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Madera County, California

Looking for the best backpacking in Madera County? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Madera County. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Backpacking Spots in and near Madera County

  • Lakeshore, California

    John Muir Trail: Camping at Lake Virginia

    5.0
    You'll find an ample supply of warm, sunny campsites here. After a tough climb leading up to this area, a plunge in the cold water and sunbathing on the warm granite surrounding the lake is just what the doctor ordered. This is one of the sites that you want to plan around - even if you arrive at...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Backpack Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne

    5.0
    48.29 mi / 10610 ft gain
    This is a rugged overnight backpack into the North country of Yosemite dropping in from Tuolumne Meadows into the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne. The trail begins at an elevation just under 9,000' and drops to a low elevation of 4,500' almost 19 miles later at Pate Valley. Coming up out of Pate Val...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Backpack to Nelson Lake

    17 mi / 1000 ft gain
    Head to any Yosemite wilderness station for a map, bear canister, and permit for Nelson Lake. The trail itself starts in the Tuolumne Campground at Elizabeth Lake trailhead. Follow the trail 2.2 miles up to Elizabeth Lake and remember the lake itself is in a no-camping zone, so you must continue ...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Tulomne Meadows to Donohue Pass via JMT

    5.0
    27.56 mi / 2953 ft gain
    Donohue Pass lies on the border of Yosemite National Park and the Ansel Adams Wilderness. Both the John Muir Trail (JMT) and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) route through this pass at 11,056 ft. A challenging but beautiful hike that starts from Tuolumne Meadows and follows the JMT for 12.5 miles t...
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  • Cathedral Lakes Trailhead

    Tuolumne Meadows to Yosemite Valley

    5.0
    30.82 mi / 6109 ft gain
    Yosemite is an iconic park, and if you are looking for isolation with spectacular views of the backcountry this trip is for you. The trail itself is approximately 33 miles and can be done in 3-4 days, but I recommend a 6 day hike to enjoy the scenery and to have the opportunity to soak in each lo...
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  • Wawona, California

    Cathedral Lakes

    4.8
    9.04 mi / 1100 ft gain
    Starting at the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead near the Tuolumne Meadows parking lot (if parking is full at the TH), this trail wanders through the classic High Sierra forest with large white granite boulders and pine trees. After approximately 4 miles of quiet solitude in the forest, you will reach ...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Backpack to Boothe Lake

    5.0
    16.6 mi / 1400 ft gain
    Starting at the Tuolomne Meadows Visitor Center you will head south to jump on the John Muir Trail, move east for 2.8 miles on the JMT until the trail intersects with the Vogelsang High Sierra trailhead, you head south when you reach this trail. Once you hit the Vogelsang trail you are 5.5 miles ...
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  • 37.872112,-119.370472

    Hike to Waterwheel Falls

    17.32 mi
    Waterwheel Falls may be the most unique waterfall in Yosemite. During high waterflow an extraordinary phenomenon appears as the raging water hits a series of ledges creating a plume, this coupled with strong gust blowing upward create cyclical "waterwheel" effect hence the name. On a good day th...
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  • YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, California

    Backpack to Fletcher Lake and Summit Vogelsang Peak

    19.06 mi
    Before you head out for the trip, you’ll need to get a wilderness permit. You can get one online from the Yosemite website or pick one up at the Tuolumne Meadows Wilderness Center or from the Wilderness Center in Yosemite Valley. Go to Yosemite and take Highway 120 up to Tuolumne Meadows. You ca...
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  • YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, California

    Young Lakes

    4.7
    14.14 mi / 1700 ft gain
    The Young Lakes trail starts from the Lembert Dome parking area and then winds up around 6 miles into the high country past alpine meadows and stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Lower and Middle Young Lakes are beautiful, but you're going to want to push on to Upper Young Lake, where y...
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  • YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, California

    Mt. Conness

    5.0
    19.03 mi / 5400 ft gain
    This trip is best done as a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip making camp at Young Lakes, however it is possible to do it in a single day long haul. Start at the Lembert Dome Parking Lot and take the trail via the Dog Lake route towards Young Lakes. It's about 7 miles to the upper of the three You...
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  • 37.876736,-119.346085

    Glen Aulin

    4.8
    12.19 mi / 600 ft gain
    Start your hike to this waterfall oasis in the heart of the sierra at the parking lot for the Tuolumne Meadows Visitor Center. The Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp sits along the beautifully winding Tuolumne River. White Cascade an 80ft waterfall sits at the edge of camp and provides an excellent swim...
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  • Lakeshore, California

    John Muir Trail: Camping at Bear Creek

    The trail follows the creek for a few miles as it cascades forming very tempting pools and places to lay out. Try to resist jumping in the first pool you see and setting up camp. Although you really can't go wrong, some of the sweetest and deepest pools come after passing by a few smaller pools. ...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Lyell Loop

    35.88 mi / 5541 ft gain
    Start the hike at the Mono pass trail. You'll eventually take the fork towards Parker Pass a couple miles in. We tackled the trail in late spring, and it quickly became clear that there was still enough snow to make our lives difficult. As we climbed out of the Parker drainage, the trail essenti...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Mono Pass to Silver Lake Trailhead via Koip Peak Pass

    20.25 mi / 3606 ft gain
    This trip begins in Yosemite National Park and can be completed as an out-and-back or by hiking one-way to the Ansel Adams Wilderness and exiting at Silver Lake on the east side of the mountains. Start at the Mono/Parker Pass trailhead, a few miles past Tuolumne Meadows. Don't forget to make a pe...
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  • Lee Vining, California

    Hike to Upper Sardine Lake

    Directions (from south of June Lake): 395 northTurn right onto the 158Keep right at fork onto Parker Lake Rd and go about 0.5 milesTurn right at first right and head all the way to the top until you hit a parking lot/camping ground/trail head From North of June Lake: 395 southTurn left at 158Keep...
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