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California



Hiker Missing on Mt. Whitney

The 60-year-old man was last seen on Saturday.

Austin Creek State Recreation Area

San Francisco, CA. Roam sun-drenched hills.

Trail Mix: West

Backcountry swimming in Oregon, alpine lakes in John Muir Wilderness, and more.

Destinations: Top 3 West



One Night Wonders: Couples, Honeymoon Lake

Escape to a high-alpine hideaway.

Top 3: National Park Hikes

Sample the best of our crown-jewel lands on these superlative trips.

Grand Traverses: Sierra High Route

Breathe in the views and grandness of the Sierras without the crowds of the John Muir Trail.

Local Hikes in the West — March 2013

Soak in a New Mexico hot spring, spot wintering bighorn sheep in the Winds, hike to a lost California oasis, and more.

Trail Mix: Great November Hikes in the West

Your region's go-now guide: See newts on the move in California and bears heading for lower elevation in Beartooths, MT

The High Life: High Sierra Camps, CA

Hike Yosemite's granite-rimmed loop.

Killer Trips: Gravity

Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

Killer Trips: Weather

Our favorite high-risk, high-reward adventures in North America.

Trail Mix: West

Your region's go-now guide

From the Field: West

Our trail scouts' top local hikes

Summit Fever: The Sierra Challenge

When 37 hardcore hikers set out to scale 10 of the Sierra's highest and remotest peaks in a single Herculean, 10-day, 154-mile push, it will be an all-pain, 54,000 feet of gain kind of adventure.

Trail Mix: West

Your region's go-now guide.

The Other Way In

Hike to life-list hot spots without waiting in life-list lines. These under-the-radar trails deliver everything but the crowds.

Burn After Reading

Empty White Mountain summits. Tourist-free Yellowstone geysers. Rarely hiked Yosemite ridges. Rangers, guidebook writers, outfitters, and ultra-hikers dish their favorite routes for the first time.

Local Hikes

Jump-start your hiking season on these spring-ready trips from around the country.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook: Catch a Golden Trout

Cast for beautiful fish that live in beautiful lakes.

Ultimate Adventure Handbook

Tired of the same old weekend loops? Looking to create memories your grandkids will talk about? In this how-and-where guide, we serve up 15 extraordinary escapes that will shatter your expectations of "normal." From adventure moviemaking to canyoneering, we'll take you places you've never been—but will long to visit again soon.

Readers' Choice 2012: Reader Leader Contest Winners

More than 150 of you entered our contest to become a BACKPACKER field scout. Meet the winners.

Readers' Choice 2012: Skyline-To-The-Sea Trail, Castle Rock Sp, Ca

Hike through a towering redwood forest on this easy-access overnighter.

Readers' Choice 2012: Evolution Loop, Sequoia and Kings Canyon NP, CA

Hike cross-country to a pocket of dreamy lakeside camps on the John Muir Trail.

America's Best Backcountry Ski Tours

Upgrade your winter fun at these 8 beginner-friendly, expert-ready spots.

Online Exclusive: Readers' Choice 2012: Eli Boschetto's Five Favorite Hikes in the West

Five more must-do hikes from our top field correspondent, who's notched more than 1,800 trail miles throughout the West and mapped 116 trips.

Readers' Choice 2012: Your Neck of the Woods - West Hikes

Climb an 11,000-foot peak, hike to a secret summit, see the glacier-capped Cascades, soak in hot pools, and explore the ruins of a 100-year-old resort.

Readers' Choice 2012: Top 3 - West Hikes

The region's best picks from our top field correspondent, who's notched more than 1,800 trail miles throughout the West and mapped 116 trips.

Perfect 10: North America's 10 Most Memorable Hikes

Ten trails. Ten unmatched miles each. Get maximum bang for each boot step on hikes that our most-traveled contributors call their all-time favorites.

Perfect 10: Free PDF Trip Planning Guides

We've picked the top 10 miles of North America's 10 most memorable hikes. Find your way to wilderness nirvana with these map and planning guides.

A Piece of Quiet

America’s leading advocate of wilderness silence shows the way to Mt. Rainier National Park’s quietest corner. Plus: 9 more campsites with life-list listening.

Rip & Go: Three Sisters Loop - Lava Beds National Monument, CA

Discover hidden wonders in a cave-riddled wilderness.

Backyard Everests: Mt. Conness

Walk a scary-narrow rock fin to an airy summit.

