Lush forests teeming with wildlife, glaciated granite domes, spectacular waterfalls, towering groves of Giant Sequoias, aquamarine pools, lakes, and tributaries, and three of California’s renowned National Parks – Kings Canyon, Yosemite, and Sequoia National Parks. Welcome to the Western Sierra.

Few locations in the world rival the stunning beauty of this renowned section of the Sierra Nevada range. Its natural bounties provide a tremendous range of recreational opportunities with each changing season from backpacking, hiking, and camping, to kayaking, fishing, and white water rafting in the warmer months, to downhill and cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing in winter.

Along with breathtaking views from its rugged peaks, California’s western Sierra is known for its unique geological features and diverse cultural influences. From the earliest Native American inhabitants and Gold Rush pioneers — to today’s colorful residents and visitors who cherish the abundant beauty, adventure and serene peacefulness offered by this treasured California mountain region.

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Western Sierra Resources

Western Sierra Trip Picks

While you may come to take in the “stars” of the High Sierra, use this as an opportunity to have your kids learn a little too by visiting these kids museums on your trip.
best sunset sunrise california high sierra
Join the nation to celebrate National Park Week in California's High Sierra parks.
Hensley lake during spring
The fishing is good. The temps are perfect. Spring is the best time to visit these year-round campgrounds in the Sierra.
Alabama Hills in the spring
You could have a candle-lit dinner or buy flowers to express your love, but why not take it up a notch and visit one of these places for a romantic spring getaway.
Spring wildflowers in the High Sierra Railtown 1897 State Historic Park
Just like the wildlife that is waking up from their winter snooze, this is a great time to get outdoors and experience the High Sierra.
skiing pow at homewood
Fancy a ski break away from the masses? Then be sure to take a close look at these 7 low-key destinations that turn out to be hidden gems in the High Sierra.
family skiing at Mammoth Mountain
Looking for something a bit different for a winter family getaway? You're in luck! The High Sierra's giant playground is home to one-of-a kind adventures that will create memories that will last a lifetime.
June mountain snowboarding views of California Alps on a winter day
Use this bucket list of High Sierra winter fun not as the be all or end all, but a diving board into the possibilities to be found in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Mammoth Mountain Snowcat Tours
Regardless of what winter throws at the High Sierra or if you just need a break from skiing/snowboarding, here's a few fun ideas off the slopes that you can enjoy in the winter too.
Half Dome Village Rink Ice Skating In The High Sierra
Fun, family-friendly and also the perfect way to spend a romantic winter day or night. So grab your skates (or rent some) and enjoy!
McCaffrey House in the winter
The holidays can put a strain on you. Give yourself a bit of "me" time and plan a winter self care getaway. From wine tasting to a digital detox here's 6 self care vacation ideas that will have you coming home re-charged.
Bear Valley in California High Sierra
From working remotely to a family getaway, these winter destinations will have you embracing warmth, sunshine, and snow instead of negative wind-chills and steel grey skies.
hospital rock in sequoia national park native american heritage month
As you take in the Sierra here's how you can honor and learn about all the nations that we're here before European settlers arrived.
Milk and cookies
From the foothills to the highest peaks, this is your chance to explore the many fun Christmas traditions going on throughout the High Sierra.
Thanksgiving pumpkin pie
Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what we have, and this year, we're thankful for these 9 great getaways in the High Sierra!
Tuolumne County Alicias Sugar Shack
8 fun things to do in November in California showing you pretty much have access to the full gambit of four-season fun in the High Sierra.
Halloween in the High Sierra
Make this year's holiday a special one by heading into the High Sierra for some Halloween fun. Here's a snippet of the fun you can find this “spooky” season.
fall foliage on June Lake Loop
Crowds are gone, temps have cooled and most of all mother nature is putting on a show - here's the best fall camping trip locations in the Sierra this autumn.
Yosemite fall festival
Fall is THE time to visit the High Sierra. It's the season for local’s AND visitors alike to enjoy the peace, tranquility AND numerous fall festivals happening in the High Sierra.
