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Old 03-02-2017, 06:07 PM
 
2,859 posts, read 1,264,366 times
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In another thread, volosong and RuggedAlpha both waxed poetic about how special and beautiful they find the Anza Borrego State Park.

That's one of my favorite places in California too. I love the wide open spaces, the quiet, and the rugged beauty of the park and I try to spend as much time as I can there. To me, it's one of the most magical parts of my California.

That got me to wondering about what other natural places do other Californians find special? When you think about "my California" what outdoor place pops in your mind? What place do you return to again and again?

There are some obvious answers like "the beach" or "Yosemite." If you're saying "the beach" which beach? And is there a place in Yosemite that you've discovered that is a little off the beaten path? But most of all, I'd love to hear about places that may not yet be on my radar, but should be.

So, where is YOUR special natural place in California, and why is it special?
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:18 PM
 
Location: Downtown Los Angeles
708 posts, read 184,817 times
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Joshua Tree, Channel Islands National Park, Lassen National Park, the Santa Barbara/Carpentaria coastline, and, of course, Yosemite.
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Old 03-02-2017, 06:37 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Western Urbanite View Post
Joshua Tree, Channel Islands National Park, Lassen National Park, the Santa Barbara/Carpentaria coastline, and, of course, Yosemite.
Lassen was surprisingly awesome!

A few fave spots...

When we go see my brother in Old Shasta right up the road from Redding, my fave place to be is Wiskeytown Lake... in the summer when it's hot I could hang at Brandy Beach and go in and out of the cold water all day and float on rafts. Been doing that for many summers for decades! Then my hubby and I often say good bye to the bro and drive the 299, have brunch in Weaverville and end up somewhere on the northern coast of California. Temp drops about 30 degrees, the ocean is stunning and the Redwoods divine.

Just about a year ago we took a road trip up the 395 for the first time. Ha! All these years going to Shasta, we just didn't get around to the Eastern Sierras! Well, we've been through there 3 times now for short trips. A lot closer to Orange County, so it's a nice getaway, and we've been as far as the Twin Lakes area outside of Bridgeport. There're a lot of things to do over there... we haven't really settled on any one specific place as it's all interesting from Lone Pine up. Next time hubs and I go to Redding, we'll be going up the 395, all the way up to Tahoe before cutting over.

Have fun splorin'!
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:12 PM
Status: "Retired" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: SoCal
282 posts, read 153,175 times
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Far North Redwood Coast, Tahoe, Big Sur. If I could live anywhere in CA it would be the Big Sur coast; very special, spiritual, wild and free.
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:27 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 90077 View Post
Far North Redwood Coast, Tahoe, Big Sur. If I could live anywhere in CA it would be the Big Sur coast; very special, spiritual, wild and free.
I'm ashamed to admit that after 30 years of living here, I've never made it to Lake Tahoe. We're hoping to get up there this summer though. Is there a specific area or place there that you'd recommend? In particular, we like to hike and I am into photography.

I'm really enjoying all the answers so far -- keep them coming!
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:31 PM
 
2,859 posts, read 1,264,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Podo944 View Post
Lassen was surprisingly awesome!

A few fave spots...

When we go see my brother in Old Shasta right up the road from Redding, my fave place to be is Wiskeytown Lake... in the summer when it's hot I could hang at Brandy Beach and go in and out of the cold water all day and float on rafts. Been doing that for many summers for decades! Then my hubby and I often say good bye to the bro and drive the 299, have brunch in Weaverville and end up somewhere on the northern coast of California. Temp drops about 30 degrees, the ocean is stunning and the Redwoods divine.

This sounds like an awesome way to spend a few days. I've been to the Shasta and Redding areas a few times, and of course also jave to the extreme Northern Coast many times. Beautiful areas both, but I never thought about combining them like that. Great idea!
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Old 03-02-2017, 07:35 PM
 
Location: Westminster/Huntington Beach, CA
1,702 posts, read 763,719 times
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I have a soft spot for the Cleveland National Forest of Orange and San Diego counties. Love hiking through Trabuco Canyon, Holy Jim, Blackstar, Whiting Ranch, etc. I especially love that it's such a stark contrast going from posh and sterile southern OC, and 20-30 minutes later you are in the middle of nowhere with Harley riders and people who will shoot you for trespassing on their property.

