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Halvor Tweto | 06.28.2021

As the summer settles in for more consistent spells of hot weather, high country trailheads become ever-more appealing respites from the swelter. Trails that have vanished for the winter beneath nourishing snows wait to greet you like old friends, or perhaps new ones that keep you exploring unfamiliar terrain. Leaving the lower elevations behind for these seasonally accessible areas means cooler, fresher air in your lungs, clear night skies, and with any luck, a refreshing mountain lake in which to swim. There's no shortage of higher elevation adventures to peruse on Outdoor Project, but here's a little sample to start the process. Remember that the Nearby Adventure section at the end of each adventure page can help you plan an itinerary of additional and similar adventures. And don't forget to tell us about your experience in the trip comments. Happy hiking!

British Columbia

Getting some elevation above Garabaldi Lake on the Black Tusk Hike. Photo by Duncan Sadava.
  • Black Tusk Hike. Total Distance: 30.00 km (18.64 mi). Trailhead Elev.: 585 m (1,919 ft). Net Elev. Gain: 1,625 m (5,331 ft).
  • Tenquille Lake. Total Distance 10.50 km (6.52 mi). Trailhead Elev.: 1,402 m (4,600 ft). Net Elev. Gain: 275 m (902 ft)
  • Wedgemount Lake. Total Distance: 14.00 km (8.70 mi). Trailhead Elev.: 800 m (2,625 ft). Net Elev. Gain: 1,220 m (4,003 ft).




Alpine sunflower and Indian paintbrush flower in the Wind River Range. Photo by Justin Michael.
  • Taggart + Bradley Lakes. Total Distance: 6.50 mi (10.46 km). Trailhead Elev.: 6,625 ft (2,019 m). Net Elev. Gain: 585 ft (178 m).
  • Cirque of the Towers. Total Distance: 19.00 mi (30.58 km). Trailhead Elev.: 9,100 ft (2,774 m). Net Elev. Gain: 1,800 ft (549 m).


  • Timberline Trail in the Mount Hood Wilderness. Total Distance: 39.00 mi (62.76 km). Trailhead Elev.: 5,960 ft (1,817 m). Net Elev. Gain: 4,060 ft (1,237 m).
  • Middle Sister in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Total Distance: 16.40 mi (26.39 km). Trailhead Elev.: 5,290 ft (1,612 m). Net Elev. Gain: 4,757 ft (1,450 m).
  • Glacier Lake. Total Distance: 27.00 mi (43.45 km). Trailhead Elev.: 4,659 ft (1,420 m). Net Elev. Gain: 4,000 ft (1,219 m).


  • Lassen Peak. Total Distance: 5.20 mi (8.37 km). Trailhead Elev.: 8,500 ft (2,591 m). Net Elev. Gain: 1,919 ft (585 m).
  • Mount Whitney via Whitney Portal. Total Distance: 22.00 mi (35.41 km). Trailhead Elev.: 8,360 ft (2,548 m). Net Elev. Gain: 6,100 ft (1,859 m).
  • Rae Lakes Loop. Total Distance: 42.00 mi (67.59 km). Trailhead Elev.: 5,035 ft (1,535 m). Net Elev. Gain: 6,943 ft (2,116 m).


  • Mount Superior + Monte Cristo. Total Distance: 6.20 mi (9.98 km). Trailhead Elev.: 8,640 ft (2,633 m). Net Elev. Gain: 2,492 ft (760 m).
  • Kessler Peak Loop Hike. Total Distance: 5.00 mi (8.05 km). Trailhead Elev.: 7,493 ft (2,284 m). Net Elev. Gain: 2,953 ft (900 m).
  • Mount Aire Hike. Total Distance: 3.50 mi (5.63 km). Trailhead Elev.: 6,686 ft (2,038 m). Net Elev. Gain: 1,987 ft (606 m).


Mount of the Holy Cross. Photo by Louie Traub.
  • Zirkel Circle Hike. Total Distance: 11.20 mi (18.02 km). Trailhead Elev.: 8,480 ft (2,585 m). Net Elev. Gain: 2,400 ft (732 m).
  • Mount of the Holy Cross. Total Distance: 12.00 mi (19.31 km). Trailhead Elev.: 10,314 ft (3,144 m). Net Elev. Gain: 3,628 ft (1,106 m).
  • Blue Lakes. Total Distance: 10.00 mi (16.09 km). Trailhead Elev.: 9,292 ft (2,832 m). Net Elev. Gain: 2,427 ft (740 m).

The above options are a great place to start your research for getting out and up into the high country, but the list of notable high country hikes doesn't end here. Discover more great hikes, backpacking trips, and other Outdoor Project adventures in the onX Backcountry GPS Hiking app


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