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad Railroading Family Vacation Ideas in the High Sierra
Don't let the last glimmer of summertime pass you up without one more family trip to the High Sierra. Here are 7 family vacation ideas that will make everyone happy!
Best Bike Paths In The High Sierra Pope Baldwin Beach Bike Path
Don’t sit in traffic! Instead, pedal your way to see a whole new side of the Sierra on one of these 8 amazing bike paths.
Autocamp near Yosemite National Park on a fall day
Experience the starry skies, listen to campfire stories, and all the best parts of camping without waking up to a sore back!
Cougar Rock Guided Hikes in the High Sierra Arnold Rim Trail
Maximize your time & get an insider’s look at the majestic mountain range in a whole other way by checking out one of these guided hikes.
kennedy meadows relief reservoir high sierra alpine lake
Summertime is here so spark the wanderlust in your soul and get ready to take a dip at one of these scenic lakes in the High Sierra
twain harte high sierra california root beer
From a 20 ft tall root beer mug to a hotel that Mark Twain stayed in these underrated landmarks in the High Sierra are big in history, fun and let residents know they're home.
Resort at Squaw Creek golf course
Perhaps it’s the quaint towns, invigorating mountain air or maybe the elevation. Who knows exactly... but it makes the perfect recipe for your next golfing adventure.
Concerts in the Pines High Sierra Music Festival
Regardless of your favorite live music or the food you enjoy most, we've got you covered. After you finish your day, pull up an Adirondack chair, lay back and take in the easy summertime vibes the High Sierra has to offer while listening to some live music.
high sierra getaway
Scenic byways, roaring waterfalls, ghost towns that time forgot these romantic road trip getaways are the perfect break for summer routines.
kennedy meadows high sierra tuolumne county hiking
While there are activities that can challenge the fittest athletes, you don’t have to be one to enjoy what makes California's High Sierra special.
Eastern Sierra backpacking
Looking for beginner backpacking trips in California? Here's 9 of our favorites in the High Sierra to get you hooked on the sport for life!
Yosemite Falls High Sierra Waterfalls
From historic to iconic, the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range can arguably be considered the best place for viewing waterfalls in the world. This is just a drop in the bucket of the vast assortment of High Sierra waterfall beauty you can check out. What is your favorite on the list?   
Mokelumne River Canyon Calaveras County High Sierra Wildflowers
As winter fades away, it’s “high-time” to plan a trip to the Sierra Nevada and see the explosive color of High Sierra wildflowers that few other places can compete with.
Climb on! Crags, boulders, and routes are just a foot hold away when rock climbing in California High Sierra.
Remove the stress and exhaustion from an adventurous experience and focus on making memories with these soft adventures in the High Sierra.
mariposa county, wild flowers, flower, poppy, poppies, lupine, grass, hills, spring, el portal, merced river, hite cove, cove, hites, trail, hike, explore, orange, green, damian
With over 1,450 species and a bloom that lasts over 6 months it can be difficult to find the displays of flowers. Here's the when and where to see wildflowers in the High Sierra so you can be informed ahead of time.
best california beers mountain rambler brewery bishop california
With such cold, clear, pure water to be accessed, it’s no surprise that these mountains hold many award winning breweries in the High Sierra. But don’t take our word for it.
northstar ski resort romantic getaway
Make this February holiday one to remember with these unique Valentine's Day trip ideas in the High Sierra.
Snowshoe in the High Sierra
Winter-time activities offer you clean-crisp air, snowbound vistas, lesser crowds and so much more. So, for this season, consider a snowshoe adventure in the High Sierra.
foodie road trip california high sierra
Spoil your inner foodie and try some of the tastiest food not just in the state of California but in the country!
mariposa california
Many mountain ranges have ski towns focused only on one time of year but that's not the case in the High Sierra. Here's 9 towns that prove our point.
yosemite family vacation in california high sierra
We're always looking for family friendly destinations with outdoor fun. And we found the perfect family vacation in California High Sierra.
Instead of beelining right to your cabin or hotel room, head to one of these fun theatres that dot the High Sierra. We guarantee they’ll paint magical memories to go along with the fun you have outside.
