Destinations: The Best Sierra Hikes, The Best Starter Hikes, Hikes by Highway, and More
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.
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.
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. Thanks to the hated Google Photos, we can no longer share all of our photos via one link. But if you see a photo you like on these pages, you can probably click on it to link to the rest of the album...or not, depending on the idiotic Google Photos God.
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.
Recommended Hikes By State Highway --See below:
And please read this before you decide on an "epic adventure:"
Hikes by State Highway
In the sections below, we've divided up the Sierra by state highway---from Lassen and Highway 89 in the North, down to SEKI and Higway 168 and the deserts beyond them. Each sections has a quite a few backpacking trips that we've enjoyed, and there are also some nice day hikes as well.
As usual, at this point we'll just invite you to explore!
Our Southwest Trips
A link to take you to our visits to the Southwest, incluiding Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Chaco Canyon, Canyon de Chelly, and Navajo National Monument.: Our Southwest Trips
Peru and Patagonia
A link to take you to our trips to Peru and Argentina, including Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Santa Cruz and the Cordillera Blanca, El Chalten and Pepito Moreno National Park South America