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Spring Backcountry Skiing

Spring Skiing in the Southern Cascades

Our short spring corn mission was just enough to make us want more.

If you are looking to tackle a super long 15-20 day trek on the West Coast, check out the whopping 223-mile John Muir trail that runs from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, mostly in conjunction with the Pacific Crest Trail. If you just want a taste, hike a Yosemite classic, the Vernal and Nevada Falls trail. This section of trail has everything—waterfalls, canyons, slabs of granite, conifers, and incredible vistas. The eight-mile loop is no secret, but if you get an early start, you’ll be able to avoid other people as well as the heat. From the Happy Isles Shuttle stop #16, which you can catch in front of the grocery store in Yosemite Village, follow the dusty path along the Merced River for less than a mile towards Vernal Falls. Go across the footbridge, going right on the Mist Trail where all the tourists who came to see the falls in flip-flops will fall behind. There are spectacular views of the water cascading down over Vernal Falls. At the top of the overlook, there are some awesome wading pools. It is tempting to slip in for a welcomed relief from the hot summer, but resist the temptation because swimmers have been known to be caught by the swift current only to meet disaster on the way down the falls. After a head dunk, perhaps, continue ascending to another few switchbacks to see Nevada Falls. Turn right to follow the John Muir Trail southwest back toward the valley and past more waterfalls and wading areas.

Best Backpacking Trips

Looking for one more late summer adventure? Here are our favorite multi-day backpacking trips in ski country.

Red Wolf Lodge

Tahoe Lodging: Red Wolf Lodge

With two locations: On the north shore of Lake Tahoe or at the base of Squaw Valley.

Lost Trail 2011

Lost Trail Powder Mountain

Glades, cliffs, and pillow lines on the Idaho-Montana border.

The lower 48’s highest peak is often a training ground for mountaineers looking to conquer higher peaks, but that doesn’t mean that with some skills or a guide it can still be attainable for savvy backcountry skiers.

Where to Ski in August

August is when the itch gets the worst. Hot, lazy days lose their shine. The buzz of the air conditioner starts to burn your eardrums. And winter feels SO far away. And it is, but a plane ticket or a long hike could change that. Here’s where you can get your midsummer fix.

Six Californian Backcountry Ski Huts Tout

Six Californian Backcountry Ski Huts

When "destination skiing" doesn't mean flying to a ski resort.

Stanford Alpine Chalet

Lodging in Tahoe

The best places to stay in South Lake, North Lake, and everywhere in between.