Sierra Nevadas + Yosemite

Things to do in Sierra Nevadas + Yosemite

Whether you’re hiking or summiting, stop at the U.S. Forest Service’s ranger station for a free wilderness permit and—if you’re doing for it—a $20 summit pass.

This easy one-mile loop in Sequoia National Park begins at the Giant Forest Museum and takes about one hour to walk. It’s also handicap-accessible.

Not only is Yosemite’s ski area appealingly low-key, it also offers Nordic ski gear, trails, and instruction.

The shop has luxe cowboy-inspired furniture—just in case you’re in the market for a cowhide-upholstered couch.

This park’s namesake giant redwoods are some of California’s oldest and most graceful natural treasures. Sequoia and adjoining Kings Canyon National Park together comprise 865,952 acres. Two-thirds of the property is roadless roadless—so it makes sense to explore on horseback.

The boutique stocks dozens of cult denim brands. Head there during Friday happy hour for discount prices and wine tastings—guaranteed to make any jeans fit better.

Be sure to stop by the ecology exhibits at this intimate museum dedicated to amazing trees.

At least five hikers have fallen to their deaths on the final pitch of Yosemite’s popular Half Dome formation. In the running as America’s most deadly trail, the total hike is about eight miles.

The world’s largest living tree is estimated to be 2,100 years old.

Hike the four-mile trail at nearby Squaw Valley ski resort, which takes you through pine forests, chaparral, and alpine meadows backed by granite cliffs. Beginning at Squaw Base Camp, the route ends at High Camp (elevation 8,200 feet); return via the resort’s cable car ($10).

First founded by gold miners in 1850, Columbia is now the Columbia State Historic Park, with everything from hotels to restaurants to schools (it’s still a real town). Sure, it’s touristy, but panning for gold at the Hidden Treasure mine is a thrill.

The mountain is famous for its experts-only runs, and has long cornered the market on celebrity-driven fabulosity.

Sailing Ventures, based in Carson City, offers everything from a two-hour dip-your-toes-in to five-day certification courses aboard 22- to 32-foot sailboats. Don’t fall in—Tahoe is the second-deepest lake in the country.