In Spanish, Sierra Nevada means snowy saw range. You can see these mountains are beautiful any time of year, but they’re especially gorgeous when covered in snow. At over 400 miles in length, there are a vast assortment of mountains to summit along its topography. Here’s just four of our favorite mountain peaks to see in the High Sierra.
Not just one mountain but a series of jagged peaks in the Ritter Range, these beautiful specimens can be seen on a clear day from Mammoth Mountain or better yet, head over to the Minaret Vista. Seventeen of them have been given unofficial names from many local explorers. One such name is Clyde Minaret, named after Norman Clyde, and happens to be the tallest of the spires. Winter access to Minaret Vista is via cross country skiing or snowshoeing. Or for those looking for something more leisurely, you can take a snowcat tour as well.
We couldn’t go any further without mentioning THE peak of peaks… Mount Whitney. At 14,505’, it isn’t just the tallest in the range but also the highest in the contiguous United States. While the mountain is within the Sequoia National Park, the easiest place from which to see the towering peak is the Interagency Visitor Center on Highway 395, just south of the town of Lone Pine on the east side of the Sierra. This is because the peak itself is on the far eastern boundary of these parks.
Freel Peak might be the tallest within the Lake Tahoe basin, but the most recognized in the area is Mount Tallac. This is due to its proximity to the shore of Lake Tahoe and relative high elevation. Standing at 3,500’ feet above the shoreline, it dominates the horizon and can be seen from nearly everywhere around Tahoe. A true outdoor enthusiast’s playground, it makes for an enjoyable summer hike and a challenging winter ski. And once you’re done, you can grab a pint or two on the Tahoe South Ale Trail.
When you’re within the wondrous granite gorge of the Yosemite Valley, it’s easy to forget that it’s only a fraction of what the park has to offer. What was known as the “crown of Yosemite” by John Muir, the Cathedral range is home to some of the highest mountains & most rugged terrain in the park. The peak which lends its name to the range derives its name from its cathedral-shaped summit, which was formed by glacial activity. Due to its unique shape it’s also one that can be easily spotted by onlookers.
There’s something humbling about standing below a mountain peak and looking up to its towering summit. Soaring high above the world and covered in snow. They proclaim a dominance over their surrounding landscapes. Don’t let another year fly by. Explore and set your eyes on these notable majestic mountain peaks to see in the High Sierra.
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 https://localfreshies.com
Stay Up to Date
Join our mailing list for updates on hidden gems, events, and more from California's High Sierra.