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Need ideas for quick day trips and camping in NorCal

Discussion in 'California' started by Tun-D, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Aug 30, 2019 at 3:44 PM
    #1
    Tun-D

    Tun-D [OP] New Member

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    Don
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    Hey Everyone. I could use some tips from some of the off-road/camping/overlanding folks in NorCal. I'd like to find some trails within a few hours of Sacramento to get out of town, beat the heat, and get the truck on some dirt. I spend a lot of time in the Tahoe area, but haven't done a lot of off-roading. I only have the front lifted 1.9" and 33" tires so I'm not looking for anything burly, I just want to get out in the mountains, enjoy the scenery, and maybe set up a tent on the side of the road somewhere for a night. The kids and I often run up to Sly Park for a quick camping getaway but it was so packed and there was so much trash everywhere last time, so I'm really looking to get away from the campgrounds.

    Also, while I'm asking - what do you do about bears and food when overlanding? I've backpacked with a bear canister and used the bear bins at campgrounds, but I've always been told not to store food in your vehicle.

    Thanks!
     
    Rica25, KERNEL_DALE and silverhack like this.
  2. Aug 30, 2019 at 4:15 PM
    #2
    Casper421

    Casper421 Ridgeline on 35’s!

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    I spend a lot of time at all the small lakes north of 80. Anywhere from Prosser to Bowman and White Rock. No established campgrounds for me. Any flat spot could be camp. Most trails out to these lakes are fun and have some spots that wake you up but are relatively tame.

    These have some good info on trails:
    Guide to California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails https://www.amazon.com/dp/1934838071/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_40AADbB22B91S

    California Desert Byways: 68 of California's Best Backcountry Drives https://www.amazon.com/dp/0899974139/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_w1AADb8DQSNFW

    As for food, just bag it up and tie it to a rope over a branch. Raise it high and far enough away from the trunk so the bear can’t get it. I haven’t encountered a bear in the 15 years I’ve been camping around here, that I’m aware of. A dog and my .45 help put me at ease.
     
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  3. Aug 30, 2019 at 4:57 PM
    #3
    Tun-D

    Tun-D [OP] New Member

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    Thanks. Just ordered the book. I've backpacked up past Carr lake and I see that Bowman is past it a ways - that'd be a great area to explore.
     
    Rica25 likes this.
  4. Sep 3, 2019 at 8:14 AM
    #4
    osidepunker

    osidepunker OsidePunker

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  5. Sep 3, 2019 at 8:38 AM
    #5
    Tun-D

    Tun-D [OP] New Member

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    I took Casper421's advice and went exploring up near Bowman lake on Sunday. I ended up at sawmill lake and found a great spot to camp. I got to go through a few fun rocky sections, but nothing too crazy. I'm looking forward to checking out more areas.
    upload_2019-9-3_8-37-22.jpg

    upload_2019-9-3_8-37-57.jpg
     
  6. Sep 3, 2019 at 8:52 AM
    #6
    Casper421

    Casper421 Ridgeline on 35’s!

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    Nice, sawmill is awesome! Did you go in through Bowman road off of 20?
     
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  7. Sep 3, 2019 at 8:58 AM
    #7
    Tun-D

    Tun-D [OP] New Member

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    Yep. I went past Spalding and then around Bowman. I thought about continuing on to get even further out but I couldn't pass up the camp site. Thanks for the recommendation! I'm definitely going back to branch out some more. I had a really funny moment as I was starting up the road to Sawmill. I paused for a moment as I saw some decent size rocks and ruts. Then I realized there were plenty of options to make it no problem and went on. Got past that section and up the lake and was feeling pretty cool for taking my truck up there, then I passed a stock Subaru Outback camping there and got put in my place really quickly. The truck is way more capable than I am.
     
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  8. Sep 3, 2019 at 9:41 AM
    #8
    NoRcptn

    NoRcptn Better than mediocre poster

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    Emigrant gap area is awesome where you were. If you want a 70's Tahoe feel, anything in Lakes Basin area i.e., Gold Lake , Sardine, Packer is fun with a lot of 4 WD trails.
    Hwy50 Side, all the stuff towards Markleeville, Blue Lakes area is really beautiful.

    This is the time to go, after Labor Day, crowds are cut in half.
     
    deke1691 and Tun-D [OP] like this.
  9. Sep 3, 2019 at 10:25 AM
    #9
    joonbug

    joonbug bacon

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    That Guide to CA backroads is a great book. We all have one. But doesn't show too many "easy" trails around Tahoe. If you got some sliders and skids, it would open you up to alot more "moderate" trails.
     
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  10. Sep 3, 2019 at 11:29 AM
    #10
    Tun-D

    Tun-D [OP] New Member

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    Guess I'll start saving $$$.
     
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  11. May 18, 2020 at 8:58 AM
    #11
    Damie Street

    Damie Street Just a guy with a dog and a truck

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    Any other camp site/exploring recommendations? I want to travel around for a week or so and camp.
     
    Rica25 likes this.
  12. May 18, 2020 at 9:22 AM
    #12
    Tun-D

    Tun-D [OP] New Member

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    I went up the Mormon immigrant trail road between hwy 50 and 88 a few weeks ago to do some target shooting. There are tons of forest roads to go exploring on in this area and several dispersed campsites on each road. I was really disappointed to see all the trash left behind in some of these areas, but it’s still fun to explore. I don’t know if the entire road is open yet as it closes in the winter. I came from the pollock pines side and only went about 10 miles in before heading into the forrest.
     
  13. May 19, 2020 at 8:37 PM
    #13
    GiantsFanDan

    GiantsFanDan New Member

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    Few good places off of Hwy4. Not all open yet (snow), but some are open now like Sourgrass
     
    Damie Street and Rica25 like this.

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