Sierra South

Backcountry Trips in California's Sierra Nevada

; Mike White

Find the Best Hikes and Backpacking Trips in California's Sierra Nevada

The rush of trekking through nature, the thrill of experiencing new places, the reward of discovering beautiful sights-all of this awaits in the Sierra Nevada. Les mer
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Find the Best Hikes and Backpacking Trips in California's Sierra Nevada

The rush of trekking through nature, the thrill of experiencing new places, the reward of discovering beautiful sights-all of this awaits in the Sierra Nevada. For more than 40 years, this definitive guidebook has led readers along the top trails between Tehachapi Pass and the southern border of Yosemite National Park. Now, with the revised and updated edition, let hiking experts Elizabeth Wenk and Mike White show you the way.

Sierra South features 80 meticulously selected trips, from new routes to old favorites. Traverse the stunning wilderness areas and national forests of the region, including Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, John Muir Wilderness, Ansel Adams Wilderness, and many more. The trips are organized around major highways and roads, so it's easy to choose your next adventure. Just pick an area, drive there, and go hiking.

Inside you'll find

84 trips that range from quick overnighters to 12-day excursions
Complete trip details, including day-by-day trail descriptions, GPS waypoints, and elevation data
41 trailhead maps that show the routes for every trip
Beginner tips and trusted advice on camping, fishing, and bear safety
Information on side trips, geology, natural history, and more

Planning your trip into the southern Sierra backcountry is easier than ever before. For additional hiking and backpacking opportunities, see the companion guide Sierra North.




Sierra South Locator Map

Going High to Get High

Trip Cross-Reference Table


Updates for the 9th Edition
Care and Enjoyment of the Mountains
Safety and Well Being
Maps and Profiles
How to Use This Book


CA 168 West Side to Kaiser Pass Road Trips

Deer Creek Trailhead (Huntington Lake)

Kaiser Loop Trail

Potter Pass Trailhead (Huntington Lake)

George Lake

Mono Creek Trailhead (at Lake Thomas A. Edison)

Arch Rock and Margaret Lakes
Graveyard Lakes

Bear Diversion Trailhead

Bear Lakes Basin
Medley Lake
Bear Creek to Florence Lake

Florence Lake Trailhead

Martha Lake
Red Mountain Basin

CA 168 West Side to Dinkey Creek Road Trips

Cliff Lake Trailhead (Courtright Reservoir, Dinkey Lakes)

Cliff Lake
Dinkey Lakes

Maxson Trailhead (Courtright Reservoir)

Post Corral Meadows
Bench Valley Lakes
Red Mountain Basin

Woodchuck Trailhead (Wishon Reservoir)

Woodchuck Lake
Blackcap Basin
Crown Lake

CA 180 Trips

Lewis Creek Trailhead

Volcanic Lakes

Copper Creek Trailhead (at Roads End)

Granite Lake
Middle Fork-South Fork Kings River Loop

Cedar Grove Roadend Trailhead

Lake Reflection
Rae Lakes

CA 198 (Generals Highway) Trips

Big Meadows Trailhead

Jennie Lakes

Twin Lakes Trailhead (Lodgepole Campground)

Ranger Lake
Deadman and Cloud Canyons

Wolverton Corral Trailhead

Alta Meadow

Crescent Meadow Trailhead

High Sierra Trail

CA 198 to Mineral King Road Trips

Mineral King Roadend Trailheads (Timber Gap and Franklin Pass)

Pinto Lake
Nine Lake Basin
Big and Little Five Lakes

Tar Gap Trailhead (in Cold Spring Campground)

