Central California is not only home to the fertile Central Valley, but also some of the highest mountain peaks in the U.S. We’re in an incredible location for immensely diverse scenery, and it’s available for all levels of hiking abilities. Here are three hikes to give you a sample of trails our backyard has to offer.
Our first stop is one of the most popular places to cool off during the hot Valley summers. Willow Creek is nestled in the foothills, providing views and impressive waterfalls for day-trippers. This isn’t the longest trail around, but a couple of steep sections will get your heart rate up. Later in the summer when the creek is low, the cold water is a welcome relief after hiking in the heat.
If a flatter trail is more your style, you’ll love walking around Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. It’s accessible year-round, and each season offers a unique experience. This trail is packed with some of the world’s largest living organisms and fascinating history, all in less than a half mile. You can walk through a fallen sequoia that has been used in many ways, including a saloon and hotel. Take a peek inside the home of the park’s first ranger, and gaze up at the massive General Grant, our nation’s Christmas tree.
Finally, we have a trail that’s in between a wooded waterfall hike and a peaceful sequoia grove. Numerous trails meander through the Sierra National Forest, and a hike to Twin Lakes will give you sweeping high country views, and two serene lakes. Whether you’re on a day hike or your first backpacking trip, adventurers can relax, swim and connect with nature.