Vine adventures: California’s wilderness


Lonely Planet Pathfinder Nellie Huang recently went on a trip to California and gives us a glimpse of the spectacular snowy scenery she witnessed while there.

‘The first time I saw California was 10 years ago. I fell in love with the sun-drenched, laid back Golden State and have been dropping in for a visit every other year ever since. Over time it has become a lot more popular with travellers who visit the state for its beautiful beaches, stunning national parks and So Cal lifestyle. However, what does a trip in the winter months hold? I headed to three of its national parks to experience California’s snowy back country wilderness.’


‘As one of the most well known national parks in the USA, Yosemite is renown for its spectacular granite cliffs, waterfalls, giant sequoia groves and biological diversity. Almost 95% of the park is designated wilderness. Free wilderness permits are required year-round for any overnight stay in the Yosemite Wilderness.’


‘The easiest way to get to Yosemite National Park is by car, but note that extreme winter conditions may require the use of tire chains to navigate the park roads safely. Always check the national park website beforehand and prepare yourself for some challenging driving in snow.’


‘Winter is undoubtedly the best time to visit Lake Tahoe, one of the deepest and most beautiful lakes in the USA. If you’re lucky, you’ll find the lake frozen and glistening in all of her glory, coated in sparkling diamonds of ice and snow.’


‘It’s easy to get stunning views of the lake from just about any part of the shoreline. My favourite viewpoint is at Cave Rock, a large rock formation on the southeastern shore. The intense colour of water in combination with the imposing mountains that surround it makes her brilliance more amplified than in other places.’


‘Palm Springs may be known for being the holiday haunt of movie stars, but it’s actually surrounded by wilderness that is easily accessible from town. Just a five minute drive from downtown Palm Springs is Tahquitz Canyon, a rugged canyon that used to be inhabited by the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians and has now been converted into a natural park.’


‘The Tahquitz Canyon trail is a two mile loop trail which leads through big boulders, crystal clear streams, cacti gardens and ends at the Tahquitz Falls. From the Visitor Center to the falls you will be ascending 350 feet in elevation. The trail is relatively easy but it’s rocky and involves a gradual uphill climb, so make sure you wear appropriate footwear.’

Do you love to write about your travels? Or perhaps Instagram is your thing? Find out more about our Pathfinders programme and how you can contribute to Lonely Planet here.

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