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.