1-2 Night Sierra Trip Help

Ben Miller

Feb 26, 2018
Hi Everyone,

Need some help. Recently moved to CA (LA-area) and am looking to for a 1-2 night trip in the Sierras. Aiming for early June (8-12th ish).

Me: Experienced backcountry light/ultralight. Know the Winds/WY/MT/ID well, and have done off-trail backcountry in the Wrangells (can check my post history on that). I'll be carry most of our gear, etc.

My Partner: Day hiker but has never backpacked before. Can do 10-15 miles with 2000ish elev. gain without a pack. She'll have a pack for this trip, but I'll be carrying most of our weight.

As you can guess, this is my "I hope you like backpacking as much as I do" trip. I want to show her big granite and cold lakes. I'm just not knowledgeable about the Sierras. Not sure what's snowed in, and what would be a good short trip for us.

Any suggestions?


Jan 11, 2018
She's unlikely going to have fun driving from LA as a first time backpacker and doing 15 miles at altitude, so I've noted hikes where you don't have to go far for incredible views and that have higher elevation trailheads (and less gain). Your best bets are Little Lakes Valley (toward Morgan Pass), Bishop Pass (however far you want, potentially into Dusy Basin), Sabrina Lake (Sabrina Basin), and Saddlebag Lake (20 Lakes Basin). There's likely to be more snow the further you go north. Saddlebag Lake is still closed, for example.

You'll need also need a backcountry permit: https://www.recreation.gov/permits/233262/registration/detailed-availability. Some areas also require bear canisters.

Also, it's Sierra.


Dec 5, 2017
I have no suggestions for hikes, but if possible I recommend doing at least a few training hikes with some weight in her pack. Even though you'll be carrying a lot of the load, it can still be helpful for her to have a feel for the pack and know if there's any discomfort that can be addressed ahead of time, either with shoulders/hips or feet in boots that aren't used to having extra weight pushing on them.


May 16, 2016
I'd aim for Cottonwood Lakes if you can get a permit. I don't know if the gate will be open that early or if you'd have to walk the road for a bit.
It looks like the lakes are ice free https://apps.sentinel-hub.com/senti...1-11-01|2022-05-29&atmFilter=&showDates=false

Another possibility is Matlock Lake out of Onion Valley. You could camp at Matlock Lake and have fun poking around or you could dayhike to the top of Kearsarge Pass and maybe down to Kearsarge Lakes if you are feeling strong.

Looks like permits are available for both Cottonwood Lakes and Kearsarge Pass for your time frame.

I haven't been to any of @fossana recommendations, but they are all classic locations in the Sierra.
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
P Summer night in Yellowstone Backpacking 4
P Yellowstone, one night by a lake Backpacking 19
Rockskipper Night Hiking General Discussion 19
Udink Bag Night Challenge 2022 General Discussion 57
balzaccom Author's night--come join me! General Discussion 2
angeedraper Canyonlands - Needles 2 Night Backpacking (April 29-May1) Backpacking 0
Udink Bag Night Challenge 2021 General Discussion 119
Perry Teal Lake Lollipop Over Night Trip Backpacking 21
WasatchWill A Night at Notch Lake Backpacking 10
andyjaggy Suggestions for 3 day 2 night trip in March or April. Trip Planning 2
M Non-technical 1-2 night backpacking w dogs and kids - Escalante-ish area in April? Trip Planning 14
IntrepidXJ Bag Night Challenge 2020 General Discussion 99
tropicalwanderer What to do: Grizzly in camp at night General Discussion 22
forest dweller Seeking advice for a 5 or 6 night Banff or Jasper backpacking trip for a married couple with different ideas of what awesome is!!! Trip Planning 7
R 6 Day 5 Night hike Kintla Lake to Bowman Lake early August advice Noobs: Introduce yourself! 0
WasatchWill A Night on Y Mountain Backpacking 7
Ugly Another Friday Night... White Winter Sports 7
Ugly Friday Night at Norway Flats Backpacking 4
C 3 night at Havasu Falls Part 4 Backpacking 3
Artemus Bag Night Challenge Results Summary General Discussion 0
Artemus Bag Night Challenge 2019 General Discussion 225
WasatchWill A Night on Sand Creek Hiking & Camping 14
DrNed Ideas For 1 Night Backpacking In Utah Desert? Trip Planning 10
Ugly Oh Catherine, A Quick Night, Beautiful Dawn Backpacking 2
Tystevens Dog friendly 1-2 night trip within a couple hours of I70 in Utah or Colorado... Trip Planning 4
WasatchWill A Night on the Wedge Hiking & Camping 12
Ugly Wednesday Night's Red Pine Winter Sports 2
Jackson Bag Night Challenge 2018 General Discussion 454
Wanderlust073 3 or 4 night trip ideas - CO, WY Trip Planning 8
E Paintbrush/Cascade 3 day/2 night trip Trip Planning 8
Perry Suggestions for 3-day/2-night Uinta's Route Trip Planning 10
Stephanie Backpacking suggestions? 1 night Trip Planning 2
WasatchWill A night at Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park Hiking & Camping 7
T Advice Needed for 5 night Backpack route in Southern Utah Trip Planning 2
S Uintas 2 Night trip Trip Planning 9
IntrepidXJ Arches National Park Night Closure Trip Planning 2
Artemus Bag Night Challenge 2017 General Discussion 301
J Newbie - hoping for some advice on one night backpack in utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 3
N 3 Day 2 Night in Utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 4
J One night backpacking trip with swimming Trip Planning 11
Mike Jones 2-3 NIght Back country Yosemite ideas? Trip Planning 3
Artemus Bag Night Challenge 2016 General Discussion 263
Joey Invite Beer Night, Friday, January 8th Meet Up (Members Only) 20
Joey Night of the Grizzlies documentary General Discussion 3
Joey Invite Beer Night in Salt Lake City, Friday December 11th. Meet Up (Members Only) 44
ZubenElGenubi Three Day/Two Night Trip: Ansel Adams Wilderness Trip Planning 5
tozo Night Photography Exhibit in SLC Photography 0
hamtron5000 Sunday Night in Dominguez Canyon Hiking & Camping 2
N Overnight or 2 night trip in New Orleans area (or any part of LA) Trip Planning 5
Backcountry Post Bag Night Challenge 2015 General Discussion 399

Similar threads