Backyard Everests: Lone Pine Peak, Inyo National Forest

Climb without crowds to the state's top mountain view.

Rip & Go: Santa Rosa Island - Channel Islands National Park, CA

Venture off SoCal's coast for long beaches, hidden canyons, and sea life.

National Parks: Yosemite

Enjoy this legendary park (without the legendary crowds) on a four-day trip through the Clark Range.

Going to Extremes

Can you ever really have too much of a good thing? Once you've seen the biggest tree, largest glacier, and deepest canyon, nothing else compares.

The High Life: Hiking Utah's Highline Trail

Watch your step on Utah' Highline Trail. The nonstop views and rampant wildlife are distractingly spectacular. Plus: Gaze away on 9 more elevated hikes.

Local Hikes: West

Hike these long trails in Washington, Oregon, and California, and climb to a 10,064-foot peak in Angeles National Forest.

National Park Slideshows

See scores of stunning images from the Grand Canyon, Denali, Yosemite, and more.

Right Place, Perfect Time

See Yosemite's river of ice, witness there-and-gone meteor showers in Hawaii, and mark your calendar for eight more fleeting natural wonders.

Right Place, Perfect Time: An Oasis in California's Desert Peaks

Peakbag in the White Mountains—without lugging in water.

Right Place, Perfect Time: Frazil Ice

Witness a river of slush flow through Yosemite Valley.

America's Best-Kept Secrets: John Muir Wilderness, CA



America's Best-Kept Secrets

The only thing better than enjoying the life-list scenery in the country's premier national parks? Getting that same scenery, minus the crowds. Find it in these 10 backcountry hotspots, along with no-hassle permits, choice campsites aplenty, and solitude to match the world-class terrain.

Local Hikes: West

See California dunes, Nevada red-rock canyons, Alaska's deep forest, quiet Oregon Coast, and Washington's Cascade lakes.

Rip & Go: Lyell Canyon, Yosemite

Escape front-country crowds on a trek to the park's idyllic interior.

Our Backyard: Joshua Tree National Park, California

Climb, hike, and camp in Joshua Tree National Park.

Readers' Choice: West

Your favorite parks, weekend getaways, peak ascents, campsites, and more in the west.

Trip Finder: Northwest

Your favorite Northwest hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

Our Backyard: Trinity Alps Wilderness, CA

Follow trail-savvy locals to nine sweet spot in the Trinity Alps Wilderness.

The Last Best Place

More than three decades ago, a tiny band of California hikers discovered a magical valley in the Sierra Nevada. They possessed a rough map, but told no one. Now, the truth comes out.

Readers' Choice: Northwest

The undisputed local experts—you—choose the top parks, trails, campsites, and weekend getaways in the Northwest.

Rip & Go: King's Canyon CA, Grand Canyon AZ, Shenandoah VA

From routes to food to post-hike brewski, we've got your weekend backpacking plans dialed. This week, we've got three killer adventures in Kings Canyon, Shenandoah, and the Grand Canyon. Ready? Read. Rip. Go!

Fall/Winter Gear Guide: Best Winter Trips

We traveled to Fjordland and discovered that nothing compares to skiing glacier-clad mountains above deep-water fjords. Plus: 20 winter adventures, from California to New York.

Top 25 Winter Trips: United States

Find the best skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and winter camping trips in the U.S.

Best Hikes Ever: Redwood Creek Trail, CA

Feeling small among the world's tallest trees.

Best. Hikes. Ever.

We've covered 245,591 miles of trails in our 37-year history. Here are our 20 all-time favorite trips, plus—shocking!—20 routes we never covered.

Best Hikes Ever: Summit Lake Trail, CA

Backpack a knee-trembling route through an active geothermal zone.

Best Hikes Ever: The Lost Coast Trail, CA

Hike America's most punishing paradise.

Best Hikes Ever: John Muir Trail, CA

Step for scenery-packed step, nothing else compares to the John Muir Trail.

Top 3 Rainy Season Hikes: Mill Creek, CA

Rains summon salmon and slugs.

Top 3: Rainy Season Hikes

Make the best of fall storms on trails that improve with soggy weather.

High Sierra Trail, Ca: 50-Mile Thru-Hikes

Go straight to the top in the Range of Light.

Less is More: 50-Mile Thru-Hikes

Ten point-to-point treks with the payoffs of a thru-hike, but hikeable in a week.

