It used to be that hikers wanting a shower, hearty meal, and warm bed in the Sierra backcountry had to win the lottery – literally – for a spot at a Yosemite High Sierra Camps. Then Tennessee businessman Burr Hughes bought 40 acres of red fir and lodgepole pine from Giant Sequoia National Monument and five years ago opened this private camp perched 4,000 feet above Kings Canyon. The concept is similar, only cushier: canvas bungalows with plush king beds, cabernet and lamb shanks, and views of two national parks (Sequoia and Kings Canyon).
At 8,500 feet, the camp is reached by a three-quarter-mile hike in from the access road. And from 10,365-foot Mitchell Peak – a three-mile ascent that Hughes calls one of the best hikes in the West – you get a stunning panorama across to the highest peaks of the Sierra, which will make you feel like you actually did win the lottery [from $250; sequoiahighsierracamp.com].