Destination

Destination: Mammoth

Destination: Mammoth

Explore the spectacular east side of the Sierra By Lauren Gregg Cross country skiing at Minaret Vista (Rebecca Garrett). Bordered to the north by the eastern entrance to Yosemite and surrounded by the vast Ansel Adams and John Muir Wilderness, Mammoth Lakes and the surrounding eastern Sierra is the perfect destination for both an adventure-filled vacation as well as a peaceful and serene getaway. Visitors are enchanted by the strangely beautiful landscape created by the region’s geologic history. Mammoth Mountain and the surrounding eastern Sierra was sculpted by volcanic eruptions, now quiet for 50,000 years. The area boasts unique geologically active features that give it an other-worldly feel; steam rises from the ground and hot springs bubble from the earth as reminders of the ancient volcanoes that formed the landscape. Mammoth has a fascinating history … the wildness of which can be felt to this day. In 1857, after...
Destination: Yosemite Valley

Destination: Yosemite Valley

Fall and winter offers something for everyone By Kristin Conard Yosemite Valley, the “Incomparable Valley,” was set aside to be protected by the Yosemite Grant on June 30, 1864. And it was four years later that John Muir first visited the valley. Thanks in great part to his writing about the mountains and valleys he loved and his lobbying politicians, Yosemite became a national park in 1890, and now, 125 years later, the valley has become a destination for millions. Come fall and winter, things slow down considerably and there are few, if any, lines at the park stores or venues and no crowds on the trails or in the campgrounds. If you want to check on road conditions, call (209) 372-0200 – no matter what the conditions, you’ll need to have snow chains with you. Natural Wonders Yosemite Falls can dry up during the fall, but with snowfalls...
Destination: Groveland

Destination: Groveland

Discover the charm and outdoor experiences of this Old West town By Ariel Galos A walk through the forest just outside of town. Photo: Kim Carroll Photography / Evergreen Lodge Groveland is quickly becoming a destination hub for California outdoor enthusiasts. Situated on the south bank of the Tuolumne River and surrounded by Stanislaus National Forest, Groveland is home to beautiful foothill terrain on the doorstep of Yosemite. Just 25 miles from Yosemite’s north entrance, Groveland is a convenient destination for visitors who are looking for an authentic wild and scenic California outdoor experience. Groveland offers access to whitewater rafting and kayaking, pristine granite climbs, secluded swimming holes, challenging and scenic road biking, hikes through conifer and pine forest, horseback rides, and, within the next few years, will be home to a regional mountain bike and multi-use trail system offering a full spectrum of riding and hiking experiences. With all...
Destination: San Luis Obispo

Destination: San Luis Obispo

Challenge and indulge yourself in this sweet  seaside town By Kristin Conard There are great places to kitesurf along SLO’s coast (Visit SLO). On the 101 just about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the old mission town of San Luis Obispo (also known as just San Luis or the even simpler SLO) has mountains, wine country, a year-round farmer’s market, and easy access to stunning beaches. It’s also got some amazing year-round weather, and no matter what level you’re at in just about any outdoor adventure, you can find a way to challenge and indulge yourself in and around SLO. Out on the water Within a 10 to 20 minute drive from downtown SLO, you can be at the water with a mix of protected coves and harbors and wilder, windier stretches of open ocean. Avila Beach, along San Luis Creek, you can get to by driving...
Half  Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay

 A quaint coastal town  with something  for everyone By Kristin Conard View of Half Moon Bay from Sam’s Chowder House. If you’ve driven between San Francisco and Santa Cruz along scenic Highway 1, you’ve passed through Half Moon Bay. Chances are, you were on your way to somewhere else, and your experience was that of stop lights and fast food restaurants along a congested main thoroughway. But Half Moon Bay is so much more than what meets the eye as you pass through, for just off Highway 1 is the heart of Half Moon Bay, and it’s worth taking some time to explore this quaint beach town. Wild history and claims to fame Up to 50 separate Ohlone native groups once lived along the coast in what is now Half Moon Bay, and Highway 1 and Highway 92 both follow former trails created by these Native American people. Later, during...
Destination: Bear Valley

