Destinations: The Best Sierra Hikes, The Best Starter Hikes, and Hikes by Highway

          
            One of the great joys of backpacking is planning a trip.  We love to pore over maps, imagine or identify water sources, worry about the steep terrain, and dream of secret campsites with the perfect combination of privacy, scenery, and conditions. 
 
            And fishing.   
            
Take a look through these suggestions to begin to plan your next trip, whether it's your first one or your 100th.  We've recommended eight good ones for early in the season, and we've also created a separate page for  ten good starter hikes:  short backpacking trips that take let you experience the backcountry without taking you too far from the car.  None of them are more than five miles of hiking, and they lead to nice campsites and lovely scenery. 
 
          
            And there is a page for our favorites of all time, as well as our favorite lakes...those places that we would love to return to again, if we only had more time. 
 
            If you are interested in dayhikes, there is a list of the ones we like under each highway, but we also created a page of our all time favorites, so you can explore that way, too!  Some of them are spectacular, and some also connect to a backpacking trip for the best of both worlds. 
 
            And a note about the photos on these pages.  In most cases, if you click on the photo, it will take you to our Picasa photo pages, and each of the hikes has its own series of photos with captions.  So you can use those as a trip log for any one of these hikes, and get a better idea of the scenery and the experiences we had on the trail.  In fact, here is a link to ALL of our Picasa photos:  https://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom
 
            Just remember: different years, different dates, and different weather means that your mileage may vary!
  
            And yes, with one tiny exception, we've hiked every one of these.   Which isn't to say that things might not have changed since we were there....but at least we've been there before. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
And please read this before you decide on an "epic adventure:"