Explore the most popular backpacking trails in California with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
1 hour ago

Views of Half Dome, Clouds Rest, and the valley are spectacular on top of North Dome. Long ways in getting there though, dry and dusty terrain, some long stretches without cover.

Really fun, fairly easy going hike. Just super crowded, otherwise would be a 5 star hike

Nice walk

Nice trails. Great views.

hiking
11 hours ago

Definitely an accomplishment! Great to be at the top above everything else. Make sure to take the little spur to the right at the saddle around 7.3 miles. Great views and rest before the toughest part of the climb.
We started at 630 on friday and saw only a few folks going up, summit about 1215, return took a little under 4 hours. Saw more filks on the way down, but i would not suggest a day hike starting after 7.

Peaked on 22nd Sept. It was a perfect day with barely any winds. Another group who summited last weekend faced 60m/hr winds at the top.
Parking: Start early and you won't have a problem. we started at 3am.
Water: Took 2 litees. Filled twice at High Creek. used clorine tablets to purify.
Trail: Tricky point at the beginning when we cross the riverbed. We had someone who had done it before with us to help us navigate this part in dark. Before descending to the riverbed, shine your headlamp pointing straight ahead until u see the reflection from the trail sign on the other end. Then walk towards that reflection to get to the right trail.

I found the beginning 1.5 mile climb not as difficult as the last 4 miles after High Creek.

Saw 2 guys with serious hunting equipment on the trail between Vivian and High Creek, hunting deers! I talked to the ranger and found out, the hunting season is on but they were not in the destinated hunting area. If u see something say something. Don't hesitate to question and report folks who seem out of place. Their arrow can hit any hiker if they hunt in non designated areas.

Again: This one is not for me. Won't do it again. Too long and Peak not as interesting. Glad to get it checked off my bucket list!

Wow what a beast. Beautiful. Raw. Unforgiving. Warrior creators. Memory of a lifetime.

Did the hike this afternoon. Was planning on just doing the PG&E trail but said what the hell when I reached the top. I left at 4:10 and reached the top of PG&E in just over an hour. I jogged about 40% of the way. Thought it was a bit late and was short on water but figured I could do another 2 miles without too much difficulty. The trail narrowed and was steep from the get go. I'm 54 and can keep a decent pace (I think). I met two young girls along the way and was surprised at their speed but one said she ran x-country for her high school. We decided to go to the top together despite the late hour. I was concerned about possibly having my car stuck inside the gate over night if we got back too late. 1 mile from top of PG&E took about 35 mins. I thought it was a butt kicker. We could see the radio towers a good 3/4 mile from the top and I was about to turn around, thinking we wouldn't make it back til 8-8:30. The young girls proceeded...I wasn't going to drive home with a gut wrenching feeling of defeat so decided to finish it. We made it to the towers at about 6:15. A good very tough hour for the last two miles. We high fived and took a few pics and promptly headed down. We kept a good pace. I was depleted of water but one of the girls gladly filled my empty bottle. Due to the steepness it was nearly impossible to run. Made it back to the top of PG&E just after 7. We returned via Wild Cat and were finally able to pick our speed up after a 1/4 mile or so. We were trotting at a good pace as the sun had set and the full moon came into full view shortly thereafter. It was dark at the top of Wild Cat and we needed our flash lights. Too dark, steep and tired to run by then. We went through the farm and finally made it back to the parking lot just before 8 where I was greeted by an angry Ranger Ken who proceeded to give me a lecture, along with a 45.00 ticket for being late. I didn't give a shit. Was glad I went to the top and happy the girls gave me the extra push I needed. This hike is 12 miles from the parking lot. I would call it bit of a butt kicker. Doing Whitney in a few weeks so this was a good practice run, albeit not at elevation.

