Here is an idea to beat the heat and escape from the crowds: take a boat ride to one of the Channel Islands. Island Packers offers round-trip boat rides to Anacapa Island for $59.00. The 11-mile trip leaves from Channel Islands Harbor at 9:30am and takes about an hour. You will likely see dolphins, sea lions, and even whales on the ride to or from the island.
Mt. Baden-Powell is the second highest mountain in the San Gabriel Mountain Range north of Los Angeles. The trail to the top of Mt. Baden Powell begins at Vincent Gap just off Angeles Crest Highway.
This moderately strenuous hike will take you past some of the most beautiful alpine scenery the Sierra Nevada has to offer.
This month’s blog refers to the same general area of Utah as last month's post about Zion National Park.
One of the most scenic areas of our coast is north of San Luis Obispo. The shoreline turns rugged as the mountains rise steeply from the ocean. Abundant coastal fog in the summer months makes conditions suitable for coast redwoods to grow. One of the best spots to see the redwoods is Big Basin National Park. To get there drive the 101 to just south of San Jose and head west towards the coast. From Big Basin our next attraction is Point Lobos, which is just south of Carmel, on Highway 1.
This is going to be the longest of Joel’s Journeys, but your blogger thinks it’s worth it. You will avoid crowds by going to some less visited national parks while there is still considerable snow on the ground in early July!
The lowest point in the United States, at 282 feet below sea level, is Death Valley National Park. In addition to being the lowest point, Death Valley has the hottest recorded temperature on earth—134 Fahrenheit! Average rainfall is less than two inches per year, making Death Valley a difficult environment for plants to grow. This produces a barren environment in which the amazing colors of the rocks are highlighted.
Ninety percent of people who travel to Grand Canyon National Park go to the south rim. The north rim of the Grand Canyon is about 600 miles from Ventura County and just 100 miles beyond the south rim.
Our last blog (#20) finished up in Capitol Reef National Park where I said you could continue on Highway 24 northeast to Interstate 70 (
47 miles north of Lone Pine lies the small town of Big Pine. The largest glacier in the Sierra Nevada (North Palisade Glacier) lies in this area.
Abundant rains have allowed some above average wild flower blooms in our area. One place to go is California Poppy Preserve State Park ($10.00 parking fee) which is 15 miles west of Lancaster.
The wait is over for the additional installment of pictures we pledged in Joel's Journeys #9. If you missed the initial post and all of the orange California poppies on display in it you can circle back to the link above and find them there right now. So grab yourself a Yoo-Hoo so you match all of that yellow, use it to chase down your favorite antihistamine, breathe deep, then take a gander at the splendorous panoramas of the dizzying heights near Mugu Peak. That's about as southwest as the VC gets!
If you go to our local mountains in the spring, there are many interesting pictures that can be taken. The Santa Monica Mountains are green and flowers are in bloom.
Take Highway 14 and 395 for 310 miles and you reach the exit to Mammoth (Highway 203). Drive through the town and turn right on the road to Devils Postpile and Red's Meadow.
Southern California's highest mountain is Mount San Gorgonio at 11,499 ft. It is 27 miles east of San Bernardino. To get there, choose your most appropriate route to Highway 38 (the back way to Big Bear) in Redlands.
If you leave Los Angeles and go east on Interstate 10, you will come to a pass just east of Redlands. On the north side of the highway you will see Mount San Gorgonio (11,500 ft.) and south of the highway is Mount San Jacinto (10,804 ft.). Mt. San Jacinto is a California State Park. Here is a link to the web site.
This blog will be the sixth about the Sierra Nevada. This time, instead of entering from the east, our journey begins from the crowded west side that over 90% of the public uses. In order to avoid the crowds, it’s essential to enter Yosemite National Parks as early as possible. If you make the mistake of not leaving Fresno until 8:30am (even in April as your blogger did!) be prepared to spend considerable time in search of a parking spot. In addition to the crowds, Yosemite Valley frequently has temperatures above 90 degrees in the summer and forest fires are a real possibility.
This blog is about the fourth most visited national park in the United States. Located about 163 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Zion National Park gets crowded for good reason as you will see from the pictures.
My suggestion is to arrive at the park as early as possible (8am or before) and to visit in the fall or spring.