The Alabama Hills Recreation Area is a stunning mirage of rocks and hills in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Metamorphosed volcanic rock up to 300 million years old as well as biotite monzogranite up to 85 million years old create the wondrous assortment of shapes and arches. Hiking, photography and stargazing are some of the best ways to enjoy the land. Many films were shot here since the 1920's including 'How the West Was Won' and 'The Lone Ranger'. A scenic drive along Movie Flat Road will take you to exact locations for famous film scenes.
Tioga Road is a scenic drive through Yosemite's High Country which offers several vista points, waterfalls, lakes, hiking opportunities as well as the unforgettable Tuolumne Meadows. It is a great escape from the crowds of the valley and is usually open from June through September. The drive also takes you to some of the last great undeveloped land of the west.
Giant Sequoia National Monument was created on April 15, 2000 to preserve the remaining Sequoia Groves and forest outside of the National Parks. Highway 190 provides a scenic drive high in the Sierra Nevada to the Sequoia's with stunning mountain vistas and recreational areas along the Tule River.
Mariposa Grove is the largest Sequoia grove in Yosemite National Park. Its most famous resident 'Grizzly Giant' is estimated to be 1900-2400 years old, and is the 25th largest in the world. Abraham Lincoln famously protected these trees on June 30, 1864 as an Act of Congress. Stunning trails wind through this enchanting forest of gentle giants.
Tuolumne Meadows is the serene and stunningly beautiful alpine meadow of Yosemite's High Country. At 8,600 feet, it can be reached by the scenic Tioga Road in the summertime where the Tuolumne River flows among draping peaks. The meadows mark the northern border of the largest stretch of road-less wilderness in the continental United States allowing you to escape in solitude.
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.
Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park drops a stunning 317 feet along the Merced River. The falls can be accessed from base to top by a strenuous 2.4 mile hike along Mist Falls Trail where a refreshing mist will soak you alongside a mirage of rainbows. Visit in the Spring and Early Summer for a roaring dance of water.
Big Trees Trail is an easy 2/3 mile walk that winds through Round Meadow in Sequoia National Park. With its towering giant sequoias and lush green meadows, it is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the Giant Forest.
Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Highway 180) travels from Giant Sequoia Groves down into the heart of the Sierra Nevada Wilderness. The canyon is the deepest in North America and will keep you on your toes as you make the mountain-hugging descent. Stop at Junction View for a stunning panoramic vista. Once in the canyon, the drive follows the impressive Kings River, several waterfalls and lush forest surrounded by towering granite peaks.
A walk around the General Grant Grove of Kings Canyon National Park is the perfect way to experience gentle giants up close. Several Giant Sequoia's surround winding trails of lush forest leading to the second largest tree in the world, General Grant, which measures 268 feet tall and 34 feet in diameter. President Coolidge named this Sequoia the Nation's Christmas tree in 1926 and has been famous ever since.