Sierra National Forest, sited between Kings Canyon and Yosemite national parks, offers a chance to hike and camp in near-complete solitude. Planning is essential, though – public transport is nonexistent, and roads and trails can often close due to bad weather.

The popular Shaver Lake and Huntington Lake area, rich in campgrounds, soon give way to the isolated alpine landscapes beyond 9200ft Kaiser Pass. The sheer challenge posed by the rugged, unspoiled terrain of adjoining John Muir Wilderness can make the national parks look like holiday camps, though the area can get surprisingly busy (for a wilderness) in the summer. You can bathe outdoors at nearby Mono Hot Springs, or head for Mono Hot Springs Resort, near Edison Lake, which has indoor mineral baths along with primitive cabins.

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