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. Sebastopol Food & Wine Roll

    One apple farm, three charming towns, multiple wineries, and infinite natural beauty. Savor a perfect autumn day in Sonoma County by biking the West County Regional Trail from Sebastopol to Forestville via Graton. It’s a 17-mile (round-trip) adventure. 

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  2. Hiker taking a photo of sunset at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

    Sunshine and Skyline

    Head to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for a 4-mile out-and-back hike on the Bay Area Ridge Trail that offers a front-row seat to spectacular sunsets.

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  3. Hike Los Trancos Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains

    Light of Los Trancos

    In autumn, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve lights up with orange-red maples, yellow hazelnut, and deciduous oaks, making this 2.5-mile hike in the Santa Cruz mountains a wonder-fall destination.

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  4. Sponsored

    Center of Attention

    Central Oregon is home to the craft beer capital of the US, the Deschutes River, and trails for every kind of outdoor adventure: hiking, skiing, paddling, biking, and—of course—relaxing at fire pits.

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Trending Stories SoCal

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  1. Secret Stair Master!

    Step up to a wonderful 2-mile, nearly 1000-step workout in peaceful Pasadena that is part leg labor, part suburban stroll, and all serene secret.

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  2. Hiker at Dos Picos County Park in San Diego County

    Dos Picos

    The 1.4-mile loop around Dos Picos County Park is a small yet mighty gem in northern San Diego County. It's gentle and packs a bunch of scenery.

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  3. U-pick and Hike

    Some of the most delicious anywhere grow on trees high up in the San Bernardino Mountains in the town of Oak Glen, where Los Rios Rancho, So Cal’s largest historic apple ranch, grows 32 varieties, all completely organic, and available as u-picks.

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  4. Hike to an epic vista in the San Gabriels via the Colby Trail in Glendora

    Do It for a Donut!

    Why bust your legs on this 2.25-mile hike in the San Gabriels? Two words: Donuts. Donuts. Okay, you’ll also get great views and a fine workout, but we guarantee that the treat alone merits the trek.

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