PROVIDING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
PROVIDING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
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The Bus Trip Program

Since 1982 the San Diego Chapter has been offering bus trips to a variety of National and State Parks within an eight hour drive of San Diego.

Part of the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country, Sierra Club provides environmentally friendly outdoor adventures.

What makes these bus trips special is that they are organized by a fantastic team of volunteer leaders who do not get paid for their efforts. They do it out of an appreciation for these special places, and a passion for sharing them with you. Bus Trips include transportation by motorcoach unless otherwise specified, camping permits, backcountry backpacking permits, route planning and the expertise of our Chapter Outings Leaders. We look forward to having you join us on a bus trip to explore, enjoy and protect the planet.

 

BUS TRIP OVERVIEW

Backpacking

Backpacking Trips

All of our backpacking trips are led by Sierra Club Chapter Outing Leaders. On each bus trip we offer a minimum of 4 backpack outing trips. We do our best to offer a variety of backpack trips from easy to difficult. We utilized a rating system to provide you with guidance on selecting a backpack that is in alignment with your fitness level and backpacking experience. The backpack trips are usually five days and four nights in duration. On some trips, you will backpack in to a remote location and set up camp and go on day hikes each day. On other trips you will backpack and travel from campsite to campsite each day. As we will be in the wilderness, restroom facilities, showers, tap water, restaurants and stores will not be available, therefore, you will need to bring all your food, cooking supplies, gear and water filtration/treatment products with you. If you have never backpacked before, we highly recommend taking the Wilderness Basics Course

Bus Camping & Day Hikes

Camping Bus Trips

Camping Bus Trips are also usually five day and four night trips. On these trips the bus will drop us off at a campsite usually in a National or State Park and we will set up a base camp. We offer a number of day hikes each day led by Sierra Club Chapter Outings Leaders that range from easy to hard or you may have the option of going on a self-guided hike. Depending on the location, the bus will take us to our trail head, we will use locally provided transportation or depart from our campground.

Pre-Trip Planning Meeting

Pre-Trip Planning Meeting

A few weeks before the bus trip, we will hold a pre-trip meeting where you will get to meet your leaders and the other participants on the trip. We will review general information about the trip, and you will have the opportunity to have your questions answered. In addition, the leaders will elaborate on the details of your outing, review plans, maps and required gear. You will have the opportunity to connect with other participants on the trip and discuss gear sharing. We will review the departure location information and what to expect on the bus.

Transportation

Transportation

Transportation is provided by San Diego's most trusted charter service. Our trips take us to some areas that can be quite challenging for a motorcoach to navigate. We developed a relationship with a team of dependable professional drivers to meet our unique needs.  Our bus of choice is a 47 seat passenger luxury MCI motorcoach with the following features:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Reclining Seats
  • Restroom-equipped
  • Privacy Shades
  • Large Overhead Compartments
  • Luggage Bays
What to Expect on the Bus

What to Expect on the Bus

The great part about not driving yourself is you don't have to worry about traffic and can relax and enjoy the view, eat, sleep, read a book, watch a movie on your tablet or smartphone, or talk to your neighbor. Seat selection on the bus is based on a priority system of when you signed up for the trip and your presence at the time of seating. On the ride up to our destination, we will do introductions and get to know one another. Depending on the length of our bus ride, we have a rest stop at the half-way junction to stretch our legs and grab a bite to eat. On our return trip home, every outing group is encouraged to share their trip's experience.

Post Trip Gathering

Post Trip Gathering

A few weeks after the trip, we all get back together for a post trip gathering. We set up a slide show for everyone to share their favorite pictures and videos and recount stories about their experience. Depending on the venue, participants are encouraged to bring a potluck meal to share and friends and family are welcome to join in on the post trip gathering.

