A Peakbagger's Guide to Climbing

California has 15 official "fourteeners," or peaks taller than 14,000 feet in elevation. You can stand on the top of all of them, but some are hikes while others require climbing skills and equipment.

Even the "easy" California 14ers are very strenuous hikes. You'll need to train well, acclimate to the elevation to avoid altitude sickness, time your hike for good weather, and carry essential gear. Be safe out there!

Mt. Whitney

Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in all 48 contiguous US states, and you can walk to the top without climbing gear (though it's not easy!). It's the most popular California 14er hike and offers stunning views of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains.

14,497 feet

Mt. Tyndall

Mt. Tyndall is often climbed together with its neighbor, Mt. Williamson. The two require class 3 scrambling and the experience to do it safely. Careful scramblers will enjoy incredible views from the summits of these two strenuous California mountain climbs!

14,018 feet

Thunderbolt Peak

The shortest official 14er but the most technically challenging, you'll need rock climbing skills and alpine climbing experience - and perhaps a good mountain guide - to stand atop this airy summit.

14,003 feet

Mt. Shasta

Mt. Shasta is unique among California's tallest mountains. It's the only 14er in the Cascade range and generally requires snow travel year-round. Most hikers will need to hire a guide and build their fitness to safely summit Shasta, but it's otherwise doable for novice climbers.

14,162 feet

Learn more about California's tallest mountains at

This interactive trip planning guide is packed with checklists, key questions, and recommendations to take the worry out of planning your first or biggest backpacking trip.