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.
Garnet Peak is the crown jewel of San Diego. Located along the Sunrise Highway in Cleveland National Forest, this 6,000 foot peak offers jaw-dropping 360 degree views of Anza Borrego Desert State Park, beautiful alpine forest mountain terrain and even the ocean 50 miles away on a clear day. A moderate 2.2 round trip hike take you to the top and past the Pacific Crest Trail.
Crescent Meadow was named the 'Gem of the Sierra' by John Muir. Trails wind along this perfect meadow of Sequoia National Park which provides necessary habitat to keep the gentle giants alive. This pristine alpine sight will leave you breathless.
Julian is an historic mining town high in the Cuyamaca Mountains of San Diego. A.E. 'Fred' Coleman was a former slave prior to the Civil War and discovered gold here while passing through in 1869. News of the discovery traveled fast and 100's of prospectors arrived creating a tent city known as the Coleman Mining District. James Madison had other plans for the area when he brought apple trees which thrived in the alpine climate. Julian famously became the apple capital of the world and a slice of Julian Apple Pie can still be enjoyed today.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument preserves 280,000 acres in the peninsular mountain ranges. The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians own and manage a large portion of the monument of which house many sacred sites. It is a land of extremes rising from the heat of the desert floor to the snow dusted peaks 10,000 feet high.
Palms to Pines National Scenic Byway winds through the encompassing mountains and is a great driving overview of the monument. The National Landscape Conservation System maintains the monument as a 'healthy, wild and open' space. Unlike many other parks and monuments, not many mapped trails or sites exist. It is a place for deep reflection and solitude. The beauty of nature awaits!
Known as 'the most scenic and picturesque mountain road in the state', Angeles Crest National Scenic Byway is a beautiful scenic drive high up in the San Gabriel Mountains. Also known as Highway 2, the road began construction in 1929 and took 27 years to finish in 1956. It winds through Angeles National Forest & San Gabriel Mountains National Monument to a land of pristine alpine wilderness. During rain storms, the mountain peaks become engulfed in foggy clouds and makes the road appear to soar above to the Angels of Heaven.
High in the Laguna Mountains above San Diego lies Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Forests of oak woodland and pine surround meadows and creeks which make for a beautiful hike. At a mile in the sky, warm summers, fall colors, snow-decorated winters and spring wildflowers make this a four season destination. It will be hard to believe you are still in San Diego at this perfect recreational escape.
Big Bear Lake is a four season destination high up in the San Bernardino Mountains. With a population around 5,000 and an elevation of 6,752 feet, Big Bear is the perfect escape where fresh alpine air and recreation await. High up, yet surrounded by deep valleys below, Big Bear is also referred to as an 'Island in the Sky'.
Serrano Native Americans inhabited these mountains for thousands of years and called it 'Yuhaviat' which means 'Pine Place'. They lived alongside wild Grizzly Bears which covered California. The Gold Rush eventually caught up to the region and mining occurred here from 1860 to 1875. In the 1950's, Ski Resorts became the main draw leading Big Bear into the resort destination it is today.
Deep in the heart of Kings Canyon National Park is Zumwalt Meadow. The winding trail takes you through tall grass and along the Kings River while the massive granite dome, Grand Sentinel, soars up out of the valley floor. This is the most popular hike in Kings Canyon. The trail is a mile and a half loop and can be done as a leisurely stroll through this alpine paradise. Take beautiful Highway 180, Kings Canyon Scenic Byway (Closed in Winter), to reach the meadows.
Lake Arrowhead Village is a charming village high in the San Bernardino Mountains. The elevation is just under a mile high at 5,174 feet. Located in the National Forest just above the sprawling Inland Empire, you will feel worlds away. Quaint shops and restaurants fill the Swiss inspired streets. The water remains crystal clear. Abundant sunshine can be found year round while snow can be enjoyed in the wintertime.