Rip & Go: Paradise Valley - Kings Canyon National Park

Hike in the spray of waterfalls deep in the heart of black bear country.

Local Hikes: Santa Barbara/Ventura

The best local hikes near Santa Barbara/Ventura.

Local Hikes: San Francisco

The best hikes near San Francisco.

San Diego Hikes

The best hikes near San Diego.

Sacramento Hiking

The best local hikes near Sacramento.

Local Hikes: Redding

The best local hikes near Redding, CA.

Local Hikes: Los Angeles

The best local hikes in LA.

Local Hikes: California

The best hikes within two hours of California's major cities.

Rip & Go: Stuart Fork to Alpine Lake -Trinity Alps, CA

Discover the inner sanctum of California's second largest wilderness.

Top 3 Waterslide Hikes: Eaton Canyon, CA

Climb high and then plunge deep on this hike in Southern California.

Top 3: Hikes to Natural Waterslides

Slip and slide into refreshing pools at these backcountry swimming holes.

The Big Parade: Hiking Los Angeles

My hike, like a million other trips each day in Los Angeles, starts with a ride on a rumbling bus.In the heart of Los Angeles, a band of hikers starts a local-trails revolution--one step at a time.

Tahoe Rim Trail: Above it All

On a thru-hike of the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, two brothers get some perspective - on America's largest alpine lake, and each other.

New Life List: Thru-Hike the JMT

A lifetime of weekend trips is like trying to live on appetizers. Get real sustenance with a two-week trek through the best of the Sierras on California's John Muir Trail.

Secret Hikes: Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Explore a granite wonderland, cross two little-used passes, and score High Sierra solitude on this point-to-point hike.

Secret Hikes of the National Parks

The perfect dozen: Embark on one of these 12 treks, and turn America's most iconic preserves into your own private paradise.

Local Hikes: California/Nevada/Hawaii

Hike to the world's best tropical campsite, see elephant seals, and trek through poppies. (Click linked trips for GPS waypoints, photos, and more.)

Local Hikes: New Hikes Near You

Our army of reader-reader scouts mapped 59 local hikes from South Carolina to Northern California. See their favorites, then learn how to download tracklogs and waypoints.

Zones: 6 Topographies, 18 Amazing Trips

Whether you're looking for Coastal, Canyon, Peak, Forest, or Urban hikes, we have those. Plus some paddling (Water) trips for good measure.

Zones: Forests

Hike amongst the trees in these Washington, California, and Vermont hikes.

Zones: Peaks

Hike high points on Mt. Rainier, Mt. Washington, and Mt. Whitney.

Zones: Coastal

Hug the coastline in these Michigan, California, and British Columbia hikes.

Coastal: Lost Coast Trail, CA

This 26-mile trek along California's coast should have been a highway...except it was too riddled with cliffs to build on.

Peak: Mt. Whitney, CA

Check out the Mountaineer's Route of Mt. Whitney if you're looking for a challenge.

Forest: Giant Forest Loop, CA

See giant sequoias, including General Sherman, on this great family hike.

Rip & Go: Dewey Point - Yosemite National Park, CA

Discover the rewards of winter camping on this easy snowshoe trek.

The Peak: Mt. Tamalpais, CA

At Mt. Tam you'll find wilderness solitude with Pacific views only 20 miles from San Francisco. Plus, there's a beer garden.

Natural Wonders: Death Valley's Wildflowers

Trek through lush fields that thrive on just two inches of annual rainfall.

Your Favorite Places: Readers' Choice Trips 2010

Who knows the secret trails and must-do classics in every corner of the country? Our teams of regional experts, recruited from the ranks of readers like you. Here are their top hikes from coast to coast.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes

The world's prettiest shoreline, giant pines, and Yosemite's premier view.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Kalalau Trail, HI

Hike Hawaii's all-world coast to a secluded beach.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: The Ruby Crest Trail, Humboldt NF, NV

Explore lonely alpine scenery in this off-the-radar wilderness.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Thru-hike the John Muir Trail, CA

Trek 211 miles through hiker heaven.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: California's Giant Sequoias, Sugarbowl Loop, Kings Canyon NP

Take a lightly trafficked trail into the word's biggest grove.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Sentinel Dome, Yosemite NP

Bag a granite peak with big views and small crowds.

West Coast Readers' Choice Hikes: Lakes Trail to Pear Lake, Sequoia NP

Get a highlights tour of the High Sierra backcountry.

