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Pacific Crest Trail: Best Weekend – Mokelumne Wilderness, CA

Hike past bizarre volcanic formations to a campsite offering remote sunrise views of the northern Sierras on this 14.8-mile trek.

Rating

Yosemite this ain’t. Here in the northern Sierra, you leave the ubiquitous granite behind for a surreal landscape of volcanic plugs, lava flows, and colorful pinnacles. The geologic peculiarities begin in Raymond Meadows, which is a few miles north of Ebbetts Pass, the starting point of this south-north traverse. You’ll walk past innumerable bizarre formations scattered between 8,000 and 9,000 feet, across country intermittently vegetated with sagebrush or pine and hemlock. The often-faint trail enhances your sense of remoteness. The most soul-stirring scene: From 8,650 feet on the ridge northeast of Reynolds Peak, you’ll gaze north at a massive, perfectly symmetrical rock dome across the Eagle Creek Valley, and beyond it, cathedral-like Peak 9700. Camp at Raymond Lake, reached by a .7-mile spur midway through this hike, for a stunning show of dawn light.

To Trailhead

Start at CA 4 immediately east of Ebbetts Pass. End at Blue Lakes Rd. From CA 88 in Hope Valley, turn south onto Blue Lakes Rd. and follow it to the PCT, crossing just before the road descends to Lower Blue Lake.

Checking the notes

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