Guides to local trails |

Guides to local trails

Sam Bauman

Enough of the Pacific. It’s now time to start exploring the thousands of excellent hiking trails of the Sierra Nevada. We all have old favorite — mine is Horsetail Falls from Twin Bridges — but there’s a whole world of rarely used and busy paths out there.

There are plenty of guides to the Sierra Nevada trails and over time I’ve found some better than others. Here’s some of my favorites:

— “Alpine Trailblazer,” by Jerry and Janine Sprout (Diamond Valley Co., 188 pages, $14.95).

The Sprouts are locals who have done their homework on Alpine County, the focus of their book. But they look wider, into Yosemite, Tahoe and they offer detailed directions to 71 trailheads around Hope Valley and Markleeville. Well illustrated with black and white photos and drawings, the book includes such handy features as detailed trailhead descriptions that even give a handy way to decide how far you can go considering your condition and interests. Breakdowns include those covering the best for day hikers, best for wildflowers, best for fishermen etc.

The Hope Valley gets detailed treatment as does the area around Kirkwood Ski Resort (although the writers fail to mention the highest pass used by the 49ers up above Thimble Mountain at Kirkwood — 9,200 difficult feet high).

It’s all there, from cross county skiing to horseback riding, from kayaking to swimming spots. An excellent if limited in geographic size.

— “Outdoor Getaway Guide, (Northern California)” by Tom Stienstra, Foghorn Press, 436 pages plus map, $18.95.

This is by the outdoor writer for the San Francisco Chronicle, often outdoor writer of the year. He knows his country and he knows his outdoors and he communicates his love of them with ease.

The book is divided into easy chapters such as hiking, camping, backpacking, touring, snow getaways, fishing and bicycling.

In the hiking chapter he lists the top 25 hikes, the top 10 on Point Reyes, hikes with a dog and one-way hikes using public transportation, among others.

For wildlife watching, the chapter items include “6 opportunities to See Bald Eagles,” and the top three places to whale watch. There are dozens of hiking and camping locations in the Tahoe area, and if enjoying the rolling waves of the Pacific is your thing, Stienstra will lead you to places of delight.

“The Tahoe Sierra, a Natural History Guide to 106 Hikes in the Northern Sierra,” by Jeffrey P. Schaffer (Wilderness Press, 310 pages plus update pages, $18.95).

Another winner. Plenty of maps, tables and clear, concise writing on what you can expect on the trails. Lots of illustrations of flowers and trail, views and people. The update section does just what the name suggests and further explains some items that may need explanation.

“California’s Wilderness Areas, the Complete Guide, Mountains and Coastal Regions” by George Wuerthner (Westcliffe Publishers, 328 pages, with color photos, $27.95)

The only guide I’ve come across with full color illustrations, it offers spectacular photography as well as detailed advice to the wilderness areas. Looking at the section of the Desolation Wilderness, one is impressed by all the details. At the same time Wuerthner can get right to the point. In two tight paragraphs he gives the reader all that is needed for the hike to the top of Mount Tallac, a jaunt of 9.2 miles round trip with 3,736 feet of elevation.

Two handy guides for family fun are “Lake Tahoe, an Outdoor Family Guide,” by Lisa Gollin Evans (The Mountaineers Books, 240 pages, $16.95) and “A Family Guide to Lake Tahoe,” also by Lisa Gollin Evans (The Mountaineers Books, 224 pages, $12.95).

It’s a toss-up between the two. Both offer maps and photos and cover much of the same ground. And obvously the writing is going to be pretty similar. Unless you’re a real tenderfoot you’d probably be better off with one of the more advanced books.

— Three days of big-kid toys and Bavarian festivities when BMW Motorcycles celebrates its 80th anniversary in Squaw Valley Friday through Sunday.

Officially-titled the “BMW Motorrad 80th Anniversary Rally”, the celebration of 80 years of motorcycling excellence will include a Bavarian Village, all-day and evening entertainment, and a Bavarian beer garden complete with dancers, music and vintage motorcycle displays. Food, beverage and motorcycle-related vendors, as well as after-market displays, and a bike wash for charity will round out the venue.

Additional events include the Mobile Tradition and Vintage Motorcycle Exhibition, motorcycle stunt rider Jean-Pierre Goy, and GPS instruction. On stage entertainment showcases the World’s Most Dangerous Bavarian Band, Those Darn Accordions and the Garage Band.

Tickets are $50 for the weekend and include all activities as well as dinner Saturday night. Attendees will also receive a goodie-bag and a cable car ride up to High Camp.

— The 21st Annual Northstar 5K/10K Fun Run is Saturday. Runners will take their mark at 9 a.m. in Northstar’s Village and follow a scenic course of paved roads and dirt trails before crossing the finish line near the Village.E

The cost to participate in the Fun Run is $15. Registration forms are available online at or by calling (530) 562-2288. Race fees include a souvenir T-shirt, refreshments and entertainment after the race. Registration and check-in will take place in the Village from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Saturday. All pre-registered participants must check in.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.E