Rip & Go: Badwater Basin to Gold Valley - Death Valley National Park, CA

Don't waste winter: Tackle this cross-country canyon trek in the Lower 48's largest national park.

Natural Wonders: Blowholes, Salmon Runs, & Wine Country

Hawaii's Nakalele blowhole rivals Old Faithful. Plus: Trek to Oregon's salmon run and California's wine country.

National Parks Hall of Fame: Best Peak

No crowds. No frills. No cakewalk. This hang-on-for-your-life climb is not for the meager-hearted.

Natural Wonders: Sonoma Valley's Wine Country

Wine making and hiking come together perfectly in the Sonoma Valley, where California meets the Mediterranean.

Top 3 Ansel Adams Hikes and Reader Photos

The legendary shooter once said that photographs were "usually looked at, seldom looked into." Take a look into three hikes that inspired some of Ansel Adams greatest photos, and take a few pictures yourself.

America's Scariest Trails: What are You Afraid of?

Haunted mountains? Vanished campers? Bloodthirsty creatures? An evil wind that lures hikers over a waterfall? We dare you to hike America's scariest trails.

America's Scariest Trails: Yosemite's Supernatural Wind

Go ahead and hike to this park's famous lakes and waterfalls. Just watch your step–and your back.

Your Daily Tread: Local Hikes Across the U.S.

What's better than hiking every weekend? Hiking every day. Here are the best big-city escapes from New York to Los Angeles. Plus: Bill Donahue explores the remote reaches of Portland's Forest Park and discovers secrets even locals don't know.

Quick Escapes: 10 Trails Near Major Cities

The perfect metro-area trail: close, wild, uncrowded. Here are 10 major city options.

Undiscovered Hikes: 19 New Trails

Hike these paths before the masses find them.

Vote on America's Best Trail

For our 2010 Readers' Choice issue we want to know your favorite trail in America.

Where Solitude Rules

Sharing is for kindergarten. Take one of these 30 hikes and you can have the wilderness all to yourself.

Where Solitude Rules - More Tips and Tricks

Alternative routes, where to find solitude in the Lower 48, and avoiding the crowds in America's most crowded park

Where Solitude Rules - Lonely Summits

You won't find bottlenecks on these untrammeled peaks.

Where Solitude Rules - Surprise Escapes

Find real solitude amid the crowds at these secret stashes.

Where Solitude Rules - Wilderness Hideaways

Lose yourself in a private paradise the crowds have overlooked.

Top 3 Perfect Substitute National Forests

Get national park-caliber scenery without crowds (or entry fees!) in these dead ringers for Great Smoky Mountains, Zion, and Yosemite.

Party Peaks

Ten perfect summits for your next group hike

Weekend Planner: Quick Escapes

Get big views and rack up long miles with these close-to-home adventures.

America's Newest Wilderness

A quick guide to the best acres, trails, and views.

Natural Wonders: Three Treks to Life-List Phenomena

Check out the world's hottest hydrothermal fumarole, Glacier's grizzlies, and a venus flytryp in North Carolina.

Top 3 Dune Hikes

Trek through a trio of wilderness playgrounds on shape-shifting mountains of sand.

Insider's Guide: Yosemite National Park

With these top day, weekend, and week-long hikes, you'll see more than your fair share of Yosemite's wonders.

Alone in a Crowd: Hiking Yosemite's North Rim

Yosemite Valley may be popular–rightfully so–but it still holds secrets. Hike this long-forgotten trail on the North Rim, and you'll have the granite icons to yourself.

Top Cities to Raise A...

Does your kid want to be an ice climber? How about a thru-hiker, or paddler? These cities have just what you need.

The Best Cities To Raise An Outdoor Kid

Which towns offer the ideal mix of accessible trails, inspiring teachers, and great recreational resources? We worked with The Outdoor Foundation to identify America's top 25 places to beat nature deficit disorder.

The Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid: The Winning 25

From Boulder to Juneau to Bozeman, see which cities made the cut for the best place to raise an outdoor kid, and why.

Swimming Hole Hikes

Time to cool down. Hike to these refreshing swimming holes and settle right into summer.

America's Best Dayhikes

From dawn-to-dusk epics in Utah canyons to lazy-picnic blueberry strolls in Maine–plus hikes to peaks, redwoods, hot springs, beaches, and more–here are 100 ways to spend a perfect day on the trail.

