Backpack and Away Hike Library

Below is a listing of backpacks or away trips.  The brief descriptions are provided to assist you with trip ideas.  All of these trips are multi-days trips and may involve a drive of up to several hours.  Click on a title  to go to its description.

A few caveats: The descriptions are not intended to be comprehensive and should not be exclusively relied upon for navigation purposes.  The Tahoe Donner Hiking Club is not responsible for the completeness or accuracy of the descriptions.  Trail conditions can change over time, and navigational trail markers disappear.  The difficulty designation may not apply to your capabilities.  All backpack trips, except those specifically designated as “beginner” or “intermediate”, are strenuous or very strenuous.

Safety concerns: You are always responsible for your own safety–whether you hike with the Club or on your own.  It is recommended to hike with a buddy and to carry a map and GPS  (see Guidelines for Hikers); this is especially true for backpack trips.  Before leaving home for a multi-day trip, research the route thoroughly.  The hike leader has the ultimate authority to decide whether a hiker is fit for the trip.

Enjoy-happy trails!

Backpack & Away Trip Descriptions

Backpack & Away Trip Descriptions


AWAY TRIP: Castle Crags State Park and PCT (3 day hikes, car camping or motel)
DISTANCE: 7 mi, 17 mi, 5 mi depending on hike
ELEVATION CHANGE: Different for each hike
DIFFICULTY: Moderate/Strenuous
DESCRIPTION: Three day hikes through, in, and near Castle Crags State Park. Two hikes are on the PCT and one is to a viewpoint of the Castle Crags formation. Mt Shasta is nearby, and wildflowers should be in season. Contact trip leader for more information
MEETING PLACE/TIME: Trip headquarters will be in the Castle Crags campground
TRAILHEAD: Different for each hike
DOGS: Not permitted in Castle Crags State Park
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DISTANCE: 6  Miles to campsite
DESCRIPTION:  Hike starts in Bolinas, about 4 hrs from Truckee, meet and hike in ~6miles to the Wildcat Camp campground.  On day 2 and 3, hikers can choose from a variety of day hikes (many lengths) or just relax.  Beach walking is great and Alamere Falls is 1 mile down the beach. On day 4 (23rd), we will break camp and hike back out to the trailhead. Note: Campground has vault toilets and good running water.
TRAILHEAD:  TH is approximately 4 hours from NW Clubhouse.  Polomarin Trailhead in Bolinas.
LINKS: Map of Palomarin Trail     Maps of Trailhead
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BACKPACK: JMT (John Muir Trail) section accessed from South Lake TH, JMT south, exit on Taboose Pass Trail
DISTANCE: 46 miles
ELEVATION CHANGE: ~6700 ft up (mostly done in 2 days); ~11000 down (-6400 ft last day on Taboose Ck Trail)
DIFFICULTY: Strenuous to very strenuous
DESCRIPTION: Challenging. 2200 ft climb day 1 to Bishop Pass, 3200 ft descent to Le Conte Station, 4000 ft climb to Mather Pass, up/down on JMT to Taboose Pass, 6400 foot descent. Most of trek is above 11000 ft. Vegetation from pine-fir forest to subalpine.   Bear canister is required.
MEETING PLACE/TIME: Arrangements for starting time, duration and car pooling TBD.
TRAILHEAD: Trek begins at South Lake TH
LINKS: n/a
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BACKPACK: PCT Sonora Pass south to Kerrick Meadows Trail to Rock Island Pass to Crown Lake to Twin Lakes (Mono Village Resort)
DISTANCE: 54 Miles (6 Days, 5 Nights)
DESCRIPTION: A wonderful semi-loop with terrific views, good trails, nice creeks and lakes and a reasonable car shuttle.
MEETING PLACE/TIME:  Drop off at Northwoods clubhouse 6 am
TRAILHEAD: Hwy. 108 Sonora Pass – PCT
LINKS: n/a
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BACKPACK: Two-Day, One-Night “Beginner Gourmet” Backpack
DISTANCE: 10 miles total (5 miles each day)
ELEVATION CHANGE: 1400 ft. or 2000 ft., depending on destination chosen
DESCRIPTION: We will first travel to the Kirkwood Inn & Saloon for a hearty Sunday brunch. Then up to Carson Pass to begin our backpack. If we can get permits for the Mokelumne Wilderness, we will hike South to Fourth of July Lake. If we cannot get permits, we will head North to Round Lake. Either trip is about 5 miles one way. After camping overnight, we head back out to Carson Pass on Monday morning. Before heading back to Truckee, we will stop at Sorensen’s Resort for lunch.
MEETING PLACE/TIME:   Northwoods Clubhouse, 8:00 a.m.
TRAILHEAD: Kirkwood Inn & Saloon, 10:00 a.m.
NOTE:  Limited to 8 participants
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BACKPACK: Meeks Bay to Emerald Bay 3 day/ 2 night Intermediate Backpack
DISTANCE: 20-22 miles total
DIFFICULTY: Moderate, except Strenuous over Phipps Pass
DESCRIPTION: We will start at the Meeks Bay trailhead and hike to Stony Ridge Lake for the first night, a distance of 6.5 miles.  On the second day, we will go over Phipps Pass, then on to Dick’s Lake.  Then on Day 3, we hike out to Emerald Bay.   Since we are ending at a different location than where we started, this trip will require a car shuttle.
MEETING PLACE/TIME: Northwoods Clubhouse, 8:00 a.m.
TRAILHEAD: Meeks Bay Trailhead, 9:00 a.m.
SPECIAL NOTES:  1. Limited to 8 participants  2.  Permit fees are $10.00 per person
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BACKPACK: Mt Rose to Mogul 3 days/2 night Intermediate Backpack
DISTANCE: approximately 30 miles
ELEVATION CHANGE: Day 1 2 climbs of 1000 feet each, then mostly downhill
DIFFICULTY: Moderate to moderate +
DESCRIPTION:  Shuttle drop off, pick up to be arranged.
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BACKPACK: Moderate Three Sisters Wilderness 5 days/4 night + 2 travel days
DISTANCE: 50 mile loop
DESCRIPTION: This loop circles the North, Middle, and South Sister volcanoes providing a fantastic array of diverse terrain.  Take this amazing journey and wander through rugged volcanic landscapes complete with expansive pumice fields, pristine melt lakes, quiet old-growth forests, newly recovering burn areas, peaceful wildflower meadows, and glossy obsidian streams.  This is truly an Oregon adventure than cannot be missed.
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BACKPACK:  Beginner: Shealor Lake  3days/2 night
DISTANCE: Approximately 3 miles RT; Optional days hikes
ELEVATION CHANGE: 700 ft elevation gain.
DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate
DESCRIPTION:  Shealor Lake is a well-documented destination off highway 88 about 2 hours from the Northwoods Clubhouse.  From the trailhead, the hike is uphill at first and then down-hill to the lake. The high point is half-way to the lake  Water from lake should be filtered before drinking.  Campfires were not allowed. Of course, camp stoves are allowed.  Swimming in the lake is a must for kids and adults who still feel like kids. Fishing is said to be good.  There are several day hikes to other lakes or to great view sites. Lazing around the campsite is allowed.
SPECIAL NOTES: Note on sign-in if interested in an hike backpack orientation scheduled about a month in advance
LINKS: AllTrails   US Forest Service    Hiking Project 

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