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  1. #1

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    3 day and 2 night backpacking on central CA coast

    Iím an east coaster but plan to be in Santa Cruz CA in early November for work, and Iíd love to squeeze in a 3 day backpacking trip. I may rent a car, but Iíd prefer something close enough to Uber (if itís even an option).

    Iím looking for low traffic backpacking trails that have water sources for filtering and sites where I can hang. National forests or similar are ideal as they provide schedule and route flexibility. Iím looking to keep mileage low, so no more than maybe 25 miles total.

    Even with those criteria, there are so many choices! Being limited on time, what should I see? Any particular ideal trails?

    My movie east coast eyes are considering
    • Big Sur
    • Ventana Wilderness
    • Big Basin Redwoods (looks like a lot of this is closed?)


    I'm sure Iím missing some great stuff. Please offer your wisdom, O great HammockForums!

  2. #2
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    My go-to places are Henry W. Coe State Park and Ventana Wilderness from the Arroyo Seco Campground Trailhead.
    Henry Coe is so huge you can map out a route to your liking. It's not exactly the most scenic, but it's close and convenient.
    At Arroyo Seco you can head to Ventana Wilderness through the Maple Peak Trail.

    I hear Sykes Hot Springs from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is nice but I've generally been staying away from high traffic trails.

    A lot of Big Basin is still closed. I'm not sure if you're allowed to hang there too.

    Honestly, I'd like to hear other responses. I'm generally new to backpacking.

  3. #3
    New Member Pippi's Avatar
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    Not really on the coast, but the Hetch Hetchy Loop is really nice. I just did that one back in May. I've been wanting to do the Sykes Hot Springs trail. Might do that one this fall or winter.
    Hiking my own hike and hanging my own hang. This is where my happy is!
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  4. #4

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    Thanks for the ideas. I’ll look more closely at the Sykes Hot Springs trail in Big Sur and Coe SP.

    I’d love to hike the Hetch Hetchy Loop. Yosemite is on my bucket list, but I don’t think I’ll have time this trip. I’ve heard that area is now crowded year-round.

  5. #5
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    I just went on a quick overnight trip to Henry W. Coe State Park at the HQ. I was planning on checking out Sada's Spring but the employees said there's barely any water anywhere. So I went just 1 mile out to the Ridge View and carried 4L in. We've just got over the worst heat wave. It's really dry out there.
    I took a hike to Sierra View spring and there's a trickle of water going in the tub but it's full.
    PXL_20220911_231711411.jpg

    There's a lot of trees at Ridge View to hang. I set up in the back behind the pit toilet.
    PXL_20220911_213856797_exported_173066 (1).jpg

    Sunset:

  6. #6
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    I'm planning on trying out this trail this Fall/Winter. It's fairly close in the East Bay.
    https://peakofmylife.info/two-day-so...l-7cf9782a5d82

    I went to Castle Rock SP earlier in the year and it's not too bad. There's some nice rock formations. It's part of the closed Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail. It's fairly noisy with a gun range nearby.
    https://www.alltrails.com/explore/re...-day-1-01daa09

    I doubt you can hang at these places though. If you're willing to go to the ground these are some other options.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for sharing these. If I’m sleeping, I’m hanging. Hammocks are what made backpacking enjoyable again.

    Y’all have had some nasty heat amd drought in the west. Here’s hoping for some precipitation in the coming weeks.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rodfather View Post
    I just went on a quick overnight trip to Henry W. Coe State Park at the HQ. I was planning on checking out Sada's Spring but the employees said there's barely any water anywhere. So I went just 1 mile out to the Ridge View and carried 4L in. We've just got over the worst heat wave. It's really dry out there.
    Be careful with CA State Parks. Usually they don't allow hammocks hanging from trees or structures within the park boundaries. Sometimes these parks are managed by a concession company where the onsite staff do not care or just don't know, and will tell you it's okay to hang a hammock, but if a ranger rolls through they usually will tell you to take it down. Always check with the park ranger first.

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