One Night Wonders: Couples, Honeymoon Lake
Escape to a high-alpine hideaway.
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John Muir Wilderness, CA
This lake’s granite monoliths and flower-filled meadows, like its name, are Hallmark-worthy. But unlike the scenic all-stars nearby (like Humphreys Basin, 6 miles south), Honeymoon Lake sees very little traffic—thanks to a stout, 3,036-foot climb from Pine Creek trailhead that acts as a privacy screen. The 12-mile out-and-back starts on the Pine Creek Pass Trail and climbs through Jeffrey pines to treeline, where talus slopes reward you with views over the Owens Valley and 14,242-foot White Mountain. Pass Pine Lake and Upper Pine Lake before turning right on the Italy Pass Trail for the quarter-mile hike to Honeymoon Lake, hemmed in by cliffs and fed by waterfalls on its west side. Pitch a tent on one of the shoreline’s rock ledges, admire the sky-snagging peaks surrounding the steely water, and thank us in the morning. Trailhead 20 miles west of Bishop; 37.361166, -118.692131Best season July, for scenic snowfields Permit Free for walk-ins; reservations $5/person (recreation.gov) Contact (760) 873-2483; fs.usda.gov/inyo