Although hiking into the great unknown brings a sense of thrill, many times you end up missing a lot unless you’re a person who spends hours researching your journey ahead of time. Most of us can’t devote lots of time seeking out information about our next adventure. Instead, try one of these guided hikes of the High Sierra and enjoy your free time to the fullest.

Sunset Hikes to Cougar Rock

Learn more about the sunset hike

Distance: 4 miles

Elevation gain: 900 feet

Cougar Rock Guided Hikes in the High Sierra Arnold Rim Trail
Image appears courtesy: Arnold Rim Trail Association

If your favorite hikes happens well after a leisurely brunch (or day about town), fear not leisurely wanderers. We’ve got you covered! A sunset hike to Cougar Rock along the legendary Arnold Rim Trail is the perfect outing. Whether going on your own or with a guide, the hike to Cougar Rock is about a 4 mile loop with a 900 foot elevation gain. Looking for guidance? Check in with the Calaveras Visitors Bureau to find the next guided Arnold Rim Trail Hike planned for your next visit. For this semi-monthly guided hiking event, Arnold Rim Trail Association docents guide you, your friends, and fellow solo/group hikers to the top of Cougar Rock where you can watch the sunset. No sign-up is needed. If you haven’t done a sunset hike before, you owe yourself to try one. You won’t regret it.

Walk Amongst The Tufa Towers Of Mono Lake

Learn more about the South Tufa Tour and others available in the summer months

Length: One Hour
Elevation Gain: Minimal

South Tufa, Mono Lake, California
South Tufa, Mono Lake, California

Adjectives like “unique” or “special” don’t give Mono Lake justice. Situated on the eastern side of the Sierra, this body of water formed some 760,000 years ago from a much larger fresh-water lake known as Lake Russel. Learn more about its history and biology by joining one of the South Tufa Tours every day at 6pm throughout the summer. In the hour-long excursion, your tour guide will direct you through the groves of Tufa Towers and provide insight into all that makes Mono Lake so special. These tours fill-up quickly so be sure to reserve your space on the tour here. 

Truckee Donner Land Trust Hiking Series

Explore Visit Truckee-Tahoe’s Summer Hiking Series

Distance: Varies
Elevation: Varies

guided hike in Truckee in Donner Summit Canyon
Image appears courtesy – Truckee Donner Land Trust / Visit Truckee-Tahoe Photo by: Herb Hwang

Since Truckee Donner Land Trust formed in 1990, they’ve protected nearly 40,000 acres of land. Within their managed properties, they’ve created numerous opportunities for the public to enjoy via trails and campgrounds. Introduce yourself to its network of trails by joining one of the many Truckee Donner Hikes throughout the summer. The list of hikes include everything from a seven mile stroll through wildflower rich Lacey Meadows to strenuous hikes on the Royal Gorge Rim Trail featuring expansive views of the Sierra Crest.

Sentinel Dome & Taft Point       

Learn more about tour guides in Yosemite

Distance: 4 miles

Elevation gain: 700 feet

guided hike to Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau Sentinel Dome
Photo by: Nancy Robbins – Image appears courtesy: Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau

This list couldn’t exist without a guided tour through the legendary Yosemite National Park. In John Muir’s own words, “It is by far the grandest of all the special temples of Nature I was ever permitted to enter.”

Out of any area to visit with a guide, this is it. It will make you appreciate the park that much more. The adventure begins with a short jaunt up to the summit of Sentinel Dome, one of 10 places to get the “Shot”. On the way to one of Yosemite’s 8,000-foot peaks, you’ll learn about the natural features of the park. From here, you’ll have breathtaking panoramic views of ALL Yosemite. Then, it’s off to one of Yosemite’s geological wonders, the Taft Point Fissures. You’ll finish the hike with the pièce de résistance, Taft Point overlook, presenting you with one last spectacular vista. And this is only a sampling of the seasonal guided tours provided by YExplore Yosemite Adventures’.

Pope House Tour

Learn more about the guided tour of the Pope House

Length: One Hour Fifteen Minutes
Elevation: Minimal

Pope Estate at the Tallac Historic Site guided hike
Image appears courtesy: Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority

History buffs and architectural enthusiasts will love this tour. More than a century ago on the southern shore of Lake Tahoe laid what’s described as the “Grandest Resort In The World.” Next to it, three of San Francisco Bay Area’s socially elite families built their summer retreats. This resort and three estates have become what is now called the Tallac Historic Site. Join a docent as they guide you through one of the oldest structures in the Lake Tahoe Basin, located inside the historic site – the Pope House. As you walk through the 5,000 square foot mansion, you’ll learn about the people behind the opulence. Hear about Lake Tahoe’s history, development, and the oral legends of the site. And at the end, make sure to soak up the culture, sun, and a frosty pint at one of the many summer après spots in Truckee.

Walk Amongst The Giants

Learn more about group tours in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks

Distance: 1.5 miles
Elevation Gain: Minimal

Guide hikes in Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks
Image appears courtesy: Visit Visalia – Sequoia Guides

Some say everything is bigger in Texas, but we’re guessing they haven’t visited Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in the High Sierra. Home to the largest trees in the world, experience them with a fun-loving naturalist guide via a day hike with Sequoia Guides. They’ll craft a custom route which can include a variety of attractions from the General Sherman Tree to Moro Rock that’s perfectly catered to your group as they lead the way.

Go Further

Ever wanted a weekend backpacking trip but didn’t know where to start? Then consider joining the Sequoia Parks Conservancy on one of their adventures such as the Wild Heart, Quiet Mind Backpacking Trips. You’ll have the support from experts from when you sign up to out on the trail. They’ll ensure your bag is filled with the right gear and guide you through one of the most beautiful areas in Sequoia National Park – the Mineral King area. Along the journey, they’ll help you identify the classic flora and fauna of the region.

If this is your first time visiting or you’re a seasoned veteran, why not take the guesswork out and let the experts handle it? Guided Hikes of the High Sierra will maximize your time and offer you an insider’s look at the majestic mountain range in a whole other way. From twilight endeavors to fauna scavenger hunts, you’ll have a blast in the High Sierra.

Author: Alex Silgalis

Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.

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