Mammoth Lakes Horseshoe Lake
Some say spring is the season of love, but autumn offers a lot for couples too. Here's a few ideas for a High Sierra fall romantic getaway.
wine tasting high sierra
Maybe it’s the cool mountain air or the relaxed state of mind. No matter what, wine tasting in the High Sierra is unlike anywhere else. Here are a few ideas for a wine getaway you won't forget.
On the West Coast there's no better place that captures the essence of autumn like here. If you're planning the perfect fall foliage getaway, then this list & some tips will help maximize your leaf peeping when in the High Sierra. Enjoy Mother Nature's display before it's too late.
unique adventures california high sierra
Go motor touring, explore a cavern, take Yosemite by Air - these nine unique adventures in the High Sierra will spark the wanderlust in your soul this summer.
calaveras county
Visit these historic towns in northern California for a charming weekend getaway in the Western High Sierra.
Couple sitting on log near Fallen Leaf Lake
What's the weather in the Sierra Nevada like? What is there to do in each season? Learn what to pack. We cover everything so you're ready.
man hiking in South Lake Tahoe with view of mountains behind him
From frothing whitewater to hiking paradise this list of national forests in the High Sierra will inspire you to explore the great outdoors.
children gold panning kids attractions in California High Sierra
This is no "Fool's Gold". Here's our favorite gold panning California spots in the High Sierra for history, fun, & a chance to pan for gold.
couple enjoying the evening
Go bouldering, soak up the sun, shred up the pow, or just go for a hike - here's 10 things that show you that you can do ANYTHING in the High Sierra in winter.
Columbia State Historic Park
Come celebrate and help preserve California's multitude of natural wonders and cultural heritage by visiting one of these state parks in the High Sierra.
Go where you feel most alive - big trees, big sun, big mountains, big snow. The High Sierra California region is full of wonder that must be seen.
sequoia national park marble falls winter hikes in the high sierra
Scenic vistas, snow-capped peaks, & empty trails combine for an unforgettable experience like no other time of year.
best sunset sunrise california high sierra
From historic marvels to otherworldly landscapes, here's a taste of some of the best spots to get a sunrise/sunset photo in the High Sierra.
Downtown Murphys Go Calaveras
Learn about hidden gems in the Sierra Nevada for a special weekend (or week-long) getaway. Hiking, hot springs, historic towns, and lots more to recharge your relationship.
mercer caverns high sierra attractions
While the iconic destinations are a must for everyone to see here's a list of 6 lesser-known tourist attractions in the High Sierra that are worth the visit as well.
Bonsai Rock Instagramable Places In The High Sierra
It’s no secret that nearly every square inch of the Sierra Nevada is photogenic. And these seven Instagrammable places in California High Sierra definitely showcasing just that!
Glacier Point Road, Yosemite National Park
Make the journey the reward by checking out these roadside attractions in California High Sierra on your way to the National Parks.
Devils Postpile
If you’ve seen the must do attractions in the Sierra Nevada or just want to escape the crowds, these hidden gems in the High Sierra are a great option.
There’s something special about being on the trail, feeling the cool mountain air against your skin and the warmth of the sun hitting your face as you trek onward. It’s these moments in the outdoors that help re-energize your soul for the following week. So, instead of sitting at home wasting away on your couch, try one of these amazing High Sierra hiking trails.
east shore trail on Lake Tahoe
Get lost in the middle of nowhere with the one you love with these fun things to do in California for couples in the High Sierra.
kayaking in California High Sierra
Open water is a highway to adventure in the High Sierra, best traveled by Kayak.
kids attractions in California High Sierra squaw valley via ferrata
Make your good family vacation great by setting aside time to explore these kids attractions in California High Sierra.
Best Scenic Byways High Sierra Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway
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.
Kings Canyon National Park
Mike Pistono--aka @seekingthehorizon_--and his fiance spent four days road-tripping through some of the coolest spots in the Western & Southern High Sierra. Their itinerary packs a lot of awesome into each day and you'll have a blast following along.
Eastern Sierra landscape with Bishop in the background
Help keep the High Sierra beautiful for generations by taking into account some of these responsible recreation tips for your travels.
