Day Hikes On the California Central Coast, 2nd

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  1. San Luis Obispo County Events | Festivals, Sports, Concerts
  2. California’s Best Coastal Campgrounds
  3. 9 of San Luis Obispo County's Best Coastal Hikes | KCET
  4. Related Pages

Pull over for a quick walk to the aptly named Big Tree, and watch for more wild elk herds. For the more adventurous driver, the unpaved Davison Road travels to Gold Bluffs Beach, a mile stretch of waterfront where s prospectors mined for gold dust in the sand. Continue past Gold Bluffs to the end of the road and Fern Canyon trailhead. Here you have two options: a one-mile loop through spectacular Fern Canyon, or a longer walk on the Coastal Trail past three mini-waterfalls. History explains how, in the late s, limestone was harvested from a nearby slope, then fed into the hulking kilns.

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San Luis Obispo County Events | Festivals, Sports, Concerts

Intense heat—with kiln fires fueled by felled redwoods—extracted pure lime, a key ingredient in construction cement, which was used in buildings in San Francisco and Monterey. Once all the nearby reserves of limestone and redwoods were used up, the kilns were abandoned. Slowly, the forest recovered, and the second-growth redwood stands in this park today make for a pleasant and shady escape not to mention one with an interesting past.


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In the midst of this intensely naturalistic setting, the four iron-and-stone kilns rise, scarred and imposing, like monuments to some bygone civilization. Pitch a tent—car and RV camping is not accommodated—in one of the 29 campsites located creekside, on the beachfront, and in the forest. You can reserve a site up to six months in advance. A wild and beautiful meeting of land and sea, Salt Point State Park encompasses 6, acres along the Sonoma coast, about 95 miles north of San Francisco.

Grassy terraces crown wind-lashed headlands where sandstone cliffs drop abruptly to the Pacific. Bisected by Highway 1, this beautiful coastal park, 17 miles north of the mouth of the Russian River and the hamlet of Jenner, gives you plenty of reasons to pull over and start Instagramming. Better yet, get out and explore: choose from some 20 miles of trails leading to sights such as wind and water-carved tafoni, or honeycombed sandstone formations. Head north from the main park entrance to Fisk Mill Cove, popular for abalone diving, to follow a bluff-top trail.

This level path meanders through a forest with rhododendrons and ferns to peek-a-boo views of rocky pocket beaches with crashing waves, playful seals, and abalone divers. Save energy to climb to the top of Sentinel Rock for a striking coastal overlook. Insider tip: Salt Point State Park has two campgrounds—perfect for first time family campers.

Best on calm days, Gerstle Cove Campground, on the ocean side of the highway, features exciting sea views, while pine-shaded Woodside Campground, on the more protected east side of the highway, offers better shelter on windy days. This state park, just west of the quiet mountain town of Markleeville, may or may not have been discovered in by John C. Fremont, the explorer credited with first sighting Lake Tahoe. There are few places in California—and maybe on the planet—that can make you think you might just be on Mars. This is one of them.

At this high-desert preserve, on the eastern side of the towering Sierra, ghostlike tufa towers trim the edges of a one-million-year-old lake, the salty remnant of an ancient inland sea. Over a million sea birds feed on the surface and swirl overhead—AN incredible show of life in this seemingly desolate setting. Get yourself oriented with a visit to the excellent interpretive center, just off U. Inside, exhibits shed light on the natural and human history of the Mono Basin, including major environmental challenges caused by water diversions that almost killed the lake.

Huge efforts by the local Mono Lake Committee, with a gift-filled shop in Lee Vining, have successfully saved it. Wraparound decks offer expansive views of the dramatic setting—Sierra peaks to the west, chaparral-dotted desert to the east, and views of the lake and its tiny Wizard Island, an important nesting site for Western gulls and other sea birds. Bird walks are offered at 8 a. Fridays and Sundays, mid-May through Labor Day.

