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Classic American hiking trails

woman hiking John Muir Trail

Photo: ZUMA Press

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John Muir Trail

At 211 miles, the John Muir Trail in California does not have the same awe-inspiring length as the nearby Pacific Crest Trail. But it certainly deserves more than a few superlative adjectives. The Muir covers some of the most pristine backcountry in the Sierra Nevadas. It runs between the Yosemite Valley and the summit of Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the Lower 48. Acclimatization strategies (Whitney sits at over 14,000 feet) and backcountry skills are necessary for this hike, but it is hard to top the experience of trekking through the untouched, wildlife-filled landscapes of the Sierras.