Rip & Go: Glen Camp Loop - Point Reyes National Seashore

Hike across forested hills to gape at ocean vistas just one hour north of San Francisco.

Three Trips to Natural Wonders

Discover the world's oldest tree, America's biggest cavern, and Florida's largest herd of wild horses on these three treks.

Master the Steeps: High-Angle Hiking Trails

First, check out our tips for healthy hiking on steep terrain in the May 2009 issue then, put them to the test on one of our favorite high-angle trails from California to North Carolina.

PACIFIC
Special Survey: Best Cities to Raise an Outdoor Kid

Take your pick of mountains, rainforests, deserts, or the ocean–or experience all four zones in a single day–one advantage of living the outdoor dream along the west coast of America.

Globetrotter: Leo Le Bon, the Godfather of Trekking

In this interview the founder of adventure travel dishes on his favorite wild places, oddest encounters, and the world's next great trekking destinations.

Hikes and Trips in all 50 States

Use our comprehensive state-specific pages to find hikes in your home state our a state you're planning on visiting.

Hikes and Trips in US Cities

Use our comprehensive city-specific pages to find hikes near your hometown or in a city you're planning to visit.

Readers' Choice Awards 2009

Discover the best hike in every state, as voted by BACKPACKER readers. Plus: your essential gear, most desirable tentmate, worst-ever adventure movie, and our picks for the best reader-submitted photos.

Life List: Climb Mt. Whitney

Climb the Lower 48's highest peak on a route with all of the thrills but none of the crowds.

Best Damn Weekend Ever: See California Condors in the San Rafael Wilderness

We'll show you how to see these majestic birds in the wild.

Top 3 Ice Hikes

Witness glittering underground gems, skate across frozen ponds, and wander amid towering walls of ice. Just don't try to lick anything.

The Works: Snowshoe the Sierra

Pick your own path to an empty 14er.

Trip Finder: Indian Summer Hikes

Fall camping season seems to go on forever with these fair-weather weekend trips.

Top 3 Night Hikes

These dark-sky treks serve up perfect viewing spots for autumn's intergalactic bling in North Carolina, New Mexico, and California

America's 10 Most Dangerous Hikes - Mist Trail, Half Dome, CA

Swallowed by Sierra scenery

Terror in the Trees

Ghost stories always seem scarier beside a flickering campfire. So, dim your headlamp and scoot up closer: our writer-at-large explores the ghoulish beginnings of these age-old tales and shares a few of his all-time favorite blood-curdlers. We dare you to read on.

Thru-Hike The Roadless Sierra

Thru-hike the most remote miles in California's range of light



Above & Beyond

The world's tallest tree towers above a secret location deep within the lush, tangled backcountry of Redwood National Park. Determined to find this giant, our correspondent discovers something more incredible than he ever imagined.

Walking the Talk

First John Francis stopped riding in cars. Then he stopped talking. More than three decades, two continent-spanning hikes, and countless trail miles later, he's still following his remarkable path of protest–only now he's not alone.

Phenomenon: Glacial Relics

The Ice Age left its mark from Acadia to Yosemite. Here's scenic evidence.

Don't Pay at the Pump: Photos and Mass-Transit Hikes

After reading Dan Koeppel's latest urban hiking adventure "Don't Pay at the Pump" (September 2008), we guarantee you'll want to crank "Magic Bus" and ditch the car on your next trip to the trailhead. We can help. Our map team has assembled more than 25 hikes you can access via public transportation. Plus, check out more of Michael Darter's photos and read Koeppel's 2004 feature, "I Climbed Los Angeles," to learn about his slightly insane 19-mile L.A. staircase route.

I Climbed Los Angeles

One small step for our stair-obsessed man, one giant leap for fitness freaks everywhere.

Trip Finder: Ridgewalks

From the West Coast to the Rocky Mountains to New England, we've got nine epic ridgewalks just for you.

Big Trips Made Easy: Hayduke Trail, UT

Finding total Southwest solitude

Big Trips Made Easy: Glacier Peak Wilderness, WA

Exploring a high, wild corner of the North Cascades

Big Trips Made Easy: Allagash Wilderness Waterway, ME

Floating a liquid maze in the Northeast's lake-riddled forests

Big Trips Made Easy: High Sierra, CA

Rambling a granite redoubt

Hike It: 4 Big Trips Made Easy

Ready to dial up the adventure meter? Try out your digital skills–and go places most people can't–on these life-list journeys.