I gave this trail a 4 Star because we miss the turn to the trail entrance . Right before wt the fork It should of been mark better after the trial head, we walk straight on the rocky sand along the waterfall for 1.5 miles until ran into a girl who went for 2-3 miles out and realize she was lost . So after all that we end up with 20.3 miles
Moderate, not too hard. You can bring 3-4 frozen water bottle is enough. Depend how you hydrate, plus a jacket , it can be really cold around September.
It’s a beautiful trial !!

hiking
16 hours ago

I hiked this trail on 9/20/18. Beautiful weather. Not a cloud in the perfectly blue sky. Temperature was around 70 degrees. September is a great month to hike this area. Temperatures are perfect and there are no mosquitos!

I hiked this on a Thursday so it wasn’t very crowded. Moderate is a good rating for this trail. Several lakes and running water along the way to filter water. I had cellular service (AT&T) along most parts of the trail. A plus for those who want to send pictures to friends and family while you’re hiking. Amazing views and beautiful lakes. Definitely a must do trail.

backpacking
16 hours ago

We did AP more or less as shown on this map as a 3 day trip, camping 2 nights at lake 3 (9/20-9/21). The AP trail is shorter with less elevation gain than NAP. Not a mistake. Three days was a relatively relaxed way to go, but even so, the summit hike was not easy. We took a more boldery rout to the summit on the final section, skipping some of the deep sand if you followed the big cairns all the way up. This had its own challenges though - and we did follow the cairns on the way down. We saw four bighorn sheep on the the way back, and marmots here and there, sunbathing on the rocks. It was great to be back to camp on day 2 with plenty of time for a chilly plunge in the lake and to enjoy the afternoon and evening rather than packing up and slogging it back to the parking lot. Overall a great trip!

backpacking
16 hours ago

Stellar hike, great challenge to make it to the peak!

backpacking
16 hours ago

I did this last week. It is the hardest hike I have ever been on.

Beautiful! The pools and view and the top was well worth what for me was a challenging hike. The beginning is pretty steep but luckily for me the vast majority is steady and mild elevation gain.

beautiful views and amazing trail.

Awesome trail. Started early that is a bit before sunrise and traversed most part of it in shade. In late September, there was still some good water in the stream below which goes along a good part of the trail. Saw banana slugs. We did counterclockwise, the first and last parts are really steep. A nice workout.

Water update for Vivian Creek trail:
I just completed this challenging but rewarding hike September 22-23rd. Plenty of water available at Vivian Creek Camp, no water available at Halfway Camp, and plenty of water at High Creek Camp. So do not do what I did and safe yourself of 12 extra unnecessary pounds of water.

hiking
19 hours ago

Completed in 15h17m car to car as a CCW day loop. More gruelling than I expected, primarily the descent which I expected to be easier. If I did this again in a day I’d go clockwise to save my knees.

Perfect weather and gorgeous views I’d love to be back again next year to take more time to soak in the views and camp down at Rae Lakes.

Perhaps the single best view was of the canyon basked in the light of a full moon five miles from Roads End travelling south along Paradise Valley Trail.

Very few mossies but I travelled the first and last 5 miles in darkness. Saw four bears (1 just after dawn, 4 after sunset - all within 10 miles of Roads End), a marmot, an incredibly close deer, numerous chipmunks and no rattlers. The south fork of Kings River is now so low that you can hop across rocks to cross - no need to seek out log jams.

This is one of our major hikes here in the Angeles national forest, I went to the mine to evaluate the trail, and am dismayed at the abuses our historical places have suffered in this ‘ new age’.
And now, In the last week the cabin has been paintballed. Please, this is my home. I would not follow you home (as much as I want to) and tag and paintball your home! And this is why I don’t go down ‘there’. The National forest is everyone’s, why would you destroy it? Please have respect for my home.

