John Muir Trail, CA
The Pacific Crest Trail gets all the hype, but the much shorter John Muir Trail is by far the greatest tour of California’s High Sierra backcountry. At 215 miles, it stretches from Yosemite National Park through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, and King’s Canyon National Park, terminating atop the highest peak in the Lower 48; 14,505-foot Mount Whitney. The majority of this trail lies above 8,000 feet, with spectacular views across the state’s highest granite spires. For a one-day snapshot, hike from Agnew Meadows Trailhead to Ediza Lake (12 miles round-trip) in the Ansel Adams Wilderness: it hits two alpine lakes, raging river crossings, with epic views of Shadow Creek Falls.
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