Hudson Ranch Road is a scenic drive through Los Padres National Forest from Highway 33 to Frazier Park. Sweeping views of the Central Valley, Carrizo Plain National Monument, San Emigdio Mountains and the Chumash Wilderness are revealed at each bend. Visit in the Spring for dramatic green hills covered in wildflowers.
Bishop Peak is the highest of the 'Nine Sisters' volcanic plugs at 1,559 feet. The rocky peak resembling a Bishop's miter was named during the Mission days. Run as a natural reserve, ecosystems include chaparral, grassland and oak woodland making it important for conservation. A moderate 4.4 mile out and back hike will bring you to the top with sweeping views of San Luis Obispo and its valleys.
Rancho Sierra Vista Satwiwa in the Santa Monica Mountains preserves sacred Native American land of the Chumash and Tongva/Gabrielino. The iconic Boney Peak provides a dramatic backdrop for this once village called 'Satwiwa' or Bluff where 150 archeological sites have been discovered. The area was first visited by Europeans in 1769-70 during the famous Portolá expedition and again in 1774 during the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition. Enjoy miles of trails and Spring wildflowers in a landscape largely unchanged.
Wind Wolves Preserve is the largest non-profit preserve on the west coast at 93,000 acres. The Transverse & Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert and San Joaquin Valley all meet to create one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the country. Protected by the Wildlands Conservancy, the preserve is free and open to the public for all to enjoy. Visit in the Spring when the golden hills turn a brilliant green and burst with wildflowers.
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area is a 932 acre park outside of Santa Clarita in the Sierra Pelona Mountains. Located along the San Andreas Fault, these sandstone rocks were formed 25 million years ago. Tataviam Native Americans lived in grass hut villages here and considered the site sacred. The rocks were named for Tiburcio Vasquez, a notorious bandit who used the area as a hideout in 1874. Hollywood has filmed here since the 30's including The Flintstones, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.
Caspers Wilderness Park is the largest and most beautiful park in Orange County with 8,000 acres of wilderness. Sandstone canyons, coast live oak trees, river valleys and wildflowers on the edge of the Santa Ana Mountains come together to create a stunning landscape. Juaneño Native Americans lived in Villages here for thousands of years and lived off the land.
Figueroa Mountain is a Recreation Area north of Santa Barbara in Los Padres National Forest. Spring is the best time to visit when the hills and mountains put on the most stunning wildflower displays in California. Grass Mountain can become completely covered in poppies it looks orange from miles away and views from the top stretch across the Santa Ynez Valley all the way to the ocean. Whether hiking the many trails or enjoying a scenic drive, Figueroa Mountain will be an unforgettable experience.
Carrizo Plain National Monument is a true wilderness experience in California's Great Central Valley. More than 200,000 acres of untouched beauty reveal what the entire valley looked like long before development. Beautiful grassland plains hug rolling hills blanketed by a rainbow of wildflowers in the Spring. The San Andreas Fault cuts right through the plain giving it a rich geological history. Native Chumash considered the plain sacred and inhabited the area for at least 4,000 years.
Today, this is the only original California grassland strand remaining. The highest concentration of endangered species in the state reside here including the tule elk, pronghorn, San Joaquin kit fox & antelope squirrel, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, giant kangaroo rat as well as the California condor. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management as opposed to the National Park Service, the plain is continuously in a controversial debate over grazing, solar power and oil drilling rights. One visit will have you one the side for preservation.
*Access is dirt road only, 4 wheel drive strongly recommended
The Queen Anne Cottage is the crown jewel of the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The Cottage was built in 1885 using the Queen Anne Victorian Architectural Style by Elias Jackson 'Lucky' Baldwin. Lucky was a very fortunate California pioneer, investor and real estate tycoon. He moved to San Francisco in 1853 during the Gold Rush and decided the real money was not in gold itself but in food, supplies and lodging for gold diggers.
Lucky used his fortune to purchase a tract of land outside of Los Angeles he divided into lots in the 1880's for the towns of Arcadia and Monrovia. He was considered one of the first equal employers hiring African-American, Native American, Mexican and Chinese workers when most were jobless: though, he paid them considerably less. Lucky built this cottage for entertaining purposes only and can be enjoyed today with a visit to the Arboretum.
Jalama Road is a 14 mile Scenic Byway between Lompoc and the ocean. The road winds through rolling hills that are a brilliant green in the winter and golden in the summer. Oak groves dot the slopes to provide shade and a haven for wildlife. At the end is the secluded Jalama Beach where you will feel worlds away to discover a pristine coast.