Welcome to

    Backpackthesierra.com is a free non-commercial site that provides both the information and inspiration you need to get out into the Sierra Nevada with a pack on your back and a smile on your face.  In the words of John Muir: "I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in." Take it from John Muir, put on a backpack and get going!  

    Just as we enjoy exploring the Sierra, we hope you’ll enjoy exploring the stories, photos, fun, and information we’ve assembled on this site.  Take your time and look around. You'll find hundreds of pages of our insights and experiences backpacking in the amazing Range of Light.  

Here you will find:

>  All you need to know about backpacking in California--what, where, when and how.  And why.

> "Destinations,"  has a list of more than sixty backpacking trips we've taken in the Sierra Nevada, and trip photo logs for most of them. 


>  The best day hikes in the Sierra Nevada--listed by highway along with the backpacking trips.


·>  A backpacking equipment list with a rationale for each  item--and ideas on how you can reduce your pack weight.


·       Ideas for good cheap backpacking equipment


·      Philosophy, fun, photos, and fishing!


It’s all part of enjoying what we think is the most beautiful and accessible mountain range in the world—the Sierra Nevada.  And there is a lot of information here---check out the subpages for more details on every topic.  That's what the navigation bar is for at the left of this page...there is more here than you can imagine. 


Our Blog has lots more information, stories, and opinions on backpacking, the Sierra Nevada, and life on the trail.   It's been named one of the top ten backpacking blogs in the world. 

About Us: Who We Are and What We Think About Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada.


Backpacking: General Information about Backpacking in the Sierra Nevada, including how to do it, what to begin, and what you should worry about--and not worry about. 




Our blog


Destinations: The Best Sierra Hikes, The Best Starter Hikes, and Hikes by Highway--and Hiking in the Southwest, Peru, and Patagonia 


Our Equipment List: a High Sierra Backpacking list you can count on.


Gear: Our Thoughts on What Works and What Doesn't in the High Sierra


Stories, Fun, Fishing, Flowers, and Links




Contact us


Need more inspiration?  Here is a quote from Honore de Balzac: "Who...can walk in the forest without the forest speaking to him?"

Who indeed.  That's P, below, listening to what it has to say. 

Get this book!

We are delighted to announce that Val de Grace books is releasing the first book in P's series of mystery novels set in the Sierra Nevada of California! Available on 
Amazon.com and Target.com as of June 15, 2021.


We think these books are great fun, but don't take our word for it.  Here are a couple of additional opinions: 


“Danger: Falling Rocks” gives us a vibrant feel of the high Sierra, a charming new mystery hero, and an engaging, fast-moving mystery written with energy and a nice touch of wit. Paul Wagner’s love of the outdoors and his experience hiking and camping takes readers right into the mountains. The zippy writing keeps the story moving along the Sierra trails, through the lineup of interesting, quirky characters, and down the winding mystery path until the satisfying end. It’s a great summer read, whether or not you can find your way into the wilderness.”

-- Rick Kushman, best-selling NY Times author and co-host of Bottle Talk from Cap Radio in Sacramento


“It is an enjoyable read and reflects a lifestyle that not many people are blessed to lead. As a practitioner of this way of life and a pursuer of wilderness settings, this reading has my seal of approval.”

 -- Chip Morrill, ex-US Forest Service Wilderness Ranger and White-Water Guide


 “Paul Wagner is not only one of the great wine educators and wine story tellers in the world, now he is telling his stories in his new mystery novels. Can’t put the book down!!” 

--Brian Murphy, President, Wine Cruise Club, Expedia Cruise Ship Centers 

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