When it comes to ranking the best outdoor destinations in America, there’s probably no better authority than Outside Magazine. So when they named a Northern California hike as one of the best in America, you should probably listen.
The magazine listed their “Most Beautiful Hikes in U.S. National Forests” and to our surprise, the Stanislaus National Forest made the list. According the write, the hike in the Emigrant Wilderness is Upper Lewis Lake and Granite Dome is one of the best.
Here’s what Outside Magazine said about the hike:
Upper Lewis Lake and Granite Dome
Stanislaus National Forest, California
The Forest: Stanislaus National Forest offers nearly 1 million acres (898,000 to be exact) of rivers, mountains, and backcountry lakes, encompassing similar topography as its super-famous neighbor, Yosemite National Park. The forest occupies the choice space between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, protecting quintessential alpine terrain in the Sierra Nevada.
The Hike: the 113,000-acre Emigrant Wilderness butts right up against Yosemite National Park, and 10,322-foot Granite Dome sits squarely in its heart. There’s no official trail up the monolith, but on all sides are easy scrambles that require no technical climbing. From the Kennedy Meadows Trailhead, take the Huckleberry Trail, which follows Summit Creek before climbing steeply past a series of backcountry lakes and high alpine meadows, full of wildflowers in the summer.
Then ditch the established Huckleberry Trail for a non-marked side trail between Summit Creek and Lewis Lakes Creek, roughly seven miles from the Kennedy Meadows Trailhead. Follow cairns to Sardella Lake and then Upper Lewis Lake, at the base of Granite Dome, a nine-mile hike from Kennedy Meadows. From here take an easy class II scramble up the north side of Granite Dome. From the top, you can see several backcountry lakes, as well as the volcanic ridges of Leavitt and Grizzly Peak, and as far as the northern peaks of Yosemite National Park.
Greta feature from Outside! Have you done this hike?