Travel News and Wild Fire Updates Available Here. Note that park closures are in effect 9/12/2021.

TAKE A ROAD TRIP OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Experience the Joy of Missing Out

Head off the beaten path to experience the join of missing out: Missing out on the hustle and bustle of life, of text messages pinging our phones, and missing out from being "connected" all of the time. So unplug and recharge to reconnect with what truly matters because that is what brings us joy. There is no wi-fi in nature but you will find a much better connection.

Follow this outdoor itinerary that will take you off the beaten path and leave you refreshed and relaxed.

If meandering along the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, on a slower paced drive appeals to you, then take the drive through Yokohl Valley. The road winds through the Sierra foothills past ranches and open space. Springtime will put on a show of glorious wildflowers. The rugged terrain is home to wildlife as well as some interesting rock formations and hog wallows (that have nothing to do with hogs!) This is the southern end of Sequoia National Park (though not accessible here) and Giant Sequoia National Monument

But before you begin your drive through Yokohl Valley, take a side trip to Dry Creek Preserve. This is reclaimed land that once operated as a gravel mine for a cement company. California Portland Cement Company retired their Dry Creek gravel operations and donated the property to Sequoia Riverlands Trust in 2004. The gravel mining operations significantly altered the Dry Creek stream bed and resulted in the loss of numerous mature sycamores and valley oaks damaging one of the largest and last remaining sycamore alluvial woodlands in California. 

The preserve has worked to re-establish natural stream patterns and restore the land's woodland vegetation with hundreds of oak and sycamore plantings and native grasses. Now, Dry Creek Preserve once again provides critical habitat for an ever-increasing population of resident and migratory birds and supports native species such as the great blue heron, bald eagle and herds of mule deer.

Be sure to stop at The Main Squeeze Market along Highway 198. This country store has some cute national park mementos as well as some great barbeque! Have lunch in the picnic area. On the weekends you might even hear some live music. 

Now you can continue on your drive through Yokohl Valley with an appreciation of the vegetation and wildlife on view throughout these foothills. Yokohl Valley Road winds through the foothills past Balch Park (accessible via Bear Creek Road) and ultimately reaches Highway 190 in Springville. You can circle back to Visalia by taking Highway 65 north and connecting with the 198. From orange groves to cattle ranches and amazing views of the Sierra Nevada, this road trip will soothe your soul.

We know that you are looking forward to getting back in the mountains and doing a little hiking and breathing fresh mountain air. Here are some suggestions to get you back out on the trail:

Trail of 100 Giants

This is the most popular trail, by far in the Sequoia National Forest for those who want to see the giant sequoias. An easy, accessible walk through Long Meadow Grove will take you on this journey to get to know these giants. In 2000, President William J. Clinton proclaimed the establishment of the Giant Sequoia National Monument and made the announcement under one of the trees. Enjoy this 1.3 mile paved trail with several loop options to choose from.  Access is closed in winter due to snow, but as soon as roads are clear, visitors can head up. If the parking lot is closed, park safely along the road. Plan on a full day for this activity.

Freeman Creek Trail

For a longer trail hike, consider the Freeman Creek Trail. Open for hiking from the upper trail head along North Road, near Quaking Aspen campground at this time due to closures, this 5.2 mile long hike connects Quaking Aspen with Lloyd Meadow. Here is a chance to see the George Bush tree, and other giant sequoias. Plan on a full day for this hike. Be sure to bring plenty of water, wear appropriate clothing and footwear, and remember that cell phones do not work in the Mountains. 

Balch Park

Balch Park is a county park with several giant sequoia trees. Fish at the ponds or take a hike. The park is open as of June 18, 2021 with access via Bear Creek Road due to damage from the recent SQF fire. Check for updates before you go.



More Hiking Trails
More Hiking Trails

Check before you go to confirm what services are available in the national forest. Make sure to pack out what you pack in and leave no trace behind. That includes your trash and human waste! Also, note that mountainous areas do not have cell phone service. Use caution and common sense if parking along the road. Ensure that your vehicle is completely off the road and maintain safe distances from other cars and people. 

Picnic Ideas & Driving Snacks
View Ideas
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Take This Roadtrip
Get A National Park Pass or Gas Card!
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©2021 Visalia Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141
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