backpacking in cent. and so. cal

11:33 p.m. on March 26, 2009 (EDT)
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hi there folks, i'm a fairly expericanced backpacker taking a group of first timers out, i'm loking for a good hike that won't kill everyone in the group

i'd love to find something around santa barbara, but that seems to be non existant

i'm also looking into the bridge to nowhere, the forks of the kern, and the hike to emerald and pear lake in the Seqouia national park

these are all places i've never been but seem do able for first timers too

i could always go back to takwit's(sp?) peek, or maybe a run to fisherman's camp

i'm just looking for places that would be new for me and fun for them

-thediplomat

2:13 a.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
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The bridge to nowhere was my first weekend trek and I think it is great for first timers. After rains the trail can be a little hard to follow but you can't get lost. The canyon is narrow and you will pick it up again soon. The best part is that it is not steep and won't discourage the newbies. Once you get past the bridge it is like you are in another world. You would never believe that you are so close to LA. If you are lucky you might get to see the Bighorn Sheep that live near the bridge. Fly fishing can be good for little natives. A permit is needed to stay overnight in the Bighorn Sheep Wilderness area that starts shortly before the bridge.

The trail to the Forks is not that far but may be a bit of a steep trudge coming back up for some first timers. It's not that bad but just something to think about depending on the people going with you. There is good fishing and great campsites upriver from the Forks. The Forks area requires a permit to stay overnight because you are in the Golden Trout Wilderness.

The trail from the Johnsondale Bridge going up the Kern would be very good for first timers. The trail follows the river about four miles before starting up the mountain away from the river. The trail along the river is not steep at all and there are plenty of nice campsites along the way. There is also some great scenery and views along the way. If you are fishing keep in mind that the area beyond the Johnsondale bridge is barbless artificial only. Since you are not in a wilderness area no permit is needed.

I hope this helps,

Gary C.

9:30 a.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
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Have you looked at the Los Padres National Forest website? Lots of trail descriptions there, from easy to strenuous. Willetts Hot Springs might be a good spring/fall trip. No permits needed there.

You could do a variety of good backpacks out of Wolverton in Sequoia, Pear Lake is one - it's a moderate hike. Another great place to take new hikers, though more of a drive from you, is Kaiser Wilderness or Dinkey Wilderness. Dinkey in particular is great for first timers - lots of lakes within a couple miles of each other, in a loop that's about nine miles around. Can do it from the Willow Creek trailhead (need higher clearance vehicles) or Courtright Reservoir (longer drive, longer route, but a great trip). There's a lot of scout troops and other groups that make this an annual outing.

12:17 p.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
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...i could always go back to takwit's(sp?) peek, ...

I think you mean Tahquitz Peak in the San Jacinto Mountains (pronounced "tah'keetz", as it was in the original local Native American tongue). The San Jac Wilderness (a state wilderness area, not a federal wilderness) has several good beginner backpacks, starting from Humber Park in Idyllwild. Be aware that this is a very popular area, and when you get up near Mt. San Jacinto itself, you are likely to run into dayhikers who come up the tram from Palm Springs and head up to the peak. If you avoid the area within a mile or so of the upper tram station, it isn't too bad, though. Tahquitz Rock (called Lily Rock on the USGS quads) and Suicide Rock are very popular rock climbing areas, the area where many top rock climbers of the 1950-70 era cut their teeth, then went on to put up the challenging big wall routes in Yosemite, the Himalaya (the Mustagh Tower among many others), Baffin Island, and elsewhere.

You might also consider Mt. San Gorgonio, either from the north or south (less popular) sides, in the San Bernardino Mountains.

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