After spending the past week cruising along the ocean, it was time for us to head out to the second half of our trip. Make sure you check out part one if you just got here! As with all my favorite travels, I love when I have the opportunity to sneak in a National Park visit. After some splendid days at Big Sur, we cut east to head to King Canyon and Sequoia National Park. Of course, this was not without a stop in the ever-famous In-and-Out Burger. Mind you, we’re both vegetarians so we weren’t exactly sure how this would go. But, oh boy, the sandwich-sans burger (it’s a thing!) was fantastic. If we hadn’t been so preoccupied with devouring every acai bowl we could get our hands on, I feel like we would have been here for every meal.
We made our way through the small central towns of California to a dot on the map we found near the park entrance. We booked an adorable AirBnb in a woman’s home near the center of the ‘city’. Exeter is a charming town with one central street filled with shops and restaurants. True to the small town vibe, the majority of places close early in the evening so we struggled to find a place to eat that night. Luckily, pizza to the rescue. The town does have slightly error feel given that it seems deserted most of the time…and we only later found out was the home to the Golden State Killer. So, it was fascinating to be in a place where we most likely would never end up again.
Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park
After a cozy night and an early morning breakfast of granola bars and tea, we headed up the winding roads to the visitor center for the park. We had wanted to hike out ot Mosquito Lake, but after reading about the insanely treacherous drive to that end of the park, we decided to stick closer to the main route with just as stunning vistas.
Moro: An awesome ‘trail’ that is mostly a bus ride up from the visitor center than a few sets of stairs to a very precarious rock. Views are simply amazing with very little work to get there. Highly recommend!
General Sherman Tree: a family-friendly trail downhill to the largest tree in the world. There is a lot of parking here, but even so, it was packed. Neat to see, but not a ton else along the route. But a forest of Sequoia trees is rather magnificent.
Emerald Lake Via Heather Lake: This was one of my favorite hikes. The hike leads to Pear Lake via tow smaller lakes nestled high in the mountains. We decided to stick with a 13 mile out and back and passed through Heather Lake and turned around at emerald Lake after enjoying a packed lunch. The best park of this hike is there are views the entire way up. If you’d not looking out over the canyon, the path is filled with wildflowers and wildlife.
We spent our time in L.A. as any tourist would.Although we spent less than 24 hours here, we still enjoyed an afternoon walking the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a drive up to the Hollywood sign and people watching in Santa Monica. Because L.A. is so large, I found that we weren’t totally able to find our compatible neighborhood but rather stuck to the tried-and-true sights. We did have a stellar meal at Sage, which I would absolutely recommend. You could certainly spend our entire week here and continually uncover something new, but luckily if you’re less than thrilled with city living, there’s so much more to see outside the city limits.
What’s your favorite city on the West Coast? Are you more of a city clicker or nature enthusiast?