Travel blog

California road trip – our travel diary: week 4

Wow – we can’t believe our roadtrip is almost over! The time has flown by and we didn’t want it to end but we definitely made the most of our time away and had such fun travelling round California and its surrounding states. Week four was a busy one, filled with lots of national parks before heading back to Vegas!!

Week three ended with us visiting Yosemite National Park, the first of many on our bucket list. Over the following five days we visited another 4 national parks and travelled through multiple national forests and state reserves. They were all amazing and beautiful in their own ways but let’s start with Kings Canyon…

Sunday was a beautiful day in Fresno, so we set off relatively early to get to Kings Canyon in good time. The drive was just short of two hours and it was beautiful, the sun was shining right up until we entered the clouds going up into the national park. We passed through Sierra National Forest before entering Kings Canyon. Again, lots of snow fall (downside of travelling in the winter months) meant numerous roads were restricted (to those with snow chains) or even closed for the winter. We managed to get into the centre where the visitors centre is located, before driving down to General Grant Grove, a beautiful forest containing some ginormous trees that had been there for thousands of years! We spent some time walking around the forest, and more specifically the General Grant Tree (the largest of its kind), before heading off to other parts of the park to explore. The snow was quite restricting so we weren’t able to do as many of the hikes as we’d of liked to but it was still lovely to drive around the park and soak up the surrounding beauty.

The following day we had made plans to visit Sequoia National Park, where the General Sherman is situated. After a three hour drive to the entrance of the park, we were turned away as we did not have snow chains with us. We were informed we would be able to rent them so we headed off to a couple of local rental places, only to find every other Tom, Dick and Harry were doing exactly the same thing – they were sold out of our size everywhere we tried 😦 So, we gave up all hope of entering Sequoia and settled for a beautiful reservoir just outside the park grounds where we went for a short walk before heading back to Fresno. As we’d arrived back in Fresno slightly earlier than anticipated, we decided to go shopping and have a drink at a bar nearby before heading out for dinner later that evening!

Our final morning in Fresno and we had another relatively early start due to the busy day ahead! We were off to Amboy (Route 66) via Elmer’s Bottle Tree Ranch.

The drive was around six hours so we knew that with stops we’d be in the car almost the whole day – and we weren’t wrong! Fours and a half hours later, we finally arrived at the bottle tree ranch (after having to ask for directions due to it’s remote location). It was bizarre but so cool – a bit like a bottle graveyard – thousands of beer bottles of all different shades of green, blue and brown. We stopped here for a few piccys before heading on our way – it was definitely worth the detour! After that we continued our drive to Amboy, a relatively derelict yet iconic town on historic Route 66 with a population of 4 people, where we stopped to have a look around and take some pictures. We’re sure Amboy must have been buzzing before the new highway was built that cut out the need to travel through the town, but when we visited there were only a handful of people around. Spooky is an understatement!

Nearby there were some salt flats and a crater hole that we also visited – pretty cool – before heading to our hotel for that night.

We stayed in Ridgecrest the night prior to our visit to Death Valley. We woke up relatively early as the drive was around 2 hours into the centre of the national park. We made a few stops in Death Valley including the Mosaic Canyon, Badwater basin, Artists Palette and Zabriskie point. Unfortunately, we were unable to visit Dante’s view point as the road was closed but we definitely had the opportunity to fully experience desert life and it’s beautiful remoteness. Fun fact: in Death Valley, a lake 30 miles long by 12ft deep would evaporate in just one year – how mad!!! The temperature was slightly higher than we were used to, it reached around 93 degrees Fahrenheit (33 degree Celsius) at one point, and we were informed by a Park ranger that this wasn’t that hot… well maybe not to them it isn’t!

After spending the day in the national park, we drove onto our next stop, Mesquite, before heading to Utah the following day.

We hadn’t originally planned to visit Utah but the temptation and beauty of Zion and Bryce really drew us in! We drove from the border of Nevada, through Zion to Bryce Canyon. Zion was beautiful however it was SO busy (the National Park is far smaller in size than those we had visited previously) and we weren’t able to get a parking space anywhere close to the main points of attraction, so instead we settled for the scenic drive through the park. It was stunning and the sun was shining which made it even better! Once we’d left Zion, we drove up to Bryce to visit Inspiration Point – a famous viewpoint that overlooks the Bryce Canyon amphitheatre. It was beautiful! With the day quickly coming to an end we made the decision to head to our hotel and return to Bryce for a hike the following morning.

Day two in Utah and we were up and out by 9am. We headed back to the centre of Bryce Canyon – Sunset Point – to begin our hike through the canyon. It was beautiful and despite the fact we didn’t have the most suitable shoes for the walk (grip-less trainers) we made it down to the bottom and then back up again without any twisted ankles! The hike started at around 8000ft, and descended around 650ft so we were definitely testing fitness levels! It was totally worth it though! After spending the morning hiking, we embarked on our 5 hour journey back across the boarder to Henderson, Nevada. We arrived that evening and had our first taste the of Whole Foods Market (expensive but worth the money!).

Being back in Las Vegas marks the end of our road trip – how sad! It has absolutely flown by, but it has been one of the best experiences of our lives! A month on the road in our trusty Nissan Rogue was fantastic and what better place to end it than in Vegas!

Updates to follow… 🎰🍾🇺🇸

Adios for now,

Love Char & Mar x

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