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#194858 - 04/11/16 01:21 PM Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR
smoodle3915 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/11/16
Posts: 2
Hello All!!

Trying to find a first backpacking trip in May, but coming up with some barriers...such as campsites all being reserved out, or not sure of the snow levels in May. Would like to do a 3 night, 4 day hike somewhere on the west coast. Any good suggestions for beginners in May?

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#194859 - 04/11/16 01:32 PM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: smoodle3915]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1730
Loc: Napa, CA
Big Sur, Henry For and Ventana are all options.

Sierra is still pretty snowy, and we hope it stays that way...
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#194860 - 04/11/16 01:33 PM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: smoodle3915]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2859
Loc: Portland, OR
In Oregon the snow level at the beginning of May and the end of May are different enough that it is hard to generalize about the whole month.

I can tell you that the weather last winter was unusually wet. In the six months since October 1st the Portland area received about 4 inches more rain than it normally gets in a whole year (40" vs. 36"). However, the winter was somewhat warmer than average, so that below 4000' almost all that fell as rain, not snow. Above 6000' almost all of that fell as snow, so the upper elevations are buried and the mid-elevations can be rather bare. Except this pattern of snow distribution varies locally, so you really need good information about local conditions.

A great place to pick up such local information would be:

http://www.oregonhikers.org/forum/

Visit there about two weeks before you plan to go and you can probably pick up some knowledgeable advice.

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#194865 - 04/11/16 04:42 PM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: smoodle3915]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
It's still winter above 4,000-5,000 feet in the Pacific NW, and will probably not be significantly melted out until mid to late June (depending on amount of snow pack and temperatures between now and then). Even if you're experienced and have the gear for snow navigation, there is still often avalanche danger in the higher mountains through May. That's also true in the Rockies, although the altitudes are higher..

There are lower-altitude areas, such as some of the river valleys in the Olympic Mountains. There are also coastal trips in Olympic NP and California's Lost Coast, but I hesitate to recommend those to beginner hikers, because they are pretty rugged (muddy headlands to be scrambled over) and need careful attention to weather and tides.

You don't say where you live, so I don't know if any of these (in Oregon or nearby) would be worth the trip for you if you have to travel far. Winter and spring hikes Just a few notes on a couple of these: Eagle Creek trail in the Columbia River Gorge is closed this year. The Wenaha River Canyon burned last summer, so contact the Umatilla National Forest on its status. Like the coastal trails, Hells Canyon is really rugged and definitely not for beginners.

Edit, later: Enchanted Valley in Olympic National Park is a mess this year--the access road is washed out, adding 6 miles each way to the hike, and portions of the trail are washed out and in really bad shape. However, the Hoh River valley might still be a good choice. The Olympic NP website (nps.gov) has lots of detailed trail descriptions.

Note that 2015 was a very low snow year, so many hikes were accessible weeks or months earlier than normal. Please don't plan based on May 2015 trip reports!

More: If you fill out your profile, including in which state or region you live, you may get a lot more suggestions for May backpacking rrom our members, who live all over the US, some in Canada and as far away as Australia. Regardless of where you live, somebody here will be relatively close!


Edited by OregonMouse (04/11/16 07:25 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#194867 - 04/11/16 07:31 PM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: OregonMouse]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge


Edited by OregonMouse (04/11/16 07:31 PM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#194870 - 04/11/16 10:33 PM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: OregonMouse]
smoodle3915 Offline
newbie

Registered: 04/11/16
Posts: 2
Hey thanks for the help!!

I live in Napa, CA, but am up for driving a bit for this trip....I have some much needed time off and would like to do something I couldnt do on a weekend trip.

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#194876 - 04/12/16 12:38 AM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: smoodle3915]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6399
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
We have several active members who live in your general area--hopefully they'll chime in with early season hikes closer to you!


Edited by OregonMouse (04/12/16 12:38 AM)
_________________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

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#194882 - 04/12/16 11:44 AM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: smoodle3915]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 847
Loc: Torrance, CA
How about a trans-Catalina hike?

https://socalhiker.net/hiking-trans-catalina-trail/

37.2 miles, 9600 feet of elevation gain. It is a nice 4 day hike.

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#194894 - 04/12/16 07:25 PM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: OregonMouse]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 1730
Loc: Napa, CA
Huh
Originally Posted By OregonMouse
We have several active members who live in your general area--hopefully they'll chime in with early season hikes closer to you!


I am one of those members, and live in Napa
Henry Coe would be my first recommendation...

Sorry for the typo in my previous post.


Edited by balzaccom (04/12/16 07:25 PM)
_________________________
balzaccom

check out our website and blog: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/home

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#194952 - 04/17/16 07:26 PM Re: Searching for a trip in May in CA/UT/OR [Re: balzaccom]
toddfw2003 Offline
member

Registered: 01/08/16
Posts: 323
Loc: Texas
Grand Staircase Utah. The escalante river canyon is pretty awesome


Edited by toddfw2003 (04/17/16 07:29 PM)

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