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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Trip Finder: West

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

by: Laura Onstot

California's Lost Coast. (Ed Callaert)
California's Lost Coast. (Ed Callaert)
Death valley's Eureka Dunes. (Larry Carver)
Death valley's Eureka Dunes. (Larry Carver)
Reader expert Sara Benson. (courtesy)
Reader expert Sara Benson. (courtesy)



WEEKEND
SHORE TRAILS Tahoe Rim Trail, NV
Most hikers shoehorn this 23.1-mile stretch of the Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe Meadows to Spooner Summit into an overnight. Add an extra day to explore side trips like the short Christopher’s Loop spur at the trail’s midpoint, which leads to a lofty cliff perch with an expansive view of the sparkling waters. “It’s the best view of the lake you can get without being in an aircraft,” says Angeline Perdue, of Reno, Nevada. Going south, camp at Marlette Peak, at mile 13, and North Canyon, at mile 18. tahoerimtrail.org

ALL-STAR GEOLOGY Half Dome, CA
Crowds and permits be damned, glacier-carved, 8,836-foot Half Dome still tops your West Coast life list. Since everyone else thinks so, too, take an extra day and break up the nearly 17-mile round-trip hike by camping at Little Yosemite Valley—seven miles from the summit. Nab a $10 backcountry permit (available four months in advance). Leave camp about three hours before dawn and you’ll be back with sunrise photos while the ants are still standing in line, waiting to see the view. nps.gov/yose

MONSTER FLORA Mt. Charleston Trail, NV
Gnarled, twisted bristlecone pines even look their age. See the 3,000-year-old Raintree, the oldest living thing in Nevada, three miles into the 20-mile Mt. Charleston National Recreation Trail loop, which winds through the biggest colony of bristlecones in the Intermountain West. Continue on to bag the three highest mountains in southern Nevada—11,000-foot Mummy, Charleston, and Griffith Peaks—all in one day. No permits necessary: Camp by springs pouring from each peak. fs.fed.us/r4/htnf



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