Whitney has something for almost everyone, in one day. Mt. Whitney is absurdly popular. But rather than sneer at the masses who ascend its flanks every year, embrace the mountain’s majestic accessibility.MORE

Peak bagging is, in a sense, a lofty pursuit—though the loft might come from elevated altitude rather than soaring intellect. Whatever your views of Darwinism, use the milestone as a good excuse to head to the mountains to celebrate your bipedal ability and opposable thumbs.MORE

Hiking in the Eastern Sierra is imminently satisfying in and of itself: gaining a ridge or reaching the pass or summiting a peak are all very worthy goals. But there’s something about crossing a mountain range that makes you feel extraordinarily accomplished and closer to the land, somehow...MORE

Everyone goes to Death Valley in spring to see wildflowers, which this year delivered an early bloom. Many years in late winter, fields of Desert Gold blanket the alluvial fans and otherwise barren valley floor east and north of Highway 190 from Salt Creek to Furnace Creek. Purple phacelia punctuate the scene. Our spirits brightened by the color, we first-timers embarked on a laid-back weekend tour outdoorsy enough to be respectable in our hardcore hometown, yet touristy enough to give us a solid introduction to the national park and environs.

Death Valley is huge--3.4 million acres--so targeting just a few intriguing spots was essential. This itinerary took us to the heart of the valley and to the far reaches of Inyo County, sticking to main routes and mostly paved roads.MORE

Frequent Sierra trekkers consider the contents of their backpacks an extension of their very beings. The most famous pack identity is that of early twentieth century Sierra mountaineering legend Norman Clyde. Norman Clyde roamed the High Sierra from his home in the Owens Valley and in the 1920 and '30s recorded more than 130 first ascents, and topped out on every 14,000-foot peak in California.MORE

Late afternoon light filtered in as the air chilled. Even in summer, the Bodie basin is cooler than other Eastside spots at similarly high altitudes. In fall, the aspens dotting the hillsides turn sooner than anywhere else. Autumn is a great time to take a walk through California’s official ghost town...MORE