Sequoia National Park Tunnel Log Driving
Each nook & cranny of the High Sierra is filled with unique things to see. These unique “gems” will inspire you to plan a trip today.
california wild west saloons
From Wild West Saloons to original tourist destinations, these bars aren’t just places to get a drink but an opportunity to soak up some history with your beverage.
dog friendly hike Mt Tallac
Planning a trip with your four-legged family member to the California's High Sierra? Here's some of our favorite dog friendly hikes that you & your pup can enjoy.
South Lake Tahoe Camp Richardson Cross Country Skiing Mt Tallac Winter
Experience the unparalleled scenery, incomparable serenity and heaping amounts of fun you can have in the Sierra Nevada landscape.
California mountain region animals Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep
These animals, plants, fish, and vegetation call only the Sierra their home. These truly hardy folk don't just survive the feast or famine weather cycles... they thrive!
Zephyr Cove Snowmobile Center Snowmobiling In The High Sierra
It's no surprise that snowmobiling is an important part of winter fun in the Sierra Nevada. Here's a sampling of where to rev up that engine & enjoy the snow motorized style.
sledders with masks on in Lake Tahoe
Before you stuff the car and set off on your adventure, here’s a few things to consider before you depart.
oldest buildings in California High Sierra Gray's Station in Truckee California
These building aren’t just the oldest but a chance for a glimpse into the first individuals that migrated here and decided to call the High Sierra home. Like many after them, they came for opportunities and stayed for the beauty.
Carson Pass in Spring with wildflowers
Many come for the beauty and stay for the fun activities. But, these myths and legends of the California High Sierra will have you enchanted.
Stoneman Bridge in Yosemite Valley is a good example of one of the unique California bridges
Although they might be a bit more subdued compared to the other monoliths in California, these unique bridges of the High Sierra are just as interesting to see.
Obsidian Dome snowshoeing on a snowy winter's day
Even if you aren’t an adrenaline junkie or a snow lover these winter outdoor adventures in California High Sierra are a must for all.
Family riding chairlift at Heavenly Mountain with Lake Tahoe in the background
The upcoming 2020/21 ski season will be about flexibility and patience. Find out the latest info on what to expect this winter.
Bodie State Historical Park, Bodie, California
From ghost towns to ranger housing these present historic sites in the Sierra Nevada give us a fun glimpse into the past.
Minaret Vista secluded roads
Remove the stress and anxiety and check out one of these mountain passes only open in the summer months.
1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics
From Olympic dreams to gold fever, here's 5 important dates in the High Sierra history that helped put California on the map both financially and internationally.
Historic Town Of Bodie
The Sierra Range may be home to a host of adventures but don’t skimp on checking out its unique past.
names of places in california
Just like a good meal, you may come for the main course of adventure... but like a good appetizer, the history of names of places in California High Sierra reveal a hidden and fascinating story.
California High Sierra Covid-19 Update
If planning to visit the High Sierra during COVID-19 do a little planning by checking these pages as a courtesy towards your fellow travelers & residents.
Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir at Glacier Point in Yosemite Valley
From the most famous to the trivial, John Muir's words inspire. Continue on to read "John of the Mountains" descriptions of places he saw and visited in the High Sierra.
a glass of red and a glass of white
Fuel your wanderlust by exploring these lesser known Northern California wineries in the High Sierra.
Tuolumne Meadows
At 2,000+ miles long doing the PCT is a tall order instead these day hiking adventures are a great place to start to get a taste of it.
fly fishing at Convict Lake
From decompressing in a B&B to enjoying the wilderness the High Sierra will make sure that you find the serenity you’re looking for.
Mark Twain
Was it the High Sierra and its wildness that shaped Mark Twain? Or, was it his words that painted a viewpoint of this place? Read on to find out.
obscure things to see in California
Looking for an unusual High Sierra break from big time adventures? Here are some quirky and unusual things to do in the rugged Sierra Nevada.
Hollywood in the High Sierra Historic Downtown Truckee
From romantic comedies to sci-fi flicks to American classics, the High Sierra has set the stage for many a film.
