The Range of Light. The snowy mountains. The Sierra Nevada. Whatever name you prefer, this craggy range beckons to any Bay Area backpacker with a long weekend to spare. But all too often, the call of the Sierra is complicated by the need to obtain wilderness permits and backcountry reservations weeks in advance.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Just north of Carson Pass on Highway 88 (about three hours from San Francisco), hikers can find gorgeous scenery, abundant water, and lots and lots of free camping.