Destination: Bear Valley

A Sierra gem that keeps you coming back By Kristin Conard Between Tahoe and Yosemite on California State Route 4 is Bear Valley, a small and scenic destination with a rich history and year-round fun. Bear Valley is set in the midst of the central Sierra mountains, along the 61-mile Ebbetts Pass National Scenic Byway. This steep and winding road runs through the mountains along a trail that was once used by Miwok and Washoe Native Americans. California pioneer John Ebbetts used this passage in 1851 and thought it would be a good route for the transcontinental railroad. While that idea didn’t work out, it did become a well traveled wagon trail and the pass now bears Ebbetts’ name. At 7,000 feet, this high alpine sector was first named Grizzly Bear Valley, and it was developed as a ski resort in the 1960s. Bruce Orvis Sr. envisioned a sports complex...
Walk the Bay

Walk the Bay

An epic waterline hike from Monterey to Santa Cruz By Leonie Sherman Leonie Sherman walks home. Photo: Steve Moyles Once the scope of our historic drought dashed my hopes of an annual New Year’s ski tour, I caught a ride to Seaside State Beach, just north of Monterey, turned right and started walking. Three days later I climbed up the stairs at Pleasure Point in Capitola, in love with the wilderness in my own backyard. Doug Peacock defines wilderness as a place where you can be eaten, and walking the Monterey Bay gives you a front row seat. You stroll the beach in perfect peace, while sharks and sea lions frolic less than a hundred yards away. There’s no chance you will be eaten, but real danger is perilously close. Sunset near Moss Landing. Photo: Amanda Gunther Wilderness is also a state of mind and hiking the Monterey Bay...
Salty Dogs

Salty Dogs

The Salton Sea becomes a hidden gem for winter paddlers Rounding Mullet Island. Words and Photos by Charles Graham A dark wind line rose across the Salton Sea in southeastern California. Before we could seek refuge on Mullet Island, we were engulfed by frigid whitecaps. It was a 3-mile slog to the craggy, bird guano-covered islet. After dragging our kayaks and standup paddleboards on the leeward side of Mullet Island, we ducked inside the only manmade structure left on the isle, a bunker-like, roofless cubicle that acted as a much needed windbreak against the winter chill. We shivered while searching our maps for a decent campsite. We were in the midst of exploring California’s largest lake and much of its 110 miles of briny shoreline. Our excursion at a stall, it seemed fairly bleak at that moment with five salt-crusted paddlers attempting to keep warm. Filling the Sink Camping on...
Fall Colors in the Sierra

Fall Colors in the Sierra

Desolation Wilderness Words and photos by Tim Hauserman Outdoor exercise addicts are always looking for an excuse to get aerobic in nature. We sign up for centuries so we have to “train” by going on a series of great rides leading up to the event. We buy season passes to ski as often as possible to justify the expense. And right now catching the fall colors is an awesome excuse to grab your bike or hiking shoes and head for the hills. And the good news is that fall is a slow time in the Sierra, and there are awesome places to find your yellows and reds without the crowds. Here are a few choices near Lake Tahoe: Road Riding For an amazing tour of Hope Valley, start at the Big Meadow Trailhead of the Tahoe Rim Trail and head south on Highway 89. In just a few miles,...
Roadtrip Diversions

Roadtrip Diversions

Highway 299, the Trinity scenic byway By Haven Livingston • Photos by Heather Heartgrave Trinity River rapids near Hwy 299. Photo: Heather Heartgrave The landscape along scenic Highway 299 between Redding and Arcata is a perfect example of treasure hidden in plain sight. Driving straight through this corridor that follows the Trinity River provides some inspiring scenery, but you have to stop and explore to truly strike it rich. Diversions off Hwy 299 down to the river are an excellent way to escape the summer heat. Fishing, kayaking and rafting are popular options for both private and guided exploration. As the second largest sub-watershed of the Klamath River, the Trinity River has runs accessible to every type of river rat, from tube floaters to class V experts, and its waters are home to steelhead, salmon and brown trout. Detour up the North Fork to check out the ghost town...
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