Exploring California's Palisades

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Each year, BACKPACKER’s editors drag hundreds of products around the globe, looking for the best performance, the biggest innovations, and the sweetest bang for the buck. Last November, we took the finalists to California’s Palisades region as part of the final shakedown, and were rewarded with some of the most spectacular backcountry camping in recent memory. Check out the team’s dispatch from the field.

PLUS: See all the 2015 Editors’ Choice Award winners


beginning February 25.

Hike beta: Second Lake, John Muir Wilderness, The Palisades, California

This site does not support embedded trip maps. View the trip <a href=”http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/2910617″>here</a> instead.


37.128434, -118.427725

; 10 miles west of Big Pine on Crocker Ave./Glacier Lodge Rd.


Required; pick up at Inyo National Forest visitor centers. Only 25 people are permitted to start overnight trips each day for the North Fork of Big Pine Trail from May 1 to November. Reserve up to 6 months in advance at


Day use does not require a permit.

Bear canisters:

 All food, trash and scented items must be stored in bear-proof containers, or counter balanced at least 15 feet above the ground, and 10 feet horizontally from a tree trunk.


(760) 873-2483;

Inyo National Forest