Best of the West Summer Trips part 1
Yes, summer is in full swing and now is the best time of year to take advantage of trips that will give you a change of scenery and change your life. Check out the various trips listed below for the highlight of your summer.
Los Angeles to Joshua Tree
Miles: 133 (2 hours and 15 minutes)
Break away from the urban city-scape to see a night under the stars brighter than the city lights. On the way, grab lunch at Pappy and Harriet’s which is an old tex-mex restaurant built in the 1940’s for western films. Enjoy the day and camp out under the stars as the nights offer moderate temperatures.
The area offers thousands of climbs and bouldering for people of all degrees of skill. This is the mecca of grippy granite climbing. There are numerous hiking routes including the Hidden Valley Trail and Cholla Cactus Garden. Ride on the numerous mountain bike and off-roading trails (check our maps for directions) and be sure to see Skull Rock and the Arch Rock. The area also offers, horseback riding and rock climbing school teaching you the ropes. Check in at the visitor centers for additional activities.
Phoenix to the Grand Canyon
Miles: 224 (3 hours and 25 minutes)
One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, every time I see the sunrise over the Grand Canyon, it feels like walking into Star Wars. Walking down into the Grand Canyon only further entrenches those notions especially on the way back up you realize just how deep the canyon truly is. While the Grand Canyon can be hiked down and up in one day, the National Park Service advises against it. To camp at the bottom you are “supposed to” obtain a permit from the Backcountry Information Center.Check out my last trip to the Grand Canyon and the day I was late for work. (http://www.outboundexplorers.com/the-day-i-was-late-for-work/)
If you have tons of money to throw around, check out some of the various rafting trips offered that ride through the river at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. If you have a little less money, check out the skywalk to enjoy all the views of flying a mile above the earth without the rough landing. But be sure to take in views of the sunrise and a trek down into the Grand Canyon. It’s recommended to head down early into the canyon to beat the heat and explore at the bottom before camping, then heading back up the next day.
San Francisco to Big Sur
Miles: 146 (2 hours, 30 minutes)
We could try to explain it, or just let a montage of pictures validate it instead.
The highlights include the Pheiffer Beach and Partington Cove that is only accessible through a 60 foot tunnel where you can stroll down the beach. McWay Falls is the picture on top. The area also offers the Point Lighthouse, Sand Dollar Falls and you’ll inevitably drive over Bixby Creek Bridge For lunch on the south end, check out Sebastian’s General Store where the burger or the roast beef sandwich are great.
Yosemite from Anywhere
Of course there are the well renowned sites such as Half Dome with the awesome 8.5 mile each way route past waterfalls, cliff faces to the picturesque top 4,737 feet above the ground but you need to book reservations for this months in advance. Check out Yosemite Falls which is 2,424 feet and is the tallest waterfall in North America where the water runs the most during spring. The Tuolomne Meadows offers countless species of plants and animals, making it the best place to have a picnic. The earlier you try to book camping, the more success you will most likely have. Be on the lookout for bears, deer, foxes and fish.
In addition to the family hikes and sites, there are some of the world class rock climbs located in Yosemite Valley including El Capitan and Half Dome. Generally hikes aren’t considered to be that intensive or enthralling for adrenaline seekers, but the sites and climbs even on well traveled routes such as the Mist Trail consisting of hundreds of stairs ascending past two monstrous waterfalls is mesmerizing. The paved roads will get you throughout the whole valley which is the designated bike riding paths; bring your camera.