Sedona Bus Trip

OCTOber 9 -13, 2019


Come enjoy Sedona in the Fall! Join us as we explore this beautiful red rock country in Arizona. Sedona is home to unique rock formations, land bridges, and great trails. We'll enjoy three days of hiking, campfires, starry nights, and good company. This is a base camp trip, and we will stay four nights at the Cave Springs Campground. Four leaders, and their assistants, will lead hikes of varying difficulty. You will be able to choose which hike you would like to do each day. Hike details are described below. We look forward to having you join us!

Here is a unique camping trip in Sedona, Arizona! We will ride a chartered, air-conditioned bus to the Cave Creek Campground (a developed campground with water, fire pits, tables and vault toilets). This tent-camping trip is for adults only who are in good health. Participants must provide their own meals and camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, etc.). Upon registration, you will receive an e-mail confirmation and information about an optional pre-trip meeting to meet your leaders and ask questions (highly recommended for first-timers). A hand-out will also be available with suggestions about what to pack, weather, safety tips, etc.

Visit our Trip Rating System to determine which Day Hike is right for you.

Type: Bus Camping Trip – Cave Springs Campground
Trip Rating: Easy, Moderate, Hard & Strenuous Day Hikes
Leaders: Pauline Jimenez, Mike Fry, Eric March, Monica Elrod; Assistant Leaders: Karen Nelson, Villetta Reeves, Kristi Anderson, Peggy Goddard

Each day, your leaders will offer some fascinating hiking adventures of varying difficulty levels. Since these will be on a space-available basis, sign-ups will be announced at the campground on the evening before the hike.

DAY HIKES

Leader: Pauline Jimenez 
Assistant Leader: Karen Nelson

WEST FORK OAK CREEK – (M6A) 6 miles round trip to end of marked trail, 150’ gain/loss
We will hike an out-and-back route along the first three miles of Oak Creek, which is not surprisingly one of the most popular trails in the Coconino National Forest. You will look way, way up at towering red cliffs framed by green trees, and along the rippling creek you will see red autumn leaves floating in clear reflecting pools. There will be several stream crossings (on strategically placed stepping stones), so you will want to bring trekking poles. Join us in a photographer’s paradise!

COURTHOUSE BUTTE LOOP – (E4A) 4.2-mile loop, 250’ gain/loss
Wow! The views keep changing on this loop hike! We will see expansive vistas of the famous Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock, follow some cairns, hike a dry wash, and cross some easy expanses of interestingly bare rock. The route is mostly unshaded, but we will travel at a leisurely pace. You will want to bring a hat, extra water and electrolytes.

LONG CANYON TRAIL(M6A) 5.8 miles, 500’ gain/loss
We will hike in a (usually) dry streambed that supports water-loving vegetation such as the shaggy
Arizona cypress with its gumball-size seeds. You will see the famous Steamboat Rock, Wilson
Mountain, Maroon Mountain, and a number of unnamed cliffs, spires, windows and arches. Our
halfway point is a red sandstone cliff, where we will hope to find a few small Indian ruins and some
primitive rock pictographs. Out of respect, we will not touch or photograph them.

Leader: Mike Fry 
Assistant Leader: Villetta Reeves

WEST FORK OF OAK CREEK CANYON – (M7A) 7 miles, 150’ gain/loss
We will hike an out-and-back route along the first three and a half miles of Oak Creek, which is not surprisingly one of the most popular trails in the Coconino National Forest. You will look way, way up at towering red cliffs framed by green trees, and along the rippling creek you will see red autumn leaves floating in clear reflecting pools. There will be several stream crossings (on strategically placed stepping stones), so you will want to bring trekking poles. Join us in a photographer’s paradise!

FAY CANYON – (E3A) 2.6 miles, 350’ gain/loss
This small, hidden canyon features the “Fay Canyon Arch,” one of the nicest natural arches/bridges that Sedona has to offer. As you enter the canyon, keep watching the rock wall on the north (right) side of the trail to spot the arch at just under a half mile up the trail. From a distance, it totally blends in with the canyon walls and can be easy to miss. You can make the 260-foot trek up the rocks and scrubs, and stand under the HUGE Fay Canyon Arch. You will see that there is only a 12-foot separation between the arch and the rock wall itself. The arch spans over 90 feet across and stands 15 feet above the ground. As you resume hiking the canyon through a diverse community of desert plants, you will cast a tiny shadow among its towering red sandstone walls. The turn-around point for this hike is at the canyon’s dead-end, which is a red Supai sandstone cliff.

