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Pacific Crest Trail: Best Month - High Sierra, CA

ca

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 241.0 miles


Every hiker's life list should include the 270 miles between Mt. Whitney and Sonora Pass. It may take a month, but it's a trivial sacrifice to make for the most unrelenting wilderness eye-candy you'll ever feast on.
  • The Big Hill
  • Crossing Whitney Creek
  • Mount Hitchcock Reflection
  • Climbing to Trail Crest
  • Summit Push
  • Along the Sierra Crest
  • Whitney Hut
  • Jack at the register
  • Into the Whitney Basin
  • Bighorn Plateau
  • Climbing to Forester Pass
  • Snowfield
  • Steep View
  • At the pass
  • Jack at the Pass
  • Long Glissade
  • Kings Canyon
  • East Vidette
  • Kearsarge Pinnacles
  • Kearsarge Pass
  • Rae Lakes
  • Painted Lady
  • Rae Lakes and Fin Dome
  • Lonesome Path
  • Big ford
  • Storms approaching Mather Pass
  • Up to Mather Pass
  • Long Slog to Muir Pass
  • The Muir Hut
  • Climbing to Muir Pass
  • One of the locals
  • Evolution Basin from Muir Pass
  • Evolution Valley View
  • Flooded Meadow
  • Evolution Valley
  • Sierra Alpenglow
  • A Raging Shower
  • Freaked-out Crossing
  • Fery Landing
  • Edison Queen
  • Raging Creek
  • Jack at Silver Pass
  • Glissade from Silver Pass
  • Silver Pass Glissade
  • Lazy bends of Tully Hole
  • The Postpile From Above
  • Devils Postpile
  • Banner and Ritter
  • Banner Peak
  • Dononue Pass
  • Jack at the Muir Hut
  • Inside the hut
  • Jack at VVR
  • Piute Creek Crossing
  • Climbing to the county line

Some things are so inevitable there's no sense disputing them: death, taxes, and the unrivaled beauty of the Sierra. Following the John Muir Trail much of the way, the PCT rambles through dozens of scenes suitable for framing—13,000—and 14,000-foot granite skyscrapers, canyons a mile deep, and thousands of lakes in beds of polished rock. You'll walk the longest strip of roadless trail in the nation and bump into civilization just twice. The best campsite is...virtually anywhere, though an enduringly classic spot to pitch nylon is Vidette Meadow, below the soaring Kearsarge Pinnacles. If you absolutely can't spare more than a week, knock off the 76 miles from Tuolumne Meadows to Sonora Pass; here, the PCT ventures beyond the popular JMT into remote northern Yosemite and the Emigrant Wilderness. And leave your umbrella at home: The Sierra in summer is reliably sunny and mild.

LOCAL WISDOM Flatlanders should hike this stretch north to south to acclimatize before reaching the higher elevations of Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks.

-Mike Lanza

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