The Visitor Center is closed Dec-Mar. Guided paddles are also offered through Caldera Kayaks. Whether you dream of carving a wave for the first time, relaxing at a wine country estate, taking a spin on an iconic theme park ride Discover the Deserts. Discover the Central Coast.

Spotlight: Hearst Castle. Wraparound views, lavish designs. Spotlight: Big Sur. Watch a waterfall tumble to the beach. Expand Hide. More Resources. Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Ewoldsen Trail. See Monterey County — Big Sur.

California’s Best Coastal Campgrounds

Big Sur - Dining. Discover Gold Country. Tour a Gold Rush mansion then go underground. Empire Mine State Historic Park. Empire Mine Tours. Downtown Grass Valley. More Ideas. See where the rush for gold started. California River Rafting Adventures. Gold Rush history. Visit El Dorado County. Step into the s in this Gold Country gem. Columbia State Historic Park. Chamber of Commerce. Stanislaus National Forest. Discover the High Sierra. Tour the eerie remnants of a former boomtown.

Bodie State Historic Park. Discover Orange County. Stroll a perfect beach with an intriguing past. Crystal Cove State Park. Crystal Cove Beach Cottages. The Beachcomber. Ruby's Shake Shack. Spotlight: Lake Tahoe. By foot, by boat, or by flipper, visit Lake Tahoe's exquisite bay. Vikingsholm and history of Emerald Bay.

Rubicon Trail details.

9 of San Luis Obispo County's Best Coastal Hikes | KCET

Dixie II cruises. Lake Tahoe yacht charters. Hiking in Lake Tahoe. Summer Fun in Lake Tahoe. Hike through redwood forests to Big Sur River. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Valley View Trail. Big Sur Lodge. Big Sur Dining. Luxury Lodging in Big Sur. Glen Oaks Big Sur. Bixby Bridge. Spotlight: Santa Cruz. Ancient redwoods and camping just north of town. Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

Visit Santa Cruz County. Explore a supersize world, with big trees, big elk, and big wows. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Redwood hikes. Holiday Inn Express Eureka. California Coastal Redwoods Parks. Visit historic kilns and hike to the beach. Limekiln State Park. Hiking in Big Sur. Camping Reservations - Limekiln State Park. Big Sur Chamber of Commerce. Road Trip: Highway 1 Classic. Discover the San Francisco Bay Area. Camp and hike on wave-carved headlands. Salt Point State Park. Sonoma Coast State Park. Soak in naturally heated mineral pools.

Things to do in Alpine County. Visit bizarre formations, cinder cones, and a super-salty lake. Mono County Tourism. More To Explore. California: Culinary. Spotlight: Fresno. Regions Pick a region form the map or the list below to explore. Shasta Cascade 2. North Coast 3. Gold Country 4.

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San Francisco Bay Area 5. High Sierra 6. Central Valley 7. Central Coast 8. Deserts 9. Inland Empire Los Angeles County Orange County San Diego County. The entire Disneyland resort experience features hotels, dining, shopping at the Downtown Disney District, and the Disney Adventure Park. Although the parks are definitely what the children are here to see, there is something for everyone in the family. Accommodation: Where to Stay near Disneyland.

Death Valley National Park contains some of California's most inhospitable terrain, with extreme heat that has left this desert area strangely beautiful. Salt fields, dry parched land, sand dunes, mountains, and a lake that lies below sea level create a unique landscape in this remote valley. Visitors can drive through the park and stop at lookouts, hike short trails, see the ruins of the valley's former industry, and even paddle in the shallow Badwater Lake, if there is any water in the lake at that time. Accommodation: Where to Stay near Death Valley. This beautiful stretch along the Central Coast of California offers a chance for visitors to get back to nature.

Camping and hiking are two of the most popular activities in the area, and Garrapata State Park and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park are some of the best places for these pursuits. From Highway 1 there are splendid views over the picturesque coastline. To the east stretches a true wilderness - the Santa Lucia Mountains and Ventana Forests, with more than miles of trails. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park is a great place for hikers, sunbathers, and those looking for a nature escape.

