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Bear Paw Camp questions.

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Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
posts: 6,906
reviews: 299
Bear Paw Camp questions.

I’m doing some advance planning for a return trip to Sequoia (still probably 2 or 3 years out as we have some other trips already set). My wife and I would like to hike into the Bear Paw camp during this visit. I was thinking we would start with a couple nights at Wuksachi then make the hike and then have another night at Wuksachi after we return from Bear Paw. So a couple of questions:

What is the recommendation for the number of nights at Bear Paw? I was thinking a 3-night stay at Bear Paw might be nice and that would give us two full days to explore the area.

What time of year is best? I’ve looked at the website and there are pros and cons throughout the season. At present I’m leaning toward a late June trip.

We did the hike into Sperry Chalet in Glacier National Park a couple years ago and that was a wonderful experience. It looks like Bear Paw will be another outstanding adventure.

6 replies to this topic
Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
posts: 4,790
reviews: 48
1. Re: Bear Paw Camp questions.

Hick, sorry you have gotten no answers. I have always thought a stay at Bear Paw would be a wonderful experience. 3 nights would be my choice. June in the park is always beautiful. Just remember depending on the winter there may still be quite a bit of snow. Last 2 years have been quite dry, but 3 years ago the snow fall was so heavy June still had snow at lowest elevations.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
posts: 9,978
reviews: 87
2. Re: Bear Paw Camp questions.

Yes, I'm sorry to be so tardy in answering. I just am not sure what to say about June and am hoping WuksachiStaff checks in.

June can still be pretty cold and snowy in the high country, which is where Bear Paw is. Still, my intuition is that the trail will be completely open (it is partly south facing and faces into a big granite gorge and it will not be under snow even at that elevation in June, is my best guess).

And, similarly, I think the campground will be fine too (although in one early June trip at a similar or even lower elevation - Dorst - we had snow drifts aplenty next to us and the kids said it was like sleeping in a refrigerator- the tent cabins that I understand are there will provide insulation enough, I'd think - but later June would be better than earlier June, from a weather perspective. It's so hard to know three years out!

This year, winter was short and dry, and June would have already brought Spring to Bearpaw. But that's just not true every year. So I guess I'd bet on late June as a good time, but early June might still be chilly up there (and perhaps a bit snowy - there's lots of white shiny granite up there, so snow will be melting off quickly). I haven't been all the way up to Bear Paw (just to the gap) and it's a beautiful area - but hopefully you'll get a trail guide and make sure the last section doesn't have many/any creek crossings (I don't think there are) at that time of year.

August, up there, will be like early summer elsewhere, but then you run the risk of it actually being warm or hot (the high Rockies right now are in the mid-90's and I don't know what it is at Lodgepole - I'll try and check).

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
posts: 9,978
reviews: 87
3. Re: Bear Paw Camp questions.

Okay, I checked. It's going up to 97 at 5250 feet of elevation (so may 92 at 6250 and 87 at 7250). THere are so many variables (whether you're in a bowl or canyon, etc) but it's late June and it's pretty hot up there - this year.

So, see my confusion? Part of me wants to advise you to go early June or late May to avoid what could be really hot hiking (it will be so much more pleasant if it's not hot). This is two years in a row that it's been warmer up there - and I'm thinking it may be (sadly) a longterm trend or even get worse. If it gets worse (less snow, etc.) that's really sad - WuksachiStaff will know way more about when the snow melted off this year, but I think it was in mid-April at 6800 feet. And now, high temps at high altitude in late June...

Hope that's helpful in some way in your planning.

Sequoia National...
posts: 463
4. Re: Bear Paw Camp questions.

Opening and closing dates for Bearpaw are tentative each year, as the snow pack (or lack thereof) is ultimately what decides when we can open the property. We usually shoot for a target opening of June 15th each year though.

We are currently in the middle of a huge heat wave and are experiencing some above normal temperatures for this time of year, but as to when to make the trip it is purely a matter of personal preference. Despite what the web site says about "heavy" trail usage, with only 6 tent cabins in all, Bearpaw is never what you would call a busy place. My personal favorite time of year in the park is late summer to early fall, but a lot of folks prefer the late spring/early summer, so it's all up to you.

I would also recommend doing some research on the day hikes available from Bearpaw in order to help decide how long to spend there, but 3 nights sounds good.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
posts: 6,906
reviews: 299
5. Re: Bear Paw Camp questions.

Thanks for all the replies (I've been in Ireland for the past week or so and was unable to check in; sorry for the delayed response. I'll digest the data a bit. I know that the weather is unpredictable; I was just looking a general trends and ideas. We are not set on a specific time of year yet; I reckon we are looking for that ideal time that follows the snow melt and preceeds the heat of summer (yep, a roll of the dice).

I did find some info on day hikes from Bear Paw. I forget the names, but one went to a lake and sounded like a great hike and the other worked down to a Sequoia grove near a horse stable, but that hike was not highy recommended. I still have more research to do.

Ohio, USA
Destination Expert
for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
posts: 6,906
reviews: 299
6. Re: Bear Paw Camp questions.

Here's the link to the website where I found some info on Bear Paw and day hikes in that area:

www.redwoodhikes.com/SequoiaNP/Bearpaw.html

The both hikes sound interesting, particularly the one to Hamilton Lake. Any other suggestions for day hikes from Bear Paw?

I guess I'll just have to keep track of the weather trends determine the time of year. hiking in 90 degree temps would not be fun. We are already booked for Yellowstone and Grand Teton for next summer and we're thinking Alaska for 2015, so Bear Paw looks like an option for 2016.

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