CA Backpacking and Wilderness Hikes

California’s Sierra Nevada is a boon of wilderness wonders, from waterfalls and lakes to quiet and secluded backcountry camping amid forest and jagged peaks. Here are three amazing backpacking adventures, including a few that can be done as long day hikes.

Week: 08.03.2022
Regions: Northern & Southern CA

Get Hetched!

Backpack to Rancheria Falls in Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley

Backpacking to Rancheria Falls in Hetch Hetchy Valley Yosemite
Backpacker in Yosemite Hetch Hetchy
Waterfall on trail in Hetch Hetchy Yosemite
Hetch Hetchy oasis in Yosemite
Enjoy top-notch valley views on this 13-mile moderately strenuous backpacking trip highlighting some of Yosemite's best scenery. A bonus: This part of the park attracts fewer visitors than the much more famous valley
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Picture Worth a Thousand Words

Backpack to Thousand Island Lake in Ansel Adams Wilderness

thousand island lake backpacking
backpack thousand island lake
backpack to Thousand Island lake
backpack to Thousand Island Lake
Catch a mirrored sunrise at Thousand Island Lake back in the Ansel Adams Wilderness. You can reach this jewel—set at 9,500 feet in the High Sierra and backed by the brilliant Banner Peak—via a 10-mile trek along part of the Pacific Crest Trail.
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Best of the Summer Fests!

2022 Sonoma International Film Festival Summerfest

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

Tahoe Trio of Lakes

Camp at Loch Leven Lakes in Tahoe

Campsite at Loch Leven Lakes in Tahoe National Forest
Person sitting in a hammock at Loch Leven Lakes in Tahoe National Forest
Backpackers walking next to Loch Leven Lakes in Tahoe National Forest
Loch Leven Lakes in Tahoe National Forest
Three alpine lakes, superb views, and shoreline camping for soaking it all in … Loch Leven Lakes is pure Tahoe wilderness. This 7.2-mile out-and-back in Tahoe National Forest is great for a long day hike, or a weekend of adventure camping among this trio of crystal waters.
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Trending Stories NorCal

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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.

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  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.

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  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!

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  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.

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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!

    View
  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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