Not a real difficult trail, but a very LONG one. I love Desolation Wilderness and the granite cliffs and beautiful lakes. The last two miles back seemed to take forever, the hike is a little longer than I like for a day trip. It was so nice at Rubicon Lake I could have easily taken a nice long nap but I knew it was a long way back. I think backpackers are really onto something. Glad I had my l camera, love the scenery.

hiking
20 hours ago

My son and I decided to do this hike. we are amateur hikers, but decided to give it a go. we started at the Crystal Lake CG around 900. First mile or so of the trail is nice and shady. incline isnt too bad at the start. 2nd half of the trail is a bit steeper and mostly in the sun. Trail was in great shape. one or two spots were covered in rocks from a prior slide, but still manageable. We stopped to get a breath and enjoy the views pretty often. Windy Gap definitely lives up to its name, as it was Windy. We went through about 1.5L of water each, so we stopped at the springs and used our Little Sawyers to refill. From there we went up to Islip .8 miles at the gap to enjoy lunch with a view. After enjoying the view we headed down to the trail camp and back to the springs to top off before the decent. The decent wasn't bad, easier then going up. Got back to our car around 430. My phone said the hike was around 8.6 miles round trip and almost 2,800 feet in elevation gain. it was fun and I will do this one again, as the views are awesome.

hiking
21 hours ago

Great hike

I did this hike on 8/28/18. The climb up from the trailhead is a pretty good pull but not too tough. The views at the summit are really nice. The trail to Velma Lakes is kind of barren and desolate, I'm thinking now I know why it's called Desolation Wilderness. At the first lake it was so beautiful I was really glad I had my camera. Went over to see Middle Velma then turned back and headed to Fontanillis Lake. Once again I was glad to have brought my camera! From there I stopped at Dicks Lake, then took the Eagle Falls trail back to The trailhead. What a wonderful hike and not too hard. I love the Desolation Wilderness.

hiking
22 hours ago

Beautiful morning hiking!!!! I thought we’d be closer to the river, but we still had great views. Would be a easy hike for kids

hiking
22 hours ago

I did this trip on 8/23/18. This was my first time in the Desolation Wilderness and I loved every minute of it. The hike to Gilmore isn't too hard and the trail is easy to follow. Lake Gilmore is a beautiful lake and when I was there I was the only one around. I went to Mt. Tallac from Gilmore and it it sure easier than the North side of fallen Leaf Lake. Of course the views are spectacular and for me especially viewing the mountains looking toward desolation wilderness. i went back to Gilmore and returned the same way. Great hike and not too hard.

hiking
22 hours ago

I did this hike two weeks ago and it was great! I starting in the direction of the Tamarac Trail instead of Glen Alpine and I was glad because the trail is kind of tough and hard to follow till you get to the top. I would rather get the hardest part of the hike over early when I have more energy, wouldn't have wanted to come down this way after a long hike. The view of the Echo Lakes and Tamarac and Ralston Lakes are great. I also stopped by Lake of the Woods, it hardly adds much time to the trip and is well worth it. This was my first time seeing Lake Aloha and I think it is spectacular. The water level was pretty low but i think it made the visual impact even more dramatic. l'm looking forward to going back in the late spring to see it with more water. Heather and Suzie Lakes are great as is the rest of the trail to Glen Alpine Trailhead.I thought only the Tamarac trail was hard and the rest of the trip is moderate hiking. This is one of the best hikes I've had and I love the Desolation Wilderness.

Go super early to beat the heat and parking! Bring a decent amount of water to stay hydrated on your way up!

One of the prettiest hikes I have done. It has a gradual incline so not so bad, About a mile in a half before the Peak vear to the right and you will see a cement bench with incredible views! This is a popular trail so parking was filling up fast around 6:00 am but it was gonna be a warm day. Highly recommend...

All fails at its best....posting reviews from people that didnt do the hike......turning back at lake 2 is
not what this hike is about....if you dont do the hike don't comment.....difference between turning back at lake 2 and completing the hike is about 1400 feet elevation gain....not for kids or quiters....if you do the hike, one of the best in the Eastern Sierra, but probably should be rated "hard" as you can see most people don't complete the hike.

Great hike, spectacular views. Cold at night and in the morning. No ice or snow yet, as of 9/22/18. Tough finish to the top with sinking sand and small gravel. Saw a coyote, marmots and deer. But no big horn sheep (boo) and no bears (phew.) Completed in 13 hours, would do it in two or three days next time, to take in all the beauty this hike has. Well worth it.

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