1. John Muir Trail | CA
Traversing the Sierra Nevada Mountains from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, this 211-mile trek is legendary for good reason. Thrilling views come with every step: steep passes, alpine meadows, lakes and sequoias. It starts with iconic sights like Half Dome and Vernal Falls, crosses the Ansel Adams Wilderness, then builds to the highest peak in the continental United States. It’s the most beautiful section of the Pacific Crest Trail and is blessed with a relatively mild and sunny climate. To avoid the snow, most hikers go between July and October, traveling north to south to acclimatize to higher elevations—and get fit before climbing the 14,495ft Mt. Whitney. Reservations are sometimes required to drive into Yosemite during peak season. Find more information here.
Time: Two to four weeks