Backpacking northern California offers a wide variety of scenic alpine trails that will have you backpacking in awe inspiring wonder into some of the most spectacular backpacking destinations in northern California's majestic Sierra Nevada mountains. The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs the entirety of California and crosses through much of the California wilderness and forest lands. There is also the Tahoe Rim Trail that winds through some parts of the Lake Tahoe region and Desolation wilderness. A bit further south the John Muir Trail takes backpackers on an epic hike from Yosemite to Mt. Whitney on a 210 mile backpacking trip of a lifetime that can be done all at once or in three 7 - 10 day sections.
A few of the alpine lakes in Desolation Wilderness and Crystal Basin - Lake Aloha, Pyramid Peak, Lake of the Woods, Ropi Lake, Island Lake, Dicks Lake, Mt Tallac, Gilmore Lake, Half Moon Lake, Susie Lake, Dicks Peak, Heather Lake, Clyde Lake, Forni Lake, Twin Lakes, Lake #3, Van Vleck Ranch
Click Terrain for Topo View
Backpacking Desolation Wilderness can be a hiking experience with many Pros and Cons. As one of the most crowded wilderness areas in California you really have to pick the right place and the right time to hike desolation wilderness trails. At Adventures Outdoor we do as much hiking as possible during the week to avoid some of the crowds. We suggest camping at less popular alpine lakes, and do some day hiking into the busy areas from your camp.
following simple guidelines. Plan the trip according to your ability and experience. If you are just starting out backpacking, keep it simple, know your limits. Plan your trip around good weather, be flexible. How much can you carry determines how far you can go. Get a good topographical map and know how to read it. Learn the area before your backpacking trip with day hikes, or walk the trails on a CD version of the map, read a hiking book. Have a good back-up plan and an emergency plan.
Backpacking training - start training, hiking using light comfortable shoes and work your way into your hiking boots. When you are up to 2+ miles or more with little effort it is time to add weight to your back. Start with 10 - 15 lbs of weight in a day pack or your backpack and train with it on. Add weight accordingly until you reach something close to what you will be carrying on your backpacking trip. If possible you must add elevation to your training hikes, it will make the difference. If you do the weight and elevation training, you will have a much greater chance of success backpacking the Sierra Nevada mountains here in northern California!