Excessive crowds on a beautiful trail render it into a nightmare experience, similar to the checkout line at the big box stores.
The summit of Mt San Antonio Peak (Mt Baldy) is a zoo, Mt Whitney, Jacinto, Sykes Hot Springs, all packed with humanity.
with the advantage of websites posting great details, more people show up in hordes. Quality diminishes when Quantity is exceeded. Some places have quotas, but even then, still too many people.
Years ago, Backpacker magazine (I do not endorse it) had an article "hike this, not that" for the second best choice to busy places.
I have a couple of secret spots that are rarely traveled, right next to parallel trails that are over crowded. I find myself at a conflict. I share my secret trails with others and post about them, because I want others to enjoy them, but I get mad at myself when my secret spots get busy...
I don't know how to deal with this conflict. The mountains are not mine to hoard. And in my current job situation I do not get paid sick/vacation time, so I cannot go mid-week to avoid the weekend zoo.
my only work-around is leave the house at 3AM, hit the trail head at 4AM, so I can have peace and quiet for a few hours, before the boy scout troops, and adventure club groups invade.
Tell me, do you have a secret spot that you only share its location with a select few, under condition not to share?