DOE MOUNTAIN – (M2A)  1.6 mile loop, 420’ gain/loss
This is a popular trail that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. This tail includes lots of switchbacks (you definitely feel the climb!) and some rock scrambling, but you are rewarded with a “must see” view.

 

Leader: Eric March
Assistant Leader: Kristi Anderson

BEAR MOUNTAIN – (H5D) 4.8 miles,  2100’ gain/loss
One of Sedona's favorite trail routes for adventurers, Bear Mountain is a strenuous, sunny in-out hike with excellent red rock vistas. There will be plenty of photo opportunities with fantastic views of Doe Mountain (and beyond). The cumulative ascent of some 2100 feet makes Bear Mountain a hard hike. Note: The trail is rocky, with exposed and extreme drop-offs in some parts. Stamina and a stout heart will be rewarded with (dare I say it...) a peak experience!


BRINS MESA/SOLDIER PASS LOOP – (M5C) 5 miles, 1000' gain/loss
Hike to the top of a beautiful mesa, then down past several Sedona landmarks with red rock views all around. We'll start out with a view of Cibola's mitten, then a fairly steep climb up to Brins Mesa with gorgeous views in every direction! We'll visit the Seven Sacred Pools which contain water most of the year, and then Devils Kitchen, a very large sink hole, before ending our hike back at the trailhead. Some parts of the trail are rocky and steep, yet well worth the effort!


WEST FORK OAK CREEK CANYON – (M7A) 7.2 miles (out and back route) 750’ gain/loss
We will hike an out-and-back route along the first three and a half miles of Oak Creek, which is not surprisingly one of the most popular trails in the Coconino National Forest. You will look way, way up at towering red cliffs framed by green trees, and along the rippling creek you will see red autumn leaves floating in clear reflecting pools. There will be several stream crossings (on strategically placed stepping stones), so you will want to bring trekking poles. Join us in a photographer’s paradise!

 

Leader: Monica Elrod
Assistant Leader: Peggy Goddard

BOYNTON CANYON (M7B) 6.4 miles, 850' gain/loss
Many Sedona visitors come to check out the vortexes, centers of natural electromagnetic earth energy, so this hike is for anyone interested in a vortex experience. Our hike takes us past two tall vortex rock formations. We can stay awhile and soak up the energy! We'll travel through a narrow rocky trail and head past some ruins high up on the cliffs, then head into the woods. We are in Sedona at the right time to see some fall colors! This out and back trail ends in a box canyon at the base of Secret Mountain.

BRINS MESA / SOLDIER PASS LOOP (M5C) 4.8 miles, 1000' gain/loss
Hike to the top of a beautiful mesa, then down past several Sedona landmarks with red rock views all around. We'll start out with a view of Cibola's mitten, then a fairly steep climb up to Brins Mesa with gorgeous views in every direction! We'll visit the Seven Sacred Pools which contain water most of the year, and then Devils Kitchen, a very large sink hole, before ending our hike back at the trailhead. Some parts of the trail are rocky and steep, yet well worth the effort!

MESCAL/LONG CANYON LOOP (M6A) 5.8 miles, 500’ gain/lossThis hike has a combination of big scenic panoramas and close up views of red rock formations.The hike begins along the base of Mescal Mountain connecting up with Long Canyon to loop back to the trailhead. As we walk along Mescal Mountain we’ll see a large cave up in the cliffs that was a habitat of earlier inhabitants. Some sections of trail are narrow with steep drop offs. Past Deadman's Trail we'll walk toward the gorgeous vistas of Doe Mountain, Boynton Canyon’s Kachina Woman, Bear Mountain, Courthouse Butte and Cockscomb.