The Grand Tetons: 5 Hikes, 7 Days (or so)

How to retrace each segment of the author's perfect week from "A Perfect Week in the Tetons."

Thru-Hike the Tahoe Rim Trail

Spectacular lake views, granite-edged trails, and surprising solitude will make you want to go in circles on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Return of the Natives: Paddling and Hiking Channel Islands' Lost Gem

After nearly two centuries of ecological havoc wreaked by invasive species, the gem of Channel Islands National Park is becoming a paradise again. ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Watch a video and see two photo galleries from the island.

Packing Out Waste: You Can Take It With You

Hikers learn to leave (absolutely) no trace on high-traffic peaks and trails.

Hiking The Sierra High Route

On this burly, 210-mile traverse, which crosses 33 passes and barely touches established trails, you can find Alaska-sized scenery, complete solitude, and just enough risk to keep things interesting.

Rock Star: Brett Dennen

Once a guide and counselor near Yosemite, up-and-coming musician Brett Dennen is now taking his backcountry jams to the masses.

Hot Springs: Soak Here Now

6 more must-dip pools from Alaska to Hawaii

Hot Springs: The Perfect Pool

Here are the top wilderness soaks on the continent. Can you keep a secret?

Trip Finder: Stay-Dry Spring Hikes

Stay dry on spring treks in Minnesota, New Mexico, and more.

Where Have the Animals Gone?

Scientists hike deep into California's wild high country to probe for answers.

Time 2 Go: See Newborn Animals

Looking to catch baby animals taking their first step? You can't go wrong with these picks.

PERFECT DAY: Redwood National and State Parks, CA

Here's longtime ranger Jim Wheeler's plan for an eye-popping adventure among the ancients.

Quick Fix: Death Valley National Park

Badlands, peaks, wildflowers: Catch the best of the California desert with this trio of hikes.

Quick Fix: Death Valley National Park



Hiking Honeymoon: How to ruin a perfectly good marriage

What happens when a couple's vows are tested by hard miles and hunger pains on the John Muir Trail? A sore-footed bride tells all.

Top 3 Get-There-Fast Hikes

You can only get so far off the grid in a single day - that is, unless you take a shortcut into the mountains. Many ski resorts, including the three premier sites mentioned below, open a lift or two in summer and fall, offering an express route to places high and wild. There's no other way to get this deep into the woods this fast.



How to See More Bats

Whether you fear, respect, or applaud these complex creatures of the night, the tips below will help you find and observe them.

Lost & Found

John Donovan disappeared in a high-elevation blizzard, leaving rescuers and friends stumped. His backpack contained a miracle clue. Bill Donahue investigates.

Spend a Perfect Day in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Join Gregory Mountain Products master pack designer for a day in Joshua Tree National Park

How to Thru-Hike L.A. County

Thru-hike L.A. County? It can be done with Southern California's Backbone Trail.

Trip Finder: 2-4 Day Warm-Weather Hikes

Track the sun on these 2-4 day trips in the Southeast, Southwest, and Hawaii

Top 3 Easy Canyoneering Hikes

If you've always dreamed of descending into the center of the earth, try one of these creekbed hikes.

Three Southwestern Hikes to Test Your Senses

Joshua Tree, Zion, and the Guadalupe Mountains are three hike-worthy desert destinations.

Half The Weight, Twice The Fun: Hike The John Muir Trail

Find out what happens when four people hike the 221-mile John Muir Trail in just a week. Then learn how to bag the classic in more sensible lightweight fashion.

Top 3 Literary Hikes

Thoreau, Hemingway, and Kerouac all went into the backcountry to find the right words.

The Plan: Doing Ultralight Right

In 10 days, carrying just 25 pounds, you can pound through the John Muir Trail...happily. Get the plan.

The Gear: Cut the Fluff

Shave pounds from your whole packing list.

The Hike: John Muir In a Week

Got a few days off, a pair of healthy feet, and a pain threshold higher than Dean Karnazes? You can (possibly) blaze the length of America's Most Beautiful Trail

America's Best Campsites

Whether you are after fishing holes or skinny-dipping, Backpacker tracked down the best campsites in the country

The Pacific Crest Trail's High Sierra

Some things are so inevitable there's no sense disputing them: death, taxes, and the unrivaled beauty of the Sierra.

The Pacific Crest Trail's Sonora Pass

You won't want to miss this breathtaking 8-mile dayhike.

