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The main attractions in the High Sierra are just that… amazing and worth the visit. But what if you want to truly get away from the crowds? Then venturing off the main thoroughfares onto the smaller roads will lead you to the best the High Sierra has to offer. This is especially true for the world famous loops that exist. Here are some of the best scenic byways in the High Sierra that you should check out this summer especially for the peace & quiet.

Sierra Vista Scenic Byway

Best Scenic Byways High Sierra Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway
Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway – Image appears courtesy: Visit Yosemite – Madera County. Photo by Kim Lawson

Over four million people visit Yosemite annually which translates to throngs of people. Sure, you can hit up the hot spots early in the day, but what if you yearn for less people? It’s time to head over to the Sierra Vista Scenic Byway. Here you’ll find the exact geographical center of California. Your eyes will feast on granite domes, glaciated peaks, high mountain meadows & minimal people on the nearly “100-mile” loop. Some of the key attractions on the byway are the Nelder Grove, Jones Store, Globe Rock, Mike High Overlook and Mammoth Pool.

June Lake Loop

Best Scenic Byways High Sierra
Image appears courtesy: Visit Mammoth

Are you looking for a relaxing day trip with scenery resembling the Swiss Alps? Then the June Lake Loop is where it’s at. The drive is approximately 15 miles filled with dramatic Sierra peaks and alpine vistas containing a chain of gorgeous lakes. Grant Lake, Silver Lake, Gull Lake and June Lake all nestle in a steep, horseshoe shaped canyon. You’ll also find world-class road cycling, fishing, hiking, boating, horseback riding, camping and the town of June Lake. It’s a place where you’ll still find family owned businesses such as Ernie’s Tackle and Ski Shop, founded by Ernie Felkins in 1932. The June Lake community is low key and more geared towards the natural beauty that exists here. For more adventures like this and more, check out the Mammoth Lakes Tour Itineraries guide.

Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway

Best Scenic Byways High Sierra
Instagrammer @Haydee_MaaDurga feeling the love I Courtesy of the Calaveras Visitors Bureau

With hundreds of miles of trails through designated wilderness, Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway is frequently referred to as one of California’s best kept secrets. Here you’ll see some of the most majestic natural wonders the High Sierra has to offer. An internationally beloved destination in and of itself, kick up the sense of adventure on your next trip to Yosemite or Lake Tahoe by planning a route through the Ebbetts Pass corridor. It’s an easy loop to some of California’s most spectacular internationally adored destinations. As one of the country’s most dramatic byways, enjoy epic roadside views from idyllic wildflower-filled meadows, quaking aspen forests electrified by brilliant fall colors, refreshing High Sierra lakes, sheer cliffs, wild rushing rivers, glacially carved valleys, bald eagles, hot mineral pools, historic structures, and the first discovered majestic stands of Giant Sequoia. And this is all within the span of about 60 miles.

We’re serious when we say this is one wild ride. You’ll definitely want to leave the towed rigs and extra long RVs behind. Coming from the Bay Area? Hop on Highway 4 East through Calaveras county’s charming gold rush towns and national award winning small craft vineyards before emerging into one of the most pristine free designated wilderness areas in all of California. Ready to learn more about the area? Visit today to scout out the region or to get free personal assistance planning your next Ebbetts Pass High Sierra adventure.

The High Sierra isn’t just a place filled with many one-of-a kind wonders. It’s also a destination to remove the tension of city life. Get away from the mid-summer heat, the terrible traffic and check out one of the many scenic byways in the High Sierra. Don’t let another weekend pass without a respite.

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex Silgalis is an outdoors travel writer who enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, or having a cold one from a local mountain brewery. See more of Alex’s work at

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