El Camino Cielo or 'Trail to the Sky' is the most beautiful drive in Santa Barbara. Winding through the Santa Ynez Mountains of Los Padres National Forest, the road soars 4,000 feet above the city and provides stunning panoramic vistas and access to hiking trails. Sandstone canyons, towering peaks, chaparral and pine forests combine to create a diverse ecosystem.
Part of the Indian Canyons of Palm Springs, Andreas Canyon is the perfect natural Palm Oasis. Stunning fan palms surround rock canyons and 150 plant species along the lush Andreas Creek. One visit will give new meaning to the idea of the desert.
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.
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.
Malibu Creek State Park is the premier nature wonderland of the Santa Monica Mountains. Grasslands, oak woodlands and rolling hills make up more than 8,000 acres of scenic beauty. The area was once home to the Native American Chumash who had a village here called Talepop. Paramount Pictures & 20th Century Fox both used the area for filming including M*A*S*H & The Planet of the Apes. Hiking trails of every length wind through canyons covered in wildflowers each Spring.
With 12 miles of trails and 3,000 acres of wilderness, Happy Camp Canyon Park is the perfect escape in Ventura County. Peaceful grasslands cover hills with sweeping views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Simi Valley and even the Channel Islands. Native American Chumash used to call this peaceful place home
Artist's Drive & Palette is a deep canyon in the Black Mountains of Death Valley National Park. Oxidation of metals along the canyon walls create a rainbow of colors from iron, mica and manganese exposed from volcanic activity. This one-way 9-mile drive provides stunning vistas at every turn and is best seen in the afternoon light and sunset where the colors are their most vibrant.
Backbone Trail is a National Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. After more than 50 years in the works, the trail is finally complete. It runs for 67 miles from Will Rogers State Park to Point Mugu State Park. From majestic ocean-view peaks, chaparral-covered hills and winding canyons, the trail will keep you going at each turn. Several access points make this trail available for all skill levels at any duration.
Mentryville Boomtown was named after Charles Alexander Mentry who drilled California's first successful oil well here in 1876. It was the world's longest continually operating well that lasted until 1990. Today, it is a park run by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy where Charles' historic home and barn still remain beneath the Santa Susana Mountains. Trails lead to historic ruins as well as canyons of chaparral and coast live oak.