Hell On Wheels

Bob Coomber is determined to become the first man in a wheelchair to ascend a 14,000-foot mountain.

Weekend Adventures: Big Tree Hikes

Get ready to feel puny--and profoundly grateful--on three hikes through ancient forests.

Yosemite @ $7.38 An Hour: Seasonal Work in the National Parks

Our scribe-turned-pizzaman labors in the land of granite and pulls back the curtain on the seasonal-employment fantasy.

The Works: Trans-Yosemite Ski Tour

Start packing now for a once-in-a-lifetime ski tour through silent, snow-draped Yosemite.

Climbing, Hiking, and Paddling in Los Angeles

Forget Sunset Boulevard. The City of Angels' abundant coastline and steep canyons will have you creating your own walk of fame.

Adventure Weekend: Hike Big Sur, California

Scratch the picturesque postcard surface of Big Sur...and there's far more than you imagined, including hot springs and high-rise trails.

Paddling's Greatest Getaways

16 wild ways to find backcountry solitude and big-time scenery. All this, and you can bring the ice chest, too.

Backpack, Paddle, and Mountain Bike along California's North Coast

See all (or any) of northern California's three faces.

Ultimate Summer Escapes: The Best Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips Near You

Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being Scott Williamson

To hike from Mexico to Canada and back, a man needs strength and speed and luck. He needs something else, too. If only he knew what it was.

America's Hardest Dayhikes

Push yourself on any of these challenging hikes

Epicenter: The Scene In Bishop, California

Hike and climb-and then kick back-in a High Sierra sweet spot.

High Points: Mt. Whitney, California

You could do it in a day, but don't rush this one.

Death Valley Adventure Guide

Lose the sun-baked stereotype and bring thoughts of shady canyons and breezy passes.

Hike Death Valley's Cottowood and Marble canyons

Flowing water means a lighter load and an easier time exploring

Summer Hiking on the John Muir Trail

A backpacker's go light heaven: thru-hiking California's High Sierra

Secrets of Yosemite National Park

Sneak in the side door for a private viewing of the finest in California's High Sierra real estate.

A Hiker's Guide To Surfing and Snorkeling

Use your backpacking skills at the best surfing, climbing, trail running, and even paragliding spots

Luxury Gone Wild At Ahwahnee

A night in Yosemite's most famous hotel

Balloon Dome, Ansel Adams Wilderness

Don't let well-known Sierra neighbors like Yosemite overshadow this stunning wilderness.

California; Death Valley National Park

Camping in Death Valley might give you the hottest day of your life.

Channel Islands National Park

This wild paradise is the Galapagos of California.

Climbing The Sierras: Banner Peak

Try climbing the standout Banner Peak, just around the corner from Mammoth Lakes.

Climbing Yosemite: Mount Conness

Tuolomne Meadows monarch Mount Conness has been a classic Yosemite climb for years -- and for good reason.

Climbing Yosemite: Matthes Crest

Matthes Crest features superb climbing deep in Yosemite's backcountry.

Death Valley Warmed Over

Time spent in California's Death Valley can be a life-enhancing experience.

Best Backpacking In California

Our comprehensive guide to the best backpacking you can find in California.

Tahoe Rim Trail: A Heavenly Hike

Twenty years of hard work near Tahoe yields a 150-mile path so high, you'll breathe "angel air."

Splendor Hiking The High Sierra

Take the finest mountains in the world, add high-country meadows, glacial valleys, alpine lakes, pine-and-hemlock forests, and what do you have? A recipe for backcountry bliss.

Discover California's Point Reyes National Seashore

In Point Reyes National Seashore, you'll find peace and quiet in the heart of California's earthquake zone.

Hiking California's John Muir Trail

This magnificent trail travels through three California parks while showcasing the natural wonders Muir worked to preserve.

California's Chumash Wilderness: Spritual Salvation

The condors know all about Chumash Wilderness, but luckily, the masses in Los Angeles don't.

Hiking The Pacific Crest Trail

Everything you'd want in a long trail.

Snowy Destinations

Need someplace to go shoe with your snowshoes? Whet your whistle with one of these great places.

Giant Sequoia National Monument

How do you protect the largest trees on Earth? Don't harm them in the first place.

Santa Catalina Island, California

Porpoises escort you to a rugged island where buffalo really do roam.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

Myths and cactus in California: A life-filled land of sand and mountains.