Another cool thing about the canyons in the foothills is that they have natural features you wouldn't expect in semi-arid SoCal. For instance, Holy Jim Canyon is a narrow but dense and lush canyon of oaks and sycamores with Trabuco Creek running down the middle. It even has a waterfall! The ravine walls are even covered in ferns...kinda looks like you could replace the oaks with redwoods and you'd be somewhere up north.

Last edited by NativeOrange; 03-02-2017 at 08:19 PM..
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:13 PM
 
2,859 posts, read 1,264,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NativeOrange View Post
I have a soft spot for the Cleveland National Forest of Orange and San Diego counties. Love hiking through Trabuco Canyon, Holy Jim, Blackstar, Whiting Ranch, etc. I especially love that it's such a stark contrast going from posh and sterile southern OC, and 20-30 minutes later you are in the middle of nowhere with Harley riders and people who will shoot you for trespassing on their property.

Another cool thing about the canyons in the foothills is that they have natural features you wouldn't expect in semi-arid SoCal. For instance, Holy Jim Canyon is a narrow but dense and lush canyon of oaks and sycamores with Trabuco Creek running down the middle. The ravine walls are even covered in ferns...kinda looks like you could replace the oaks with redwoods and you'd be somewhere up north.
I have a fondness for Cleveland NF too! My property actually backs up to Cleveland (I'm at the Southern end in San Diego County). It's neat hearing about some hikes in OC. In my neck of the woods, I particularly like the Pine Creek Wilderness. I haven't made it through the whole trail (yet) and out the other side in Pine Valley but the area off of Lyons Valley Road/Japutul Road) is really beautiful. Often, I'm the only person there.

Great contribution, thanks NativeOrange!
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Westminster/Huntington Beach, CA
1,702 posts, read 763,719 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RosieSD View Post
I have a fondness for Cleveland NF too! My property actually backs up to Cleveland (I'm at the Southern end in San Diego County). It's neat hearing about some hikes in OC. In my neck of the woods, I particularly like the Pine Creek Wilderness. I haven't made it through the whole trail (yet) and out the other side in Pine Valley but the area off of Lyons Valley Road/Japutul Road) is really beautiful. Often, I'm the only person there.

Great contribution, thanks NativeOrange!
I need to get down there more often. I mostly visit the area when I have a casino craving and don't want to go all the way out to Vegas or just want to deal with a more tame crowd. I have, however, done the potato chip rock hike down there which was awesome even though it was a little crowded. (Which is honestly to be expected considering its such a unique geographical feature).

Btw, Pine Creek looks so isolated and beautiful.
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Old 03-02-2017, 08:33 PM
 
2,859 posts, read 1,264,366 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NativeOrange View Post
I need to get down there more often. I mostly visit the area when I have a casino craving and don't want to go all the way out to Vegas or just want to deal with a more tame crowd. I have, however, done the potato chip rock hike down there which was awesome even though it was a little crowded. (Which is honestly to be expected considering its such a unique geographical feature).

Btw, Pine Creek looks so isolated and beautiful.
It is. Certain parts of the trail are a bit of a bushwack, which is why I haven't made it all the way through. And, it's downhill all the way going in via the Horsethief Canyon trailhead, but uphill for a looooong way on the way out at that end. I used to have horses and we took the horses down there a few times many years ago. I've seen deer, coyotes, even a golden eagle (was just in the parking lot for that one). In the spring, there's a stream bed at the bottom of the canyon. The canyon is best hiked in winter or spring as there isn't much in the way of shade until you get to the bottom of the canyon. But even up at the trailhead is beautiful as there is a great view into the canyon and across the mountains towards Julian. Sometimes I just walk down the fire station road which is paved so it's easy walking. My husband and I also go up there at night for night photography -- no city lights nearby so the stars are magical on a clear summer night (I just sit in the parking lot and enjoy!)

(Syacuyan Casino and the new Jamul Casino would be the two closet casinos if you're so inclined. )

But now you've got me curious about the northern end of Cleveland, so thanks for that!
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