 

Space: Limited to 47 participants (including leaders and assistants)

Cost: $235

Registration Opens: Friday, August 30th at 9am

Pre-trip Meeting: September 24, 2019 at 6:00 pm at the North University Community Library.

Departure: October 9, 2019 at 8:30 am

Return: October 13, 2019 at approximately 8:00 pm

For more information: Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. the trip coordinator.

 

Big Sur Bus Trip

September 18-22, 2019 

Join San Diego Sierra Club experienced leaders as they take you to explore the majestic area of Big Sur. Discover not only the coastline and beach areas, but the beautiful waterfalls, hike along fascinating trails overlooking at the rugged Pacific Ocean, and traverse the inland wilderness areas. You will not be disappointed.

We will travel in a chartered, air-conditioned bus up to Big Sur, spending four nights at Plaskett Creek Campground. We’ll enjoy hiking, campfires, starry nights, and good company. We offer both base camp and backpack trips of varying difficulty for participants. Base camp participants will be able to choose which hike they would like to do each day.

This tent-camping trip is for adults only who are in good health. Participants must provide their own meals and camping equipment. Upon registration, you will receive an email confirmation and information about an optional pre-trip meeting to meet your leaders and ask questions (highly recommended for first-timers). A handout will also be available with suggestions about what to pack, weather, safety tips, etc. Look forward to having you join us!

Visit our Trip Rating System to determine which Backpacking Trip or Day Hike is right for you.
Please, read our RESERVATION & REFUND POLICY

For questions, contact the Coordinator, April Armijo, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Trip 1
Base Camp / Day Hikes
Easy to Hard
Plaskett Creek Campground

Leaders: Michael Taylor and Marilyn Bockstahler, Assistant Leaders: Elize Quinn and Rose Williams
Event capacity = 16
Each day, your leaders will offer some fascinating hiking adventures of varying difficulty levels. Since these will be on a space-available basis, sign-ups will be announced at the campground on the evening before the hike. Should you decide to stay in camp instead, Dollar Beach is at walking distance from Plaskett Campground. See below for the Day Hikes that will be offered:

Valley View Trail (E2A)
This trail is in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Campground at the northern end of Big Sur. Beautiful views of Point Sur and the Big Sur Valley. The wide and well-maintained trail begins with a modest climb through the majestic redwoods, we’ll walk among the patches of clover-like redwood sorrel along the creek. After a short distance, the trail crosses a bridge to the left to start up the side of the canyon. After a short steep climb we’ll come upon the spur to the Valley View overlook to the left. It's another steep but short climb to the top where a viewing bench has been placed in a perfect spot for looking northwest out to the ocean. We’ll head back down to the fork and this time go left towards the falls. The trail will wind down the hill and eventually drop us back into the redwoods where we’ll cross over the creek one last time and see the falls on our left. After checking out the falls, we’'ll head back the way we came and go left at the fork, returning to the lodge and parking lot.

Gorge Trail (E2A)
This trail is in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Campground at the northern end of Big Sur. It is 1 mile into a steep narrow gorge with huge granite rocks and swimming holes. We’ll follow the Gorge Trail along the road adjacent to Parking Lot 3. One we reach the bridge we’ll follow use trails on either side of the river to continue upstream along the redwood and oak-lined river banks. The Gorge section is no more than a quarter mile upriver from the bridge.

Sand Dollar Beach (E2A)
The Sand Dollar Beach area offers both a great beach and also a nice bluff trail with expansive views up and down the coast. We’ll have a formal hike here but it can also be explored on your own. This is one of the few beach access points in Big Sur and an easy stroll across the highway from our campground. We’ll leave Plaskett Campground, cross Highway 1 and walk directly to the bluff at the northwest corner of the Sand Dollar Beach parking lot. Before going down to the beach, we’ll head to the right and take the short trail to the overlook. We’ll retrace our steps back to the fork and take the short trail down to the beach. After hanging around the beach, we’ll head back up the stairs and take a right along the path west of the parking lot. A trail will head south along the bluffs above the beach and offer great views and photo opportunities.