Hockett Lakes

CA 190 and Sherman Pass Road Trips

Summit Trailhead

Maggie Lakes

Blackrock Trailhead

Redrock Meadows and Jordan Hot Springs


Horse Meadow Road Trip

Gibbs Lake Trailhead

Gibbs Lake

CA 158 Trip

Rush Creek Trailhead

Gem, Waugh, and Thousand Island Lakes Loop

CA 203 to Minaret Summit Road Trips

Agnew Meadows Trailheads

Thousand Island Lake via the High Trail and JMT
Ediza Lake

Devils Postpile Trailhead

Minaret Lake
King Creek Lakes

Fish Creek Trailhead

Silver Divide Lakes

CA 203 to Lake Mary Road Trips

Red Cones Trailhead

Deer Lakes Trailhead

Deer Lakes

Duck Pass Trailhead

Upper Crater Meadow
Iva Bell Hot Springs
Ram Lake and Lake Virginia

McGee Creek Road Trips

McGee Creek Trailhead

Steelhead Lake
Pioneer Basin
Big McGee Lake
Rock Creek via the Silver Divide

Rock Creek Road Trips

Hilton Lakes Trailhead

Hilton Creek Lakes

Mosquito Flat Trailhead

Little Lakes Valley
Mono Creek
Pioneer Basin

Pine Creek Road Trips

Pine Creek Trailhead

Upper Pine Lake
Royce Lakes
L Lake

CA 168 East Side Trips

North Lake Trailhead

Humphreys Basin
Lamarck Lakes
Darwin Lakes
Evolution Basin via Lamarck Col

Sabrina Lake Trailhead

Tyee Lakes
Midnight Lake
Baboon Lakes

Tyee Lakes Trailhead

Bishop Pass Trailhead (at South Lake)

Treasure Lakes
Chocolate Lakes
Dusy Basin
Palisade Basin
South Lake to North Lake

Glacier Lodge Road Trips

Big Pine Creek Trailhead

Big Pine Lakes
Brainerd Lake

Taboose Creek Road Trip

Taboose Pass Trailhead

Bench Lake and Woods Lake Basin

Division Creek Road Trip

Sawmill Pass Trailhead

Sawmill Lake

Onion Valley Road Trips

Kearsarge Pass Trailhead

Flower Lake
Charlotte, Rae, and Kearsarge Lakes
Sixty Lake Basin

Symmes Creek (Shepherd Pass) Trailhead

Whitney Portal Road Trip

Mount Whitney Trailhead

Mount Whitney Summit

Horseshoe Meadows Road Trips

Cottonwood Lakes Trailhead

Cottonwood and South Fork Lakes
Upper Rock Creek

Cottonwood Pass Trailhead

Horseshoe Meadow to Mount Whitney
Milestone Basin and the Upper Kern
Rocky Basin Lakes

Useful Books


About the Authors

Om forfatteren

Since childhood, Elizabeth "Lizzy" Wenk has hiked and climbed in the Sierra Nevada and continues the tradition with her husband, Douglas Bock, and daughters, Eleanor and Sophia. As she obtained a PhD in Sierran alpine plant ecology from the University of California, Berkeley, her love of the mountain range morphed into a profession. But writing guidebooks has become her way to share her love and knowledge of the Sierra Nevada with others. Lizzy continues to obsessively explore every bit of the Sierra, spending summers hiking on- and off-trail throughout the range, but she currently lives in Sydney, Australia, during the "off-season." Other Wilderness Press titles she has authored include John Muir Trail, One Best Hike: Mount Whitney, One Best Hike: Grand Canyon, 50 Best Short Hikes: Yosemite, and Wildflowers of the High Sierra and John Muir Trail, the latter a perfect companion book for all naturalists.
Mike White was born and raised in Portland, Oregon. He learned to hike, backpack, and climb in the Cascade Mountains, and he honed his outdoor skills further while obtaining a bachelor's degree from Seattle Pacific University. After college, Mike and his wife, Robin, relocated to the Nevada desert, where he was drawn to the majesty of the High Sierra. In the early 1990s, Mike began writing about the outdoors, expanding the third edition of Luther Linkhart's The Trinity Alps for Wilderness Press. His first solo project was Nevada Wilderness Areas and Great Basin National Park. Many more titles for Wilderness followed, including the Snowshoe Trails series; books about Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Lassen National Parks; Backpacking Nevada; Top Trails: Northern California's Redwood Coast; Best Backpacking Trips in California and Nevada; Best Backpacking Trips in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico; 50 of the Best Strolls, Walks, and Hikes Around Reno; and Afoot & Afield: Reno-Tahoe. Two of his books, Top Trails: Lake Tahoe and 50 Classic Hikes in Nevada, have won national awards. Mike has also contributed to the Wilderness Press classics Sierra South and Sierra North, as well as Backpacking California. In addition to his books, Mike has written for Sunset, Backpacker, and the Reno Gazette-Journal. A community college instructor, Mike is a featured speaker for outdoors groups. He and Robin live in Reno; his two sons, David and Stephen, live in the area as well.