In 2019 I plan to offer trips in four locations, including at least two new ones and maybe even three.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a definite.
In the High Sierra, I have a guaranteed commercial permit in Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park. I’ve applied for commercial access with another park in the High Sierra (there are only two, so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out this location) and should know by the New Year.
I also plan to offer trips in West Virginia and in Alaska, and I’m still working out the details. The West Virginia location will be reasonably accessible from New York City, Raleigh, and Columbus, and all points within this radius. The Alaska location is not accessible at all, which is why we’re going there.
Welcome to my backyard, the Front Range Mountains of Colorado!
Rocky Mountain National Park encompasses some of Colorado’s most impressive scenery. It has extensive alpine areas, glacier-carved lakes, and dozens of deep cirques on the east side of the Continental Divide that were carved out by ancient glaciers, some of which still exist in a much reduced form today. Elevations range from 8,000 to over 14,000 feet. Lodgepole pine covers most of the lower areas; spruce and sub-alpine fir extend into the upper ends of treeline. Cross-country routes are superb, though sometimes difficult due to downed timber and thin air.
The 3-day trips are normally held in Wild Basin, west of Allenspark and just south of Longs Peak.
The 5-day trips normally start outside of Grand Lake, on the west side of the park.
Carpooling among group members will be encouraged in order to minimize the travel burden.
Drive times to Wild Basin:
- From Boulder – 1 hour
- From Fort Collins – 1.5 hours
- From Denver – 1 hour 45 minutes
- From Colorado Springs – 2 hours 45 minutes
Drive times to Grand Lake:
- From Boulder – 2 hours 15 minutes
- From Fort Collins – 2.5 hours
- From Denver – 2 hours
- From Colorado Springs – 3 hours
If you are flying in from afar, fly into Denver International Airport (DEN).
The High Sierra is in my Top 3 for backpacking locations in the Lower 48. The range is huge and intricate; the scenery is superb; the off-trail travel is blissful; road access is very limited; and the crowded, high-use areas are easy to leave behind. The range encompasses two famous National Parks — Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon — as well as “American’s Most Beautiful Trail,” the 224-mile John Muir Trail.
The High Sierra trips will take place within Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park (SEKI), which is home to Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the Lower 48 and which is larger in size than its more famous northern cousin, Yosemite.
The 3-day trips and 5-day trips are normally run out Lodgepole, and sometimes Road’s End. The former offers fast access to the high country, and it’s near one of the park’s most extensive sequoia groves.
Carpooling among group members will be encouraged in order to minimize the travel burden. Drive times to Road’s End:
- From Fresno: 2 hours
- From Bay Area: 4.5 hours
- From Los Angeles: 5 hours
If you are coming in from afar, fly into SFO, SJC, LAX, or FAT.