El Capitan shrouded in clouds
These 5 California documentaries about the High Sierra are both entertaining and edifying. 
Yosemite el cap view
Stay in touch with your friends & co-workers via video conferencing and show your love for the High Sierra by using one of these virtual backgrounds!
Lunar Rainbow at Upper Yosemite Falls
If you’re looking to refresh yourself mentally, emotionally, and maybe even spiritually here's some fun things you can enjoy of the High Sierra from the comfort of home.
Here's some fun and unique ways to enjoy the California High Sierra from a safe and social distance.
Solo Adventures
Take a trip that’s for you and by you and explore these epic solo adventures in the High Sierra.
High Sierra Yosemite National Park
Here's 10 Sierra Nevada mountain facts from the interesting to the quirky, and just downright bizarre you may not know about this iconic mountain range.
exterior of Tenaya Lodge
Looking for accommodations in the High Sierra? Consider one of our lodging partners listed below.
Bishop big horn sheep
From seeing endangered species to unparalleled views via cross country skiing or snowshoeing, you don’t want to miss out on these amazing guided winter hikes in the High Sierra.
woman in winter snowfall Lake Tahoe California
Don’t be Mr. Grinch this winter. Instead, here's 4 reasons to be like Olaf from Frozen and embrace the snowy fun in the High Sierra.
Mount Tallac
Soaring high above the world mountains proclaim a dominance over their surrounding landscapes. Don’t let another year fly by here's 4 mountain peaks to see in the High Sierra.
Bristlecone Pine Forest
We invite you to not just see the 7 Wonders of the High Sierra but also to experience them in all their splendor.
santa on a snowcat at alpine meadows
From being part of a world record torchlight parade or you’re boogieing it in 'til the early morning, there’s a New Year’s Eve celebration for you this December 31st in the High Sierra.
Bridalveil Fall Cathedral Rocks in Yosemite National Park Quintessential High Sierra
No matter when you visit, these High Sierra experiences provide a great sampling of what lurks in this part of California. As John Muir eloquently said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.”
Bear Valley Snowmobiling winter fun in the High Sierra
If you’ve never visited the High Sierra in the winter, these three unforgettable experiences will show you why you’ve been missing out!
gold panning California Gold Rush
Instead of reading about it in history books, why not experience the California Gold Rush in the High Sierra in person.
Castle Peak Bagging Sierra Nevada Truckee
This list of peaks to summit isn't the toughest or most grueling but rather to inspire you to try the activity known as peak bagging!
Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad Railroading in the High Sierra
From seeing historic trains to a fun and easy way to the slopes, railroading in the High Sierra is like nowhere else in the country!
Birding In Yosemite Northern Pygmy Owl
Here's our list of favorite bird watching trails and sanctuaries in the High Sierra perfect for an afternoon well-spent among nature.
Via Ferrata
When venturing deep into the mountains visitors are looking for empty beaches, quiet roads, and a destination all to themselves. Discover the secret season in the High Sierra to get all that and more!
Weird Festivals In the High Sierra
From creepy crawl-ees to itchy leaf-ees, howl your way into fun this fall when you visit these three weird, off-the-wall festivals.
Yosemite National Park Night Sky
Did you know that 80% of humanity can't see the Milky Way? Fortunately, stargazing in the High Sierra gives you opportunity to see this and much more!
tomato on 2 forks
It isn’t the end of the road but rather the journey that creates the experience & lasting memories. Here's a few ideas in the High Sierra to truly savor the flavors of this mountain range!
Fire works on Mammoth Mountain, CA
These events will keep you entertained & make sure you celebrate the America's independence the right way... with FUN!
Dogwoods and Bridalveil Fall
Folks don’t realize how close three of California’s National Parks really are... and the Majestic Mountain Loop gives you the opportunity to visit all THREE in a three day road trip.
Lake & River Cruises In The High Sierra
Enjoy water or just want to experience something different, look no further than a lake or river cruise in the High Sierra. These will create memories that will last a lifetime!
