5 Day Mineral King Backpacking Loop

As a young lass, Walden West Outdoor School & Summer Camp took me on my first backpacking trips on the Skyline-to-the-Sea route through the Santa Cruz Mountains. As the years went on, they added more offerings in the Sierra, which is how I discovered Mineral King. I’ll never forget flipping through those brochures in awe of kids jumping off rocks into alpine lakes. After 15+ years of waiting, my boots (trail runners, more accurately) finally touched the trails of Mineral King. If you’ve got some time to spare, this 5-day Mineral King backpacking loop is a must-do.

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Backpacking Fourth of July Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness

Backpacking Fourth of July Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness, June 2017

This winter was a Sierra snow year for the books. I’ve lived in California all my life but don’t remember a winter where it rained for three months straight. All the snow meant my Sierra objectives were looking a little bleak and buried. I brushed up on my map and compass skills with REI and hit the trail in Mokelumne Wilderness at the beginning of June. My destination was a place I’ve never been: Fourth of July Lake in the Carson Pass Management Area.

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Backpacking Meiss Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness

Backpacking Meiss Lake, Mokelumne Wilderness Trip Report

My little brother just got back from a brief stint of backpacking through Europe. With his heart still full of adventure, he asked me to take him out somewhere, anywhere. He didn’t give me any criteria and said he was down for whatever, but the first time someone goes backpacking will obviously make or break their experience. After much hemming and hawing, Meiss Lake in Mokelumne Wilderness was my pick.

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Backpacking Fontanillis Lake, Desolation Wilderness

Desolation Wilderness is one of the most popular wilderness areas in the nation. With alpine lakes accessible within several miles of hiking, it’s no wonder that folks flock to this destination from all over the country. If you’re looking for a weekend backpacking trip with the most bang for your buck, look no further than Desolation Wilderness. This 2 day, 1 night loop hits some of the most beautiful spots in the Tahoe wilderness. Here’s everything you need to know about backpacking Fontanillis Lake.

Backpacking Fontanillis Lake, Desolation Wilderness

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