White Bear Lake, CA
SIERRA HIGH ROUTE, JOHN MUIR WILDERNESS, CA
The Sierra High Route delivers expert hikers to this unspoiled stunner.
Hop on a long trail and you’ll come across some remote gems. Consider this: White Bear Lake is tucked in the middle of the Sierra, cradled by 12,000-foot peaks, and only accessible via the 195- mile, mostly off-trail Sierra High Route. We’d give you the easy way there, but there isn’t one. It’s smack in the middle—yes, mile 100— of the SHR. The closest established trail is the PCT, some 4 miles west as the crow flies and separated by a gauntlet of unnamed granite peaks and mountain lakes. So do it right: Get there on day 10 of the SHR, a three-week journey from Kings Canyon National Park to Yosemite. “The Sierra High Route takes you through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery I’ve ever witnessed,” says photographer Rachid Dahnoun. “It requires routefinding skills and many long, hard days. You can go miles without seeing a single person.” Contact bit.do/ john- muir-wild