Limekiln Trails (E2A)
The Limekiln Trails offer is an easy hike with defined trails, creek crossings, and limited elevation. The three branches are ~0.5 miles each, making it easy to take in all 3. Shortly into the hike, you’ll see the first fork in the trail for Hare Creek (right) and Falls / Limekilns (left). We will take the quick <0.5-mile hike to the end of Hare Creek, where we will come across an ancient redwoods and a small waterfall. From here we will head back to the fork and begin our trek to the Falls. On our hike to the Falls, we will make a few stream crossings – your shoes will get wet! Also, there’s a small scramble to get to the waterfall, which you’ll see flowing down a large limestone wall. The 100’ waterfall marks the end of the trail. From here we will head back to see the Limekilns. You may ask why should I see these? No problem, here’s a quick history lesson. In the late 1800s, these limekilns were used to smelt limestone and create lime powder, which was used in cement. This cement was shipped from the harbor at Limekiln SP up to Monterey and to SF to construct buildings.

Mill Creek Trail (M4A)
Mill Creek Trail is also almost all in the shade, under giant redwood, sycamore and maple trees, so is a marvelous hike for summer. We will quickly head into the fragrant California Bay trees, and then catch glimpses of the rushing creek below on your right. Soon, the trail and the water join up, and we will be following Mill Creek upstream the rest of the way, crossing it several times before the end. Mill Creek was named for a sawmill that at one time produced railroad ties at a site along the creek near the ocean. We will end up at a small campsite, with a stone fire pit set among the huge redwoods. This is our turnaround point. Mill Creek Trail is one of the spookier hikes in Big Sur since you are threading a deeply wooded and rocky canyon with little open sky. You'll also notice that many of the huge redwoods have been cut down years ago, with their stumps remaining as silent testament to their grandeur.

Buzzard's Roost Trail (M4B)
This trail is in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Campground at the northern end of Big Sur. Buzzard's Roost Trail is a winding trail along shady redwoods to a switchback trail through tan oaks and bay trees, peaking at Pfeiffer Ridge with beautiful coastal views. Incredible panoramic views of the mountains and ocean are afforded to anyone who makes the relatively steep hike. Along the way you will undoubtedly notice blackened coastal redwood trees from a recent fire. In 2013 a wildfire burned through some of the forest along this trail. As you hike through Buzzard's Roost Trail, observe the coastal redwoods and other tree species and pay special attention to burn areas and locations of new growth. These features can give clues to how resistant a tree is during a fire and how quickly they are able to recuperate.

Salmon Creek Trail (M5C)
We will hike to the beautiful Salmon Creek Falls. The hike to the falls is a short diversion from the main path with covered greenery and light rock scrambling. It’s the funnel point of the Salmon Creek Watershed. From there we will head back to the main trail and continue to climb almost 1,000 feet within the first mile. Zigzaging up the steep mountainside and in and out of tree cover while enjoying amazing views of bare hills and deep valleys. Keep looking back as you traverse the side canyons and enjoy sights all the way to the Pacific Ocean. We will hike to Spruce Camp located at the intersection of Salmon and Spruce Creeks. It has a few picnic tables and camping spaces. We will have lunch here and then return to the trailhead.

Cruickshank Trail (H6C)
After the first several thousand feet as the Cruickshank Trail ascends a series of moderately steep switchbacks which take us up the mountain the trail flattens out, changing from coastal scrub to the Big Sur equivalent of jungle. As there is poison oak shorts are not recommended. There are beautiful oak forests along the Cruickshank Trail, as well as several small stands of Redwood. We will continue to Villa Creek and its campsite. The path is steep heading down into the redwoods we will drop down to the creek and continue on the other side. Going west along the right or northern side of Villa Creek until we get to the campsite with picnic table and tent area. This is a our turnaround spot. We will have lunch and return to the trailhead.

