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Mountains / Lakes Tips (24)


There are a lot of dramatic roads that can be driven throughout the Golden State and this is one of the best. Coming north off of CA 168 just east of the narrow confines of Westgard Pass, the White Mountain Road starts climbing slowly among juniper-clad hills. At about four miles in, the pitch steepens bringing you to Grandview Campground - the only established campground along the road and a waterless campground at that - at five miles and then to the magnificent Sierra View Overlook at eight miles. Now, the road climbs high along the western shoulder of the range coming to the Schulman Grove at 10 miles. The pavement ends here, but the graded road that continues is in good shape, The views just keep getting better as you head north. Most visitors will stop at the Patriarch Grove, a magical grove of ancient bristlecones just surviving - as they have for centuries - right at timberline, just over 11000 feet high. The road continues for another 4.6 miles, however, with the first stretch being fairly steep. You drive across some magical high alpine deserts with White Mountain Peak - 14246 feet high - rising beyond. From the gate, you can dismount and continue to the very peak top - the fourth highest peak in California - but the way covers about15 miles and 2600 feet of elevation gain. SeeChalfant for more on climbing the peak itself.

mtncorg's Profile Photo
Aug 11, 2016

Portola California and Humbug Creek

OK, so this is not a big, important place to go in California, but if you want to frown your mug at Humbug Creek, this is the place to do it. Located in Portola California, NW of Lake Tahoe, Portola is a charming little mountain town. Fishing and Hiking in the summer and snow sports in the winter.

Roadquill's Profile Photo
Sep 03, 2011

Mount Diablo

Mount Diablo dominants the skyline of the San Francisco East Bay region in Central California. Mount Diablo rises from the low flatlands of the East Bay to a summit of 3,849 feet (1,173m). Its peak offers commanding views of Central California. Although being far from the highest peak in California, the mountain’s climb from its low base to its top is impressive.

The best time to observe the view is the morning after a winter storm when haze is at a minimum. A long winding road awaits those who venture to the top. The mountain is encompassed by Mount Diablo State Park. The park contains a myriad of hiking trails. The best hiking in the park occurs in spring and fall when the temperature is moderate and little mud is found on the trails. In the summer, the park can be extremely hot. Anyone hiking in the summer would do well to get an early start to avoid the mid-day heat and carry lots of water. Dogs are not allowed on the trails.

Although the mountain is over 30 miles away from San Francisco, it can be easily seen across the bay on clear day. Mount Diablo is a natural landmark of the San Francisco Bay Area. Its peak is occasionally covered with clouds.

Mt. Diablo is located in Contra Costa County, south of Clayton and northeast of Danville near Walnut Creek in the San Francisco East Bay Region.

SteveOSF's Profile Photo
Jun 19, 2009

Mono Lake

Mono Lake is a beautiful out of the way spot east of the Sierras at Lee Vining, California. Mono Lake covers over 65 square miles and is over one million years old. Streams have long carried salts and minerals into the lake. As water is evaporated, the salts and minerals are left behind. Since the lake has no outlet, the salinity of the water is high. In fact, Mono Lake is far more salty than ocean water. Mineral deposits called tufa protrude vertically from the lakes serene shores. This scenic lake was seriously threatened due to water diversions from its tributaries to the Los Angeles area before a compromised was reached. The lake remains an important nesting ground for a variety of birds. Beautiful hiking trails can be found in the area. The ghost town of Bodie is also nearby. This peaceful spot is a nice place for a getaway.

SteveOSF's Profile Photo
Mar 23, 2008
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Little Lakes Valley

In the eastern Sierras, tucked away 10 miles off highway 395 and 2 miles beyond the trailhead aptly named Mosquito Flats, is as area of unspoiled beauty and one of the greatest wilderness areas in the state. Little Lakes Valley is breathtaking. And its only a short, relatively level hike to this area of clear blue lakes and towering mountains.

For more information, feel free to browse my Mammoth Lakes page.

goingsolo's Profile Photo
Jun 25, 2007

Mount Baldy ski resort

Mount Baldy is about a 90 minute drive from Los Angeles. Depending on traffic, that is. Located on the outskirts of unremarkable Ontario, Baldy is a pleasant respite from traffic jams and other incidences of the big city life. The mountain rises to about 10,400 feet. While the scenery doesn't compare to the beauty of the Sierras or the incomparible views along the Pacific Coast Highway, its a pleasant enough place to get away from it all.

