While there are plenty of ways to play on your own in the High Sierra, there’s a whole host of ways to learn a new activity, like how to catch and release a native golden trout or climb a granite face, or gain new insights into the region with the help of an experienced local guide. Tahoe Adventure Company (in Tahoe Vista on Lake Tahoe’s north shore) offers guided adventures for all ages and abilities year round. Consider a family-friendly snowshoe tromp in winter, or a stand-up paddleboard journey or maybe a full-moon kayak paddle on Lake Tahoe in warmer weather.
In the climbing and backpacking mecca of Bishop, Sierra Mountain Guides offers a host of mega-expert adventures, such as ice climbing and ultra-light backpacking, but can also create an amazing backcountry experience to fit your interests and skill level. In Yosemite National Park, join a ranger-led, multiday adventure trekking between the famed High Sierra camps. South of Yosemite on the east side of the Sierra, saddle up and pack out of McGee Creek Pack Station, the departure point for a variety of horse-packing trips for all ages and abilities.
In winter, advanced skiers and snowboarders looking for the ultimate California challenge should consider Classic Sierra High Route Tour with SWS Mountain Guides. This mind-boggling, 8-day alpine adventure includes snow camping plus climbing (with gear) over seven passes at 12,000-foot/3,657-meter elevation or higher—with huge expanses of untracked, skiable downhill as the payoff.