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.
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.
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.
Stonewall Peak in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is one of the highest peaks in San Diego at 5,730 feet. A four mile out and back trail takes you to the summit and provides sweeping 360 degree views of the Laguna Mountains, Palomar Mountain, San Jacinto Peak, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and the Salton Sea. This moderate trail climbs 1,000 feet and begins at Paso Picacho. The final ascent includes a mild sense of acrophobia with hand rails which adds to the adventure.
Knapp's Castle is an abandoned mansion in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara. A trail just under one mile out and back takes you to the ruins and a stunning vista point overlooking Los Padres National Forest and the Santa Ynez Valley. George Owen Knapp, founded of Union Carbide, created the mansion for his residence in 1916. Famous Opera Singer Lotte Lehmann moved here in 1940, but the castle was destroyed by fire only 5 weeks later.
Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park is a great place to get close to Giant Sequoia's. Starting at the General Sherman Tree, the largest tree on Earth, the trail winds through impressive groves of some of the largest sequoia's in the park. Names like 'The House', 'The Senate' and 'The President' strand give the trail its name. Crowds get smaller the further you hike on the easy 3 mile loop which can be done in varying lengths.
Jacinto Reyes is a 36 mile National Scenic Byway in Ventura County. The scenic route, also known as Highway 33, winds through beautiful mountain canyons of Los Padres National Forest and offers stunning vista points along the way. Four National Wilderness areas can be accessed here for those seeking solitude. Come for the day and stay for the sunsets.
Tunnel View overlooking Yosemite Valley is one of the most iconic scenes in Yosemite National Park. Its vantage point includes breathtaking views of El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall and the Half Dome. Late afternoon light through sunset is the best time to photograph this lovely vista. If arriving to the park from Wawona Road, this stop is also the first view of the valley making it a famous spot.
San Gabriel Mountains National Monument was created on October 10th, 2014 to protect 346,177 acres of pristine wilderness above Los Angeles. More than 15 million people are within a 90 mile radius of the monument, but a visit will feel uncrowded with 4 designated wilderness areas. 300 species of plants and animals are found here and nowhere else on Earth making it a rich biodiversity zone. The San Gabriel Mountains provide Los Angeles with 70% of its wild space and 30% of its drinking water. Native American history here dates 8,000 years.
Tokopah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Sequoia National Park at 1,200 feet. A stunning 1.7 mile trail each way follows the Kaweah River up the high country of the Sierra Nevada to the base of the falls. Crowds will fade as you surround massive granite cliffs covered in pristine forest. Go in the Spring for the most thunderous falls.