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    Luke P

    Hey there! I’m looking to do a backpacking trip in early to mid May and was wondering if people had suggestions. I was looking at parts of the golden trout wilderness but it seems like it might be closed due to recent fires. Are there any other places in lower elevation sierras that people have done? I’m looking for something moderately easy and rewarding as its my partners first trip. I’m curious to hear any suggestions!

    Jeff Hester

    Hey Luke! This reply might be a bit too late, but if you’re in SoCal, one of my favorite places to take first-timers backpacking in Mount San Jacinto State Park. Depending on their fitness level, you can take the Palm Springs Aerial Tram up and hike in from there, or the longer more strenuous route from Humber Park in Idyllwild.

    Lots of options and a very “Sierra-like” feel. Here’s our write-up of just such a trip:

    Mt San Jacinto via the Palm Springs Aerial Tram

    Another fun (but pricey) option is backpacking on Catalina Island. You take the ferry over to Avalon or Two Harbors and pack in. There is the Trans-Catalina Trail, or you could just do a section. The hitch here is that between the ferry and the campsite fees, it gets pricey, and you are required to camp in established campgrounds (in fact, you’ll reserve a specific campsite). My favorite camps on the island are at Little Harbor and Parsons Landing.

    We also have a guide to the Trans-Catalina Trail that will give you a sense of what it’s like:

    Trans-Catalina Trail

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