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We can't talk about backpacking in California without highlighting this stunning alpine region of the high Sierra. Home to the John Muir Trail and countless shorter routes, this is the crown jewel of the state's backpacking for many.
Situated in the east bay hills near the San Francisco Bay Area, this surprisingly remote and rugged park offers the only dispersed camping within several hours of driving. Enjoy a classic California chaparral landscape with few crowds.
The vast wilderness areas and national forests around Lake Tahoe offer weeks of scenic backpacking. Whether you prefer popular or off-the-beaten path, there's a trail for everyone in this alpine playground.
Perfect for beginners and more ambitious backpackers alike, this wilderness area near San Diego offers a big climb or an easy tram ride to a peak with views over the desert floor.