This three-day, 31-mile point-to-point runs south across two passes, rambles along tear-drop alpine tarns, and passes campsites framed by classic High Sierra vistas. The route starts out at the flattest section of the trail, but soon charges toward the higher elevations of the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Finish at Devils Postpile National Monument, where frozen columns of lava pierce the sky around the volcanic shoulders of Mammoth Mountain.
Shutterbugs: At mile 18.5, snap your own version of the scene shown below. (Ansel Adams’s classic photo of Banner Peak and Thousand Island Lake was also shot near here.) Get the best light in early morning and late afternoon.
-Mapped by Andrew Matranga
TO TRAILHEAD: Start: CA 120 E to Big Oak Flat Road. Follow to Tuolumne Meadows Ranger Station for parking and wilderness permits. Best to reserve in advance: nps.gov/yose
Stop: There is a shuttle bus from Devils Postpile National Monument to Mammoth Mountain Ski Area during summer months: nps.gov/depo. Mammoth Town has a shuttle that stops at the Ski Area for local access.