Mount Manuel Trail (H8E)
This trail is in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Campground at the northern end of Big Sur. Beginning at the Oak Grove Trail, this trail is a steep, beautiful climb to the top of 3,379-foot Manuel Peak, offering tremendous views of the Santa Lucia Mountains and distant ocean. Bring a hat and lots of water as it is sunny and exposed most of the way.

Vicente Flat Trail (H10D)
The Vicente Flat Trail is a quintessential Big Sur hike with an amazing variety of scenery. The first half of the hike climbs an open hillside with spectacular ocean vistas that are made extra dramatic by the elevation. The colors are striking, with the brilliant green of the coastal scrub set against the deep blue of the ocean. The trail then turns into Hare Canyon, where it runs along a wooded hillside. Several very attractive redwood groves are tucked into folds in the hillside, and there are some nice views of the rugged canyon far below. Finally, the trail descends to the old-growth redwoods of Vicente Flat. Other than Highway One and the Kirk Creek Campground, which are visible during the initial part of the hike, there are no signs of development along the trail.

 

Trip 2
Backpacking Trip
Moderate
Name of Trip: Vicente Flat Backpack
Leader: Kris Watkin, Assistant Leader: Eric Williams


Trip Rating: M6C
Event capacity = 9

Number of Backpack Days: 2, Number of Backpack Miles: 6 per day # Number of Day Hike Miles: up to 12

Starting from the Kirk Creek Campground the trail climbs up the hillside and continues into Hare Canyon. The trail may have poison oak, but definitely has spectacular views and passes through redwood groves. We will go past Espinoza camp, continuing to Vicente Flat, where there is reliable water and set-up camp after 6 mi and 1500 ft elevation gain. This trail has lots of weekend traffic, but we expect our hike to be less busy. We will set up camp at Vicente Flat. The next day we will do an out and back hike along Stone Creek Ridge trail. This trail has a variety of terrain, and crosses many of the forks of Limekiln Creek. At the time of this writing, the loop around Cone peak is closed, so we will be doing an out and back hike going no further than Goat Camp. Saturday, we will have an enjoyable morning and hike-out to catch the bus to join the rest of the bus-trip participants for a nice fire to end the weekend.

 

Trip 3
Backpacking Trip
Difficulty: Hardest
Name of Trip: Sea to Summit
Leader: John Plander, Assistant Leader: April Armijo
Trip Rating: H11D
Event capacity = 8

Number of Backpack Days: 3, Number of Backpack Miles: 22 miles, Number of Day Hike Miles: 10 (optional)

On the first day we will backpack about 11 miles on the Kirk Creek/Vicente Flat Trail, to Goat Camp. The trail to Goat is steep and arduous but affords breathtaking unparalleled views of the Big Sur coastline. This lesser-known trail sees fewer hikers than most of the other backpacking trails in the area. At Goat we will camp streamside for two nights. The second day we will hike to the second highest peak in the Santa Lucia Range, Cone Peak, elevation 5171. This rugged, optional day hike will entail an all-day exploration providing 360-degree views from the summit and its ridge. On the third day we will return the way we came to spend a night with the entire bus trip group, closer to sea level, where you’ll have time to relax in camp or walk to the beach and enjoy the rest of the day.

Trip 4
Big Sur Bus Trip - Staff and Leader
This trip signup is for STAFF / LEADERS ONLY.
Event capacity = 14

Space: Limited to 47 participants (including leaders and assistants)
Cost: $260
Registration Opens: August 9th, 2019 at 6 am
Pre-trip Meeting: September 4th, 2019 at 6:15 pm at Serra Mesa-Kearny Mesa Branch Library, 9005 Aero Dr, San Diego, CA 92123

Departure: September 18th, 2019 at 8:30 am
Return: September 22nd at approximately at approx. 9:00 pm

For more information: Please contact April Armijo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Explore, enjoy and protect the planet