Junipero Serra Peak central coast of California. Pacific Coast Hiking

The park has camping facilities and, for anyone looking for a little more comfort, the Big Sur Lodge offers a peaceful retreat in a superb location. A branch off this trail leads to the Valley Overlook with views that extend to the ocean and the Big Sur River Valley. Garrapata State Park is another popular area of Big Sur. The main attraction here is Garrapata Beach, a long, wide, crescent-shaped stretch of golden sand. Waves here can be big, and it may not be the best for swimming but it's great for taking a stroll and soaking up the sun.

For those looking to get a little exercise, there are also day hiking trails in the park providing fabulous views of the coastline, mountains, and redwoods. Accommodation: Where to Stay near Big Sur. Lake Tahoe lies high in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and is a popular year-round vacation destination. The blue lake, with it's turquoise coves and surrounding mountain scenery, is a summer playground for boaters, beach goers, campers, and nature lovers.

You'll find outstanding hiking trails for all abilities in the mountains and along the shoreline. Campgrounds in the area are also excellent, with many in beachfront locations or wooded areas. Much of the summertime action focuses around the town of South Lake Tahoe. Lake Tahoe is also California's premiere skiing destination, with several popular ski resorts. During the winter, skiers from across the United States descend on the area to take advantage of the incredible terrain and great snow conditions.


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  7. Home to the largest trees on earth, a visit to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is a bucket-list event. The sequoias here are the largest living things in the world, and many of them are more than 2, years old, with some even over 3, years old. These adjacent parks cover an area of mountains with majestic granite peaks, deep gorges, lakes, rivers, and forests, but they are quite different from each other. If you are planning on visiting both parks, you will need at least a couple of days. Although both parks are home to the giant sequoias, Sequoia National Park is arguably the best place to visit these ancient wonders.

    Easy walking trails, many of them paved, meander through the trees and provide easy access to the major sites. This park is also home to Mt. Whitney, which at 14, feet is the highest mountain in the US apart from Alaska. You can find some beautiful campgrounds in Sequoia National Park , many of which are well positioned for visiting the trees and other attractions, like Moro Rock, and the famous giant sequoia known as General Sherman Tree.

    Kings Canyon National Park is more rugged and wild, with jagged peaks, roaring rivers, and remote sections where you can escape the crowds and enjoy nature. This is a popular park for hiking. You'll also find some incredible campgrounds in Kings Canyon , both close to the trees, in the Grant Grove area, and in the Cedar Grove area at the far end of the mile Kings Canyon Scenic Byway. Walking through a forest of giant redwoods, towering more than feet above you, feels like entering another era. Descendants of trees from the Jurassic Period, these are the tallest trees on the planet, and they are truly one of California's greatest treasures.

    Each offers something a little different, but in all of them you can find great hiking trails and beautiful campgrounds. This park is truly a jewel in the desert. The Joshua trees bring a type of magic to this otherwise lunar-like landscape, where giant boulders and rock formations create unique shapes that capture the imagination. The park covers , acres and offers a range of diverse sites that include much more than just the Joshua trees.

    The Cholla Cactus Garden, where chollas stretch out endlessly along the hillside to the mountains beyond, the ruins of the historic Keys Ranch, the giant palms of the Lost Palms Oasis, and the vista from over 5, feet at Keys View are just some of the highlights. If you are going to stay awhile, you may want to consider spending a night under the stars and trees at one of the fabulous campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park.

    This amusement park and movie studio is one of the most popular attractions in California, and the perfect place for families with older children and teens. Rides and sets are based on famous movies, with everything from shockingly realistic simulator rides to roller coasters, and much more. You can tour huge sets on organized studio tours. You'll also find dining, shows, unique shopping opportunities, and various events held throughout the year.