Golden Trout Wilderness, Sequoia & Inyo National Forests, California

Catch rainbows -- trout, that is -- in Rockhouse Basin's rivers, where you're more likely to see a wildcat than another human.

Hiking Henry W. Coe State Park, California

California's second largest park has an impressive trail system.

California's Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park

In the shadow of magnificent Mt. Shasta lies a relic of ancient times.

Hoover Wilderness, California

Lay claim to your own California mountain valley and bask in utter solitude.

California's Smith River National Recreation Area

You're as likely to bump into Sasquatch as another human.

Desolation Wilderness, Eldorado National Forest

Behind the forbidding name lies California's glacier-polished playground.

California's Ishi Wilderness

Ishi Wilderness trails run through stream-carved canyons, past stunning vistas, back to gold rush days.

Lake Pillsbury, Mendocino National Forest, California

Hiking and backpacking at its finest, through pastoral grasslands and forests of pine and fur.

The Men Behind The Bay Area Ridge Trail

Galen Rowell talks about his and others' efforts to make the Bay Area Ridge Trail a reality.

Ansel Adams Wilderness: Witness To Magic

With the click of a shutter, Ansel Adams captured the beauty and soul of wild places and showed us that in nature, there is magic.

California's Trinity Alps: Dr. Seuss Hiked Here

Observe the uncanny resemblance between the good doctor's famous Truffula Trees and a field of fuzz-topped flowers 5 miles up Long Canyon.

Joshua Tree's Bloomin' Good Hike

California: Journey through a desert to bear witness to some of the loveliest wildflowers you'll ever see.

Treasure In San Francisco's Backyard

More than 200 preserves, parks, and other protected wildlands lie within 40 miles of San Francisco, exceeding Yosemite National Park in size, biodiversity, and visitation.

Earthquakes in California's Fish Valley

When hiking California's Fish Valley, don't forget to pack your Richter scale.

Baja Mexico: South To The Sun

Combine white sand beaches and gin-clear water with snow-free highland hiking, and you've got Baja, the perfect midwinter escape.

The Faces Of Fall

If you think autumn is simply a time to rake leaves, then you need to read our guide to the best of the fall season.

Wild As It Ever Was

For almost half a century, California's rugged Ishi Wilderness hid "the last wild Indian." Even today, it is a place that can keep a secret.

California's Cucamonga Wilderness

As ice-cream makers in Los Angeles once knew, the Cucamonga Wilderness is the essence of cool.

Mokelumne Wilderness Loop, CA

Where 100 unknown Sierra miles wait.

California's Carson-Iceberg Wilderness

Dark, volcanic mountains soaring along the Pacific Crest make for a forbidding wilderness perfect for U.S. Marines in training -- or solitude-seeking hikers.

California's Great Western Divide

Can you find solitude in Sequoia National Park? You can if you go off trail.

Santa Catalina Island

Find a new kind of California beach on the undeveloped shores of Santa Catalina Island.

California's Redwood National Park

Walk among giants in Redwood National Park.

California's Trinity Alps

Secret scrambles and lakes abound in this northern California wilderness.

Bay Area Spring Flings

Three Bay Area hikes that'll quickly make winter a distant memory

California's Land Of "Thoughtful" Giants

Redwood Meadow's massive trees and wild countryside have changed little since Muir passed through 100 years ago.

Yosemite On A Bad Day Is Still Good

Sometimes a place is so magnificent that it burns itself into your soul and overrides all sensation-even the urge to heave up your guts.

Yosemite: Treasure Of The Sierra

Forget what CNN and Your Daily News say about Yosemite's crowds and crime and traffic. the "treasure of the Sierra" is still a golden place for backpackers to escape.

California's Sespe Wilderness

A roadless wonder in California's Los Padres Wilderness.

California's Cottonwood Lakes

The trails are lonely and the trout are always biting in this Inyo National Forest hideaway.

California's Dardanelles

Wondrous lava formations in the Sierra's granite kingdom.

California's Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel Wilderness

The best wildlife stronghold in California.

Big Sur's Redwood Trees

If the redwoods don't wow you, there's always the world-class California coastline.

Goat Rocks Wilderness: A Real Eye-Popper

Some say Goat Rocks Wilderness has the best scenery along the 2,600-mile Pacific Crest Trail. Decide for yourself.

San Gorgonio Wilderness: 2 Miles Above L.A.

Sierra scenery at L.A.'s backdoor.

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