Is it possible to find solitude in one of California’s mountainous national parks? It certainly is, but like anything worth having, it takes a little work. Here are a few of our favorite backpacking trips in the Sierra Nevada.
From south to north:
The 27-mile loop from Glacier Pass to Sawtooth Pass in Sequoia National Park
The Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park provides access to some of the most spectacular high country in the southern Sierra. Over the course of the trail and the 3,819 feet of elevation gain you’ll cross open meadows, countless alpine lakes and red fir forests while taking in unbelievable view after unbelievable view. Pack your fishing rod as many of the lakes are home to small California golden and rainbow trout. If you’re looking for something shorter, there are many single-day and multi-day backpacking options that start from the Mineral King Valley.
The 42-mile Rae Lakes Loop in Kings Canyon National Park
This loop has everything an ideal backpacking trip should have: stunning lake basins, rushing waterfalls, and splendidly carved canyons. Although hikable in either direction, starting at Road’s End and looping north to south affords a more gradual elevation change. Over the course of the trail you’ll have a net elevation gain of about 6,943 feet. Seeing as this is one of the more popular trails in Kings Canyon, plan your three- to six-day adventure in the fall when the summer rush is over.