10 Reasons To Explore The Eastern Sierra

Who doesn't like alpine lakes?

By: Tyler Drake

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The unofficial start to summer is just around the corner. Although we didn't enjoy the snow-covered peaks and powder runs of winters past, it doesn't mean you should miss out on all that the Eastern Sierra has to offer as the warmer weather rolls in through the end of fall. Find that free weekend or put in for vacation time, load up your car, and hit the road. We've made a list of 10 amazing reasons to head to the Eastern Sierra to take some of the planning off your hands. If you're coming from Southern California, there's a bonus adventure for you to hit up on the drive up the 395. Get outside and enjoy!

1. Camp and Hike the Big Pine Lakes

Photo: Bernini Ngo

Hike through some of the best high alpine scenery in the Sierra to the magnificent turquoise waters of Big Pine Lakes. Learn More.

2. Summiting Mt. Whitney

Gregg Boydston

At 22 miles and over 6,000 feet of elevation gain, this hike is no joke, but those who complete it can cross the highest mountain peak in the lower 48 off their bucket list. Learn More.

3. Camping at Mono Lake

Photo: Gregg Boydston

Head to the lesser known northern end of Mono Lake to enjoy beach camping and solitude. Not to mention the amazing night sky. Learn More.

4. Bouldering in the Buttermilks

Photo: Bruce Wilson

The Buttermilks are a coveted and must visit spot for rock climbers. It can get too hot in the summer (but you can try early morning or evening), so plan to come here in the spring or fall to earn your stripes on the 40 ft tall boulders...just be sure to bring your crash pads. Learn More.

5. Backpack Evolution Basin

Photo: Greg Owens

It’s been called "the Crown Jewel of the Sierra Nevada" and the "highlight of the entire 211-mile John Muir Trail"...need I say more? Learn More.

6. Camping at Hot Creek

Photo: Gregg Boydston

Just outside the town of Mammoth Lakes, you'll find Hot Creek, which definitely lives up to its name. Some areas are even too hot to swim, but it cools down enough for a dip or even excellent trout fishing. Learn More.

7. Backpack to Long Lake

Photo: Evan Thomas

Make the quick 3.5 mile hike in to Long Lake, set up camp, and spend the next day exploring the surrounding mountains like Chocolate Peak. Learn More.

8. Photographing Mobius Arch

Photo: Tiffany Nguyen

On the east side of the Sierra, the Alabama Hills are full of beautiful boulders and rock formations. Mobius Arch is famed for its cameo in several major Hollywood movies. Learn More.

9. Hiking Convict Lake

Photo: Todd Gordon

With easy access from Mammoth Lakes, a mild loop trail around the lake, and excellent fishing, Convict Lake is a great day trip destination. Learn More

10. Fish for a Sierra Grand Slam

Photo: Jason Fitzgibbon

Head to Little Lakes Valley for grandiose views of the Sierra Crest, lush alpine meadows, glistening emerald lakes and excellent fishing conditions for Brook, Brown, Rainbow, and the coveted Golden Trout. Learn More.

Bonus: Explore the Trona Pinnacles

Photo: Sal Cavazos

I know it's a little south of Sierra, but if you're heading up the 395, this is definitely worth the stop. The eerily peaceful Trona Pinnacles area has been used as a setting for many Hollywood Sci-Fi movies and it's no wonder. This place looks like no other on Earth. Learn More.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.