In September of 2011 we took a trip to California. We visited with some of our friends in the Los Angeles area. We also hit two parks: Joshua Tree and Sequoia. This was our first big National Park trip: the kids were 7 and 5, so we thought they were ready for some long hikes.
First we drove out from L.A. to Joshua Tree National Park. This was a pretty easy drive (once we got out of L.A. traffic): take the 10 straight East and turn left right before you get to Palm Springs.
The park is of course known for its eponymous trees and also features many interesting rock formations.
The highlight of our trip was a hike to 49 Palms Oasis. This was a fairly strenuous hike: about 1.6 miles each way, climbing up a 300’ rise and back down.
We had a little extra time, so we decided to visit Pioneer Town, which is just a few miles from Yucca Valley (where we stayed while visitng the park). Pioneer Town is part actual community and part abandoned movie set.
After spending a couple of days at Joshua Tree, we drove back to L.A. then turned north and headed to Sequoia National Park. The park is in the mountains about halfway between Bakersfield and Fresno, about a 5 hour drive from L.A. The road into the park is a harrowing, with lots of switch-backs and no guard rail. But once you get there, it’s worth it.
The sequoia trees are the largest living things on Earth. The largest one still standing is General Sherman.