Van Sickle Bi-Sta
Here's three state parks in the High Sierra that showcase all the adventures you can have year-round
Bass Lake Fishing Derby
Make this fishing season one for the history books by entering a fishing derby in the High Sierra.
Webber Lake High Sierra Lake Fishing
Be the one that comes home with grand tales of the “monster” you caught and the envy of all your pals. When it comes to fishing, the lakes in the High Sierra offer you some of the best in the world.
Calaveras Frog Jumping Contest
From the crazy pack scramble to hot power sawing and even leaping frogs, these three High Sierra festivals showcase what makes this region so special.
Parker Lake Fishing in Mono County
Catching the “Big One” is a relaxing way to get away from the stress of everyday life and a picturesque way to get to know the California High Sierra. All you need is a little bait, maybe a boat and a love of the great outdoors to fish the High Sierra.
sequoia national park big trees hike
Don’t let another weekend or vacation pass by without exploring one of these many kid friendly activities in the High Sierra.
Majestic Yosemite Hotel Historic Lodges In The High Sierra
Historic lodges in the High Sierra are more than just a place to rest up between experiences. They qualify as destinations in their own right. Here's a glimpse into some of the most legendary.
off roading in the High Sierra
Get off the beaten path & explore the rugged side of the Sierra Nevada. You won’t regret it!
Christmas festivals in the high sierra
Get in the holiday spirit by checking out one of the many Christmas festivals in the High Sierra. From one-of-a kind experiences like the Bracebridge Dinner to festive parades.
Bristlecone Pine Forest
Looking for a bucket list of natural wonders to see? Here's four worth exploring from the well-known to some hidden gems that exist deep in the High Sierra.
Kayaking Lake Tahoe Sunset
While there are always new fitness fads out there, why not try a classic – Kayaking! It’s one of those activities that puts you right in the center of nature and provides an excellent workout. We love paddling & think kayaking in the High Sierra is some of the best in the world.
The Sierra Nevada gives the BEST of both worlds. It cools off at night, letting you sleep comfortably while warming up during the day for activities like fishing and hiking. Remember... summer is only so long so get out there and enjoy it!
The High Sierra is a great, big, wonder-filled playground perfect for families. These family adventures are just waiting to engage, inspire and entertain everyone - and make you healthier and happier.
From first-timers to seasoned mountain bikers, these are just a sampling of the best lift-served / shuttle accessed mountain biking High Sierra has to offer. So, go ahead and plan a getaway to let yourself breathe the fresh air and melt your cares away along one of these epic trails.
Tuolumne Grove Giant Sequoia - Kim Carroll
The California High Sierra is famous for its soaring mountains, deep canyons, roaring waterfalls and the only NATURAL home of the giant sequoias. Existing only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada, these groves of giant redwoods must be seen in person to really capture their grandeur.
Columbia State Historic Park Dog Friendly Trip Ideas in the High Sierra
These are just a few of the adventures you can have with your pup in the High Sierra. The opportunities are endless and each region is host to a large assortment of places to stay and eat. So, the next time your thinking of an adventure with your furry friend, come visit the California High Sierra.
Bike, ski, climb and paddle your way through the High Sierra during this epic weeklong road trip. Experience a night under the stars followed by a day discovering California’s unique dining options. Pack some camping gear and don’t forget to bring the camera on this east side adventure.
For those who like to play as hard as they work, the High Sierra offers plenty of opportunity. From late nights and live music in South Lake Tahoe to backcountry adventures in Yosemite National Park the adventure doesn’t stop until you throw in the towel.
Giant sequoias, raging waterfalls and Yosemite Valley vistas are just a few of the adventures to enjoy in the Southern Sierra. Families, couples and explorers of all ages will find plenty to discover during this weeklong adventure.
An adventure for families and the young at heart, this trip explores California’s rich history while taking explorers from the Tahoe Basin to the Central Valley. Discover local cuisine and outdoor recreation in all seasons with the whole family. The Reno-Tahoe airport is the gateway to the region and offers daily shuttle services to Truckee, North and South Lake Tahoe.
Explore the culinary adventures, art and history in California’s High Sierra with this 6-day trip.

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