Backpacking in April

Old Mar 12th, 2014, 12:58 AM
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Backpacking in April


I am interested in doing a 3-7 day backpacking trip in the upper western states. I am an experienced hiker/backpacker but would like to avoid staggering amounts of snow. If anyone has any suggestions or advice on places to look or specific trails I would greatly appreciate their input!

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Old Mar 12th, 2014, 05:06 AM
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It can still be winter in April in those months, and snow is a possibility. Check out this picture taken in late April in Utah, a road between Parawan, UT and Bryce NP.

There will be winters when there is less snow, and parts of Utah will be warm. Oregon will have areas with rain rather than snow.

The trails in Zion NP, Arches NP, and Canyonlands NP as well as lots in Escalante, Capitol Reef, and many state parks in southern Utah will be fine and it might even be warm. We also have been to Dinosaur NP in April and it was fine.

Hiking conditions can be quite elevation dependent. We have never had totally ice/snow free trails in Bryce in April, but it has always been nice in Arches and Canyonlands.
emalloy is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2014, 06:22 AM
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Most of the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon should be open by April 15.
There has been much less snow than usual in the Cascades this winter.
Consider hiking on trails in the Coastal Range between Brookings and Newport. Parts of Oregon along and west of I-5 are going to reach 70 today.
The Pacific Crest Trail goes from near San Diego all the way to the Canadian border.
tomfuller is online now  
Old Mar 12th, 2014, 08:10 AM
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We are backpackers and live here in Oregon. I would not recommend this for April if you are wanting to avoid a lot of snow. While our overall snowpack is low for the year, we have had some significant storms recently that have dumped a ton of snow in the mountains. Can you wait a couple months for this trip? If so, it would be much more enjoyable, IME.

That said, if you can wait tip summer, head over to the Wallowas and Eagle Cap area. We have had some fantastic multi day backpacking trips over there.
mms is offline  
Old Mar 12th, 2014, 11:30 AM
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Do you want to do desert backpacking? Because then all of southern Utah is your playground!The Paria River is a must do trip. Not hard,just in the water for a week. Or the Grand Canyon?
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Old Mar 14th, 2014, 10:24 AM
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Ditto on Utah in April. That's prime time. Canyonlands, Grand Gulch. And yes, Paria Canyon is simply amazing. I did it in October, not sure what the situation is like there in April, but worth having a look into that.

Also, Grand Canyon as StantonHyde also suggests. I did a fabulous 6-day trip on the Escalante Route in the eastern part of Canyon. Not for beginners, but I'd do that again in an instant. April would be perfect. Let me know if you want more details.

In general skip the northern states and head south if you want to avoid snow travel and/or wet weather in April.
Nelson is online now  
Old Mar 14th, 2014, 09:18 PM
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Did not see a time frame.
Or any information of a vehicle. Are you driving or flying?
If driving 4-WD?

RVvagabond is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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My current plan is to leave from Alberta on the 22 of April and be back in Alberta on March 3. I am interested in going to Canyonlands National Park, specifically the needles district. I will be driving my car down there but likely use a shuttle service once there. Plan has changed a bit from the original as I did more research after seeing some of your posts I'm now going to Utah but a lot is booked up. I don't mind doing shorter hikes or simple one nighters where available. Just would like some advice on great hikes in the that area.
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 11:46 AM
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I don't remember the exact route we took, it was many years ago, but my wife and I did a loop in that area from the Squaw Flat campground.

I *think* we went Peekaboo Trail -> Lost Canyon Trail -> Squaw Canyon Trail -> sidetrip to Druid Arch -> Chessler Park and back to the starting point.

There are several options as you can see from a map. We were out for maybe four nights. It was a spectacular trip and in fact I've thought of repeating it this year.

One issue was finding reliable water. We did it in April and there was still enough around including some that we gathered from potholes in rock, left over from snowmelt or recent rains. But I was always carrying a gallon until the last day when we knew we didn't need it any more.

We had absolutely perfect weather, clear and temps in the 70's F during the day, pleasantly cool at night.

Contract the Park and / or online research should help regarding the water issue.

Good luck.
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 12:28 PM
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With Canyonlands--WATER. That is the big issue as Nelson wrote. The day hiking there,though, is awesome!!!! Really some of the most amazing stuff I have seen. Arches is cool--don't miss Delicate Arch.

Get a guidebook--there is a good one on hikes in Utah National Parks, that's the one I would suggest.
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Old Mar 15th, 2014, 06:06 PM
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Needles is an excellent choice for hiking
THE - THE trail is Salt Creek Canyon - many ancient Ruins and scenery. In April, water is not a problem on that trail - of course confirm with ranger during this drought. Limiting access is reservation of a camp site. do that now.

Here is a web site for hiking that area
The area is famous for its 'painted faces' I've been to all of them.
Also the Mona-Lisa is the All American Man (been there also)on the Salt Creek Canyon route.

> 5 Faces <

Druid Arch is also a 'journey"
Beef Basin requires 4-WD as does Elephant Hill area.

RVvagabond is offline  
Old Mar 15th, 2014, 11:05 PM
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If you can get a campsite at Squaw Flat, that is great! If you can't reserve, then try the first come, first serve at 8 or 9 am. (camp in Moab the night before, then get up and go to get a camp site)

The other place to try is Natural Bridges-you can day hike and maybe back pack a lot of Cedar Mesa (Kane Gulch Ranger Station) from there. They even have an overflow area. Or try to get a hotel room in Bluff.
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Old Mar 18th, 2014, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2014
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Since this is the Oregon forum I'll respond just to Oregon (and nearby Washington State).

April is way too early for most backpack trips in the Pacific Northwest EXCEPT for two outstanding exceptions:

1) The coastal wilderness areas of Olympic National Park: You can pack for days along the wild Pacific shoreline through the North Coast, or South Coast Wilderness Areas out of La Push in Olympic National Park any time of year, but winter is best imo (no people). Downside is you have to wait for a spot of decent weather to blow in (or hike in the rain).

2) Hells Canyon: On the boundary between Oregon and Idaho lies Hells Canyon. Usually snowed in around the rim, there is one place that melts out early, Freezeout Pass. Once over this gap, you drop into the canyon which is very nice in April with lots of wildlife and very few people. Downside is that getting there from anywhere is a long, long ride - first to the tiny town of Joseph, then another hour or so to the tinier town of Imnaha, and another hour up the road to the trailhead. All that is after you've driven hours to get to Joseph in the first place. Just getting to the trailhead would be an all day trip from Portland.
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