Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada's in Early April?
March 16, 2010 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Can I go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada's in early April?

I'd like to go on a weekend backpacking trip the first week of April, ideally somewhere in the Sierra Nevada's. Is there any nice area that's relatively free of snow suitable for such a trip, ideally within a day's drive of the SF bay area? I don't mind it being fairly cold out, but I don't want to deal with snow drifts (no ice axe, snowshoes, etc.) It may be too early, but perhaps in the lower altitude areas like the Desolation Wilderness? If you have any insights or suggestions, they'd be greatly appreciated.
posted by fdhidalgo to Travel & Transportation around Pinos Genil, Spain (4 answers total)
It's been a pretty wet year. I think in April you will still be dealing with snow and/or lots of runoff.

FWIW, last year my wife and I took a trip to Sonora over Memorial Day, and tried to do a day hike from the Gianelli Trailhead to Powell Lake. We were unable to reach the trailhead proper due to lots of snow on the access road. We ended up parking a mile downhill from the "official" starting point and walked to where the trailhead should have been...except that it was still under at least 3+ feet of snow. We ended up going on a small hike, having lunch near Burst Rock, and hiking back to the car. Now, our trailhead was fairly high (~8500'), but still, this was seven weeks or so later than your proposed trip, and in what was a relatively dry year.

My 2 cents is that unless you specifically want a wet and snow-filled adventure, early April is too early for the Sierras.
posted by mosk at 11:33 AM on March 16, 2010

You're talking two weeks from now. There's going to be snow (lots of it) even at Desolation Wilderness, the lowest reaches of which are at 7,000 ft.

Try some of the lower stretches of the PCT on the Western slope, maybe around Downieville or up near Quincy?
posted by mudpuppie at 1:06 PM on March 16, 2010

I'd avoid the Sierra, but this is exactly what The Lost Coast is perfect for.
posted by JMOZ at 1:19 PM on March 16, 2010

Can I go backpacking in the Sierra Nevada's in early April... [in a] ... nice area that's relatively free of snow

Broadly, no. You might get lucky somewhere but I doubt it.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:45 PM on March 16, 2010

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