Beyond Tahoe and Yosemite: 9 Secret Spots in Sierra Nevada Without the Crowds

If jumping into a cold, clear swimming hole or watching the evening light glint off the calm waters of an alpine lake is on your family’s agenda, you’re not alone. An escape to the mountains is a time-honored family tradition. Unfortunately, that serene high Sierra retreat is becoming more elusive as visitors descend in droves on popular destinations like Lake Tahoe and Yosemite. But don't fret, that secret Sierra hideout still exists. Here are the best under-the-radar mountain getaways that will bring your family a taste of the Sierras without having to brave the crowds.

1/9 The June Lake Area

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The 14-mile June Lake Loop includes four separate lakes: June, Gull, Silver and Grant, which between them make the “something for everyone” promise come true. Swimming, hiking and fishing are tops here, but there are also outfitters offering float trips, mountain biking and horseback riding. Since this is a popular ski resort area in winter, accommodations are extensive and varied, from rustic lodges and retro motels to upscale condos, and plenty of camping. And fascinating Mono Lake with its eerie tufa formations is within an hour’s drive.