Outdoor Adventures

Drop Shadow

Backpack the Sierra Nevada Mountains

The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range that runs 400 miles north-to-south in eastern California. It contains three of America's favorite National Parks (Yosemite, King's Canyon and Sequoia) in addition to Lake Tahoe (the largest alpine lake in the US) and Mount Whitney (the highest point in the contiguous 48).

There are numerous protected and designated wilderness areas spread throughout the Sierras thanks in part to activist, naturalist and writer, John Muir.

As a result of the drastic elevation changes there are five climate zones present in the Sierras that supports a wide variety of plants and animals. The western Sierras are home to the largest living organisms on the planet (by mass): the giant sequoia trees. They live in the lower montane forest, a bio zone that exists at an elevation between 7,000 and 8,500 feet.

The rugged beauty of the Sierras is a perfect backdrop for an inspiring Pre-O trip. Learn how to live in community, gain a new awareness about your relationship with the environment and pick up a few new camping skills along the way!


Day 1

Check in at the Outdoor Adventures office before early move-in. Meet your small group. Review clothing and make final preparations before departure.

Day 2

Travel to the trailhead and make sure backpacks fit properly before hiking to our first campsite.

Day 3

Wake up to the warm sun and backpack about 6 miles to our second campsite at a pristine alpine a lake. Enjoy some time to relax before dinner.

Day 4

Hike to another beautiful lake for tonight's camp. Stargazing and a celebratory dinner will end another amazing day in the mountains.

Day 5

Today we will day hike a nearby summit that is known as having one of the best views in the Sierras. Giant sequoias and distant sawtooth peaks highlight the day.

Day 6

Time to leave the mountains and return to San Diego by 6pm.

Risks, Hazards and Difficulty

Weather hazards, dehydration, sunburn, heat stroke, wildlife encounters, slips, falls, blisters, falling branches, and extended exposure are some backpacking risks. This trip takes place at elevations above 8,000 feet and involves carrying backpacks up to 40 lbs while hiking 4-10 miles per day. The difficulty level is moderate, but no prior experience necessary.




"Backpacking the Sierra Nevada Mountains with OA was incredible. I had never backpacked before and I loved it!" - Emily