Beautiful Places To Visit From Los Angeles To Kings Canyon
The variety of scenery and landscape of the city and its proximity to the ocean and high desert environment, make Los Angeles a must-visit city in California. And its location offers the best base for one of the most scenic road trips to embark upon in the state. But before setting up off the trip, visit a few places in the city. Start with the pier at the famous Santa Monica beach, then dip your toes in the ocean and walk in the sand along its sides. Or walk the paved path along the shore and enjoy the views. For even better views and a pleasant walk, head over to the cliffs of the Pacific Palisades and walk along the trail bordering the clifftops. For a taste of the Hollywood scene, head over to the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard, where you’ll see the stars featuring celebrities embedded in the sidewalk. If it’s museums you prefer, you’ll find one of the best at the Getty Center, comprising impressive galleries through multiple buildings. You can also read up on our picks for the best art museums in Los Angeles and what to see there.
Driving away from Los Angeles, you’ll transition from the busiest city on the coast to one of the most desolate areas in the U.S. The hottest and driest desert on the continent, Death Valley National Park also features the area with the lowest elevation at 282 feet below sea level. The lack of vegetation and water resulted in a showcase of some of the most beautiful geological features. Colorful rock formations, salt flats, and golden sand dunes enchant the senses here. During a summer visit, you can’t do much more than drive through, but the scenery is still worth it. Stop at the sand dunes, drive the 9-mile-long Artist Drive, and before leaving, stop at Zabriskie Point for some of the best views in the park.
The town of Mammoth Lakes lies at the foothills of Mammoth Mountain at an elevation of 7,880 feet. A gateway to the scenic mountain and to Devils Postpile National Monument, the town and its immediate surroundings offer outdoor activities year-round in an area of unbelievable natural beauty. Driving toward Devils Postpile, you’ll reach the ski resort of Mammoth Lakes. You can spend some time here, enjoying outdoor activities, shopping, or taking the ski lift on the scenic ride to the summit of Mammoth Mountain. Take the scenic drive surrounding the town, then head over to the Mammoth Lakes Basin, where you’ll find several crystal-clear mountain lakes surrounded by deep pine forests. Here, you’ll enjoy hiking opportunities on trails ranging from easy to strenuous. Don’t leave town before walking through the picturesque Mammoth Village in the center of town for great dining and shopping opportunities.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park can be the primary destination of the road trip. If you are visiting Yosemite, visitors now need reservations to enter the park. Besides that, to enjoy this road trip, you need to ensure Tioga Pass is open. In the park, explore the higher elevations along Tioga Road. Take a hike in Tuolumne Meadows for gorgeous views of the waterways, and often wildlife. Spend time on the shores of Tenaya Lake, where you can walk the rim trail, swim (though the water is always cold), fish, or kayak. Have a picnic near the rushing Yosemite Creek, and stop for gorgeous scenic views at Olmsted Point. Down in Yosemite Valley, and throughout the park, enjoy a few hikes with gorgeous views of the famous waterfalls, surrounded by green meadows and towering granite rocks. As the best-known area of the park, Yosemite Valley is extremely popular and may get congested. However, if you get there early or late in the day, you should be fine. You’ll also find the Visitor Center and the park’s store here. For the most spectacular (and most famous) views of Yosemite Valley, drive up to Glacier Point, where you can take several short hikes to different viewpoints.
Sequoia And Kings Canyon National Parks
As spectacular as Yosemite is, the highlight of this trip may also be Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The dramatic landscape of these parks includes towering mountains, deep canyons, and rugged foothills, but the most amazing thing about them is that they’re home to the world’s largest trees. Sequoia National Park is home to the General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest tree by volume, standing at 275 feet tall, with over 36 feet of circumference at the base. A paved but steep trail leads to it, one you cannot miss. The famous giant is part of the larger sequoia grove, the Giant Forest, offering an extensive network of hiking trails, from 1- and 2 hour-long hikes to half-day and longer ones. In Kings Canyon’s Grant Grove, you’ll find the stunning General Grant Tree. Home to many of the largest sequoias in the park, the hike through Grant Grove was probably my favorite in the park. No wonder, since according to the National Park Service site, “a higher percentage of this grove’s mature sequoias reach sizes of ten, fifteen, and twenty feet in diameter than any other grove.” The trail also leads through a fallen sequoia, offering an inside view of its hollow log.
Text by Emese Fromm | Photo by Shutterstock | Read More Here