For more information, feel free to browse my Mount Baldy page.

goingsolo's Profile Photo
Apr 16, 2007

Mount San Jacinto

On the outskirts of Palm Springs, you'll find the San Jacinto mountains. San Jacinto peak is the most popular and fairly easily reached via a 5.5 mile trail beginning at the tram station and slowly gaining elevation. As you gain altitude, you'll lose the desert heat and the cooler temps are a welcome relief on all but the most bitter winter day.
For more information, feel free to browse my San Jacinto page.

goingsolo's Profile Photo
Apr 16, 2007

Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay is one of the most breathtaking sites found along Lake Tahoe. Whether you stay on the North or South side of the lake, this is a must see. Emerald Bay contains the lake's only island, shown in the photo. Atop the island sits the somewhat famous teahouse which once belonged to Lora Knight. Boat tours are available in the summer. In the winter, the drive to Emerald Bay winds past spectacular mountain scenery to the lookout, just two miles from D.L. Bliss State Park.

We took the drive the day after a decent snowstorm. Seeing the lake from atop a snow perch and the island partially covered in snow was a spectacular sight and one of my most fond memories of Tahoe.

goingsolo's Profile Photo
Dec 26, 2006

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To the land of the Giants.

Take a drive to Seqoia National Park. I did it from San Francisco CA. It was about a 5 hour trip and another 2 hours up the Sierras. Be carefull, its a long winding twisting road and dangerous too. Only for the adventure types. THAT BE ME.
This little Chevy Cobalt got me to the park in "Jet Like" fashion. (I did the speed limit too.)

Thestumps's Profile Photo
Jun 26, 2005

Sutter Creek in the Sierra foothills....

This is the main street of this small community on highway 49 in the Gold Country.
It's a very charming little town but it is becoming a little too touristy...lots of trendy bed&breakfast places, expensive antique stores and too much traffic on the week-ends.
I would recommend visiting the town during the week. Don't forget to go off main street and drive or walk through the back neighborhoods.

Jeannette1's Profile Photo
Jul 13, 2003

Mountain View to Santa Barbara

Take the Highway 154 loop into or out of Santa Barbara to get the fabulous coastal view from the mountains. Stop at the Los Padres forest lookout for the wide open view inland. Spend the day fishing in a rented boat or view eagles and other birds at Lake Cachuma.

Mar 11, 2003

if you've got a car i would...

if you've got a car i would recommend nevada county & lake tahoe.
nevada co. is mostly small town but somewhere like grass valley/nevada city is a good base from which to walk/cycle. grass valley is facility laden for a small place,with all the major supermarkets etc while nevada city is as close to historical as the US gets -having been a major gold mining area
camping at scott's flat lake is cool or carr lake etc off highway 20 (i think )if you want some foresty wilderness.
continue up h20 or i80 to lake tahoe which has some great beaches. tahoe city. stateline & south lake tahoe are the only real towns but if you like water sports (or snow sports in winter) it's great.

Sep 12, 2002

Things To Do in California

Things to do

Bubblegum Alley

BUBBLE GUM ALLEY!!! SAY, WHAT! This may sound crazy but those that know go to the famous or infamous, depending on your yucky gauge, Bubble Gum Alley located on Higuera Street, around 735 Higuera...
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Farmers Market

Thursday evening Farmers Market is looked forward to by locals and tourists alike. This is a big deal in San Luis Obispo. The main street in town, Higuera Street, is closed down to vehicular traffic...
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Things to do

San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

The mission post San Luis Obispo de Tolosa dates from 1772 and is situated right in the center of the preprossessing town. It's the first mission post which was finished off with red roofing-tiles....
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Things to do

Morro Bay State Park

Morro Bay State Park is a couple of miles away from Morro Bay itself. It is a well developed park and used a lot by residents. Most of the park lies away from the coast, but there is a marina where...
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Things to do

Museum of Natural History

Built in the 1960's this musuem has kept up with times by building additions. We made sure we checked out this musuem when we were here. It has some really wonderful dispays that teaches everyone of...
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Things to do

Morro Rock

Is it the yellow submarine? No, no, no. I don't want to go. Wait! It isn't a submarine but it is a boat, half in the water with windows to the sea and half out of the water with fresh air seating...
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Getting to California


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