I love to plan trips. I would even do it for other people if I could. Thankfully, Jon doesn’t mind that I am planning our vacations for the next 2+ years.
Las Vegas – we’re in Vegas at least once a year, and there’s tons to do off the strip!
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservancy, about 35 minutes from Las Vegas
- Kraft Mountain Loop, 4 miles, Hard
- Turtlehead Peak Trail, 4.6 miles, Hard
- White Rock Loop, 6.3 miles, Moderate. Desert and green trees
- Las Vegas Overlook, 6.3 miles, popular
- Valley of Fire, about 90 minutes from Vegas
- Atlatl Rock
- Fire Canyon
- 6.7 mile Charlie’s Loop
- 7.9 mile Prospect Trail
- Mount Charleston; 12,000′ elevation
- Mary Jane Falls; shorter, waterfalls and caves
- Big Falls, 100′ waterfall
- Lovell Canyon Trail near Rainbow Mountain. About 5.5 miles, easy to moderate
- Resource: http://localemagazine.com/las-vegas-hikes/
Half Dome, Yosemite
- Lotto during the month of March; results mid-April. $4.50 fee for application
- Up to 6 people; 7 dates. $8 fee per person if successful
- Cables typically up until mid-October
- Alt: apply for wilderness permit to backpack; add Half Dome to itinerary
Submit permits 168 days in advance.
- Alt: The daily lotteries have an application period two days prior to the hiking date with a notification late that night. (So, to hike on Saturday, you would apply on Thursday and receive an email notification of results late on Thursday night. Results will also be available online, or by phone the next morning.) The application period is from midnight to 1 pm Pacific time. To apply for a permit, visit Recreation.gov or call 877/444-6777 (call center is open from 7 am to 9 pm Pacific time; online requests can be made any time during a lottery period).
Tahoe Rim Trail – dogs allowed
- 165 mile loop
- Recommended to allow two weeks. Reasonable daily distances to do in 12 days
- Start at Kingsbury Grade (just west of South Lake Tahoe) and hike clockwise to reach Tahoe City midway through your trek. This is perfect timing for resupply
- Mid-July to mid-September are best. Can do as early as late June. Mosquitoes are bad into early July.
Rae Lakes Loop, Sequoia/Kings Canyon N.P.
- 38 to 41.5 miles. Typically takes 4-5 days (5 if you take a zero)
- Mid/Late July or later. Earlier may mean difficulties crossing streams
- Reservations required; submit via email starting March 1.
- Counter-Clockwise is more strenuous than clockwise
- Check out: Gardiner Basin is right there, just west of 60 Lakes Basin and would make a very nice 1-2 day addition to the loop or, perhaps even better, a return leg with an exit down Charlotte Creek which pops you out on the Bubbs Creek Trail 6 or so miles from TH. It’s a beautiful area and far less crowded(or was when I was there), one of those oft-overlooked little gems.
High Sierra Trail
- Detailed route description: https://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/high-sierra-trail.htm
- 72 miles, includes Mt. Whitney summit
- 6-10 days; point to point trail
- Go: July – September
- Includes good info about transportation: https://socalhiker.net/overview-of-the-high-sierra-trail/
Wonderland Trail, Mt. Rainier N.P., WA
- 95 miles
- Mid-July to late September
- Permits are difficult to secure. https://www.nps.gov/mora/planyourvisit/wilderness-permit.htm
- Apply between March 15 – 31 and begin processing randomly on April 1. It takes up to 6 weeks to get a response.
- 30% of permits are available on first come, first served basis. Available up to one day before your trip starts (or same day).
Backbone Trail, Santa Monica – dogs allowed on sections
- 68 miles
- Camping is limited; day hiking recommended
Skyline to the Sea Trail, Santa Cruz
- 25 miles, point to point
Good inspiration list: http://www.7×7.com/the-13-best-places-to-backpack-in-northern-california-1834660586.html