Backpacker on Tuolumne River in Yosemite High Sierra

How to Lose the Crowds in National Parks

A magical thing happens when you hike just a mile or two from trailheads in popular national parks: Crowds begin to disappear. Even better, go backpacking to really have solitude. Set the out-of-office reply and head off to one of these spectacular trips ranging from Yosemite to Zion to the Channel Islands and Point Reyes.

Week: 08.04.2021
Regions: Northern & Southern CA

Yosemite Magic Trick

Backpack Yosemite's High Sierra from Tuolumne Meadows

camping at Evelyn Lake in Yosemite National Park
backpacking in Yosemite National Park High Sierra Loop
Hiker going up to Vogelsang Peak
Hiker looking at Lyell Fork of Tuolumne River in Yosemite
Yosemite’s High Country is magical and without crowds. At a lofty 8,700 feet, Tuolumne Meadows is one of the best trailheads for hiking or backpacking a land of smooth granite domes, high alpine meadows, jagged peaks, and sapphire lakes. Here's a 3-night backpacking itinerary...
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Anchor Yourself in Anchorage

Best Summer Adventures in Anchorage Alaska

two kayakers near Anchorage Alaska
Ptarmigan Portage Glacier Boat Ride near Anchorage
Portage Pass glacier hike near Anchorage Alaska
When it comes to the ultimate adventure basecamp, set your anchor in Anchorage. Located at the base of the Chugach Mountains, Anchorage gets you easy access to 60 glaciers to see, paddle up to, hike, fly over, or climb.
Your Best Summer in Anchorage

Zion the Prize

Backpacking Zion National Park

Backpackers on a trail in Zion National Park
Backpacker on West Rim Trail in Zion National Park
Backpacker enjoying the Zion National Park scenery and sunset.
Primitive campsite with an orang tent among trees on West Rim of Zion National Park
Geological wonders, massive canyon views, and a bit of a grind to get to the good stuff … it’s all part of the blissful isolation you can find on the West Rim Trail at Zion, the fourth most visited national park in the country. Lose the crowds on a backpacking adventure starting
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Wild for Wildcat

Backpacking and Camping at Wildcat Camp in Point Reyes

Group of friends at the beach at sunset near Wildcat Camp in Point Reyes National Seashore
Backpackers overlooking the bluff and down to the Pacific ocean at Point Reyes National Seashore near Wildcat Camp
Two people sit around a campfire located at the beach near Wildcat Camp in Point Reyes National Seashore
Backpacker hiking on the Coast Trail surrounded by yellow wildflowers in Point Reyes National Seashore
With seven sites strewn along a coastal bluff adjacent to the beach, Wildcat Camp is one of Northern California’s premier camping destinations in Point Reyes National Seashore. And there's one first-come, first-served spot...
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Island Traverse

Backpacking and camping on Santa Cruz Island on Channel Islands National Park

Backpackers traversing the seaside mountain range on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park
As the largest of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz also has bragging rights to two mountain ranges. For a grand (and grandly scenic) tour, lace up the boots and go on a 15-mile (one-way) backpacking trek that traverses the eastern side of the island.
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  1. Woman hiking the Coastal Trail in the Marin Headlands

    Three Beaches to the Wind

    This beautiful 7-mile (round-trip) coastal hike in the Marin Headlands connects three beaches: Muir Beach, Pirates Cove, and Tennessee Cove.

  2. Damme Good Camping

    Just a few miles south of the town of Mendocino is one of the best hike-in (or bike-in) campgrounds on the California coast. Van Damme State Park follows Little River inland from the ocean, and the nine first-come, first-served environmental campsites can be reached via the Fern Canyon Trail.

  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais Matt Davis Steep Ravine Dipsea to Stinson Beach

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

  4. Calaveras Giants

    Contending as some of the tallest, mightiest, and most muscular spectacles in the state are the hulking (and beautiful) trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Hit the trails to witness spectacular groves of giant sequoia redwoods.


Trending Stories SoCal

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  1. Sponsored

    Best of the Summer Fests!

    Outdoor winery events featuring films, food, wine, live music, and Sonoma’s cinematic scenery in the background: now that’s a blockbuster summer weekend!

  2. Hiker on Proctor Mountain Loop Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Storied Trail

    If ever there was a fairy trail, this 6.8-mile lollipop loop on Sun Valley’s Proctor Mountain is it. The Proctor Mountain Trail is a storied route in more ways than one, starting with its tranquil oasis memorial for a famous writer, Ernest Hemingway.

  3. Two bikers on the Wood River Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Two Wheels to Zen

    The family-friendly Wood River Trail goes over an historic bridge, past art sculptures and ranch-roaming horses, all amid sprawling green valley and a mountainous backdrop. Roll out from the Farmers Market at River Run Lodge and pedal the 8-mile (round-trip) ride to Sun Valley’s Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

  4. This Part of the Backbone

    The Ray Miller Trail comprises the final stretch of the Backbone Trail in Malibu’s Point Mugu State Park, and makes an idyllic moderate beach hike during spring and early summer.