the only car there during a non-holiday summer weekend.

  7. #7
    yohyatt
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    I thought nothing with wheels is allowed in emigrant. a ranger told me not even a cooler...


    Quote Originally Posted by Hel Mot View Post
    I drove to the bell meadow trailhead once to start a trip into emigrant. I don't think you'll get any horse trailers down there. It has been several years. The road wasn't a problem in our outback. i remember there was some water flowing across the road at one point but no issues. We we were the only car there during a non-holiday summer weekend.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by yohyat View Post
    I thought nothing with wheels is allowed in emigrant. a ranger told me not even a cooler...
    Correct, the actual rule says something abount no mechanized equipment. Not sure I would want to drag a cooler even with wheels out there. There are many (probably more than I know) forest service roads that will get you to various entry points to the emigrant. Usually the trailheads are some distance from the actual wilderness boundary.

  9. #9
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    Just this last weekend , doing a little motorized fireroad exploring north off Herring Creek Rd. I discovered that none of the actual road markers matched the Forest Service map road numbers. What's up with that?
    .

    I may not have the best of everything, but I have the best everything that matters.

  10. #10
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    It's been maybe 15 years since I camped in that area, but maybe this is some help. I went with some friends into the Deer lake area. We had a packer haul our heavy stuff in and drop it. Deer Lake was maybe a 10 mile hike from the pack station. We were in the area for a week, hiked to lots of lakes. Super interesting area, as the terrain looked like frozen rolling waves of granite. You could walk up the back side of the "waves", but not down the front! Lakes down in the troughs between ridges. We went in Labor Day weekend, saw a bunch of folks the first night, then watched everyone leave in the morning. I think we saw 6 other people in a week, and 2 of them only because we passed them at another lake as we were day hiking.

  11. #11
    downward bound
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    Fred, try this:

    Stanislaus National Forest - Land & Resources Management

    This is an inventory of more or less all the roads and trails in SNF, except for maybe a few obscure routes. If this link works, open up the Duckwall Mountain map and look for 1N01 and 1N10, which crosses the Tuolumne at Lumsden Bridge. Best gravel grinding on the planet!

  12. #12
    I'm really diggin it!
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    I have some favorite off trail camping spots in the Emigrant. Please PM for details.

  13. #13
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    The trailhead you are looking for is the Bourland Meadow Trailhead. It is a primitive trailhead as there are no maintained trails beyond the start. It's a great way to get into the Cherry Creek Canyon, Big Lake, Yellowhammer area. Just past Yellowhammer you can hook up with the Kibbie Ridge trail in Northern Yosemite.
    Anybody can ski the groomed

  14. #14
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    OT - for the Pinecrest backcountry know-it-alls (hiking not biking related)

    Awesome stuff. Thanks for all the info.

  15. #15
    ol'guy who says hi &waves
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    Quote Originally Posted by 209er View Post
    Fred, try this:

    Stanislaus National Forest - Land & Resources Management

    This is an inventory of more or less all the roads and trails in SNF, except for maybe a few obscure routes. If this link works, open up the Duckwall Mountain map and look for 1N01 and 1N10, which crosses the Tuolumne at Lumsden Bridge. Best gravel grinding on the planet!
    209, that's waaay better. Thanks.
    .

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  16. #16
    J-Flo
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    Quote Originally Posted by fred-da-trog View Post
    Just this last weekend , doing a little motorized fireroad exploring north off Herring Creek Rd. I discovered that none of the actual road markers matched the Forest Service map road numbers. What's up with that?
    I noticed the same thing last year up Herring Creek Road. I was trying to 4-wheel as far as I could towards Eagle Peak (then to ride back down on bike) and ended up being confused for a while because the dang road sign numbers are different from what is on the map.

    To the OP: If you want to be above treeline, the best North/Pacific Crest access point to Emigrant is at Leavitt Lake, which is up a jeep road and will save you a day versus Kennedy Meadow. The hike in from the West side that begins at Gianelli Cabin is really gorgeous, although you will see some other people there. If you want solitude I think you need to head South and focus on Northwest Yosemite/Southern Emigrant. Cherry Lake is a good starting point and there are some utterly fantastic cross-country routes in Northwestern Yosemite, on which you are likely to see no one for days and have whole lakes to yourself.

  17. #17
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    The idea of being able to see your friends live rides is pretty cool.

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