After an overnight stop we went to Sequoia N.P., which was the first time we have been there. A spectacular road with a zillion corners leads up to the park. Sequoia trees only grow in a narrow elevation range and are magnificent, the older trees being 2000 years old and trunk diameters up to 30 ft. The day we drove over the pass to Kings Canyon turned very warm but as it was out of peak season we had the trails to ourselves and lots of dramatic scenery.
Yosemite is a very popular place to visit and a firm favourite of ours, although we hadn't been for a few years. Its always impressive and humbling and it's not too hard to find a quite spot. We hiked up to Vernal & Nevada falls, which are relatively quiet in September.
Mammoth Lakes is a ski resort in winter and a mountain biking and general outdoors type place in summer. We did a bit of hiking but the main draw was to ride mountain bikes from the top of the mountain. Its made easier by using the ski lift to get to the top at 11,000 ft, it take your breath away and is quite cold, then there are miles of trail down to the town at about 8,500 ft, shuttle and ski lift back to the top and do it all again, great fun but not as enjoyable as cross country riding.
ZionN.P. in Utah is a place where a river has carved a narrow canyon up to 1,500 ft deep which then opens out into a wider canyon with very steep sides. Its a special place, very calming and with fantastic colours in the rocks. Watching the sun go down sat on the terrace at Zion Pizza & Noodle is great. We hiked up Angels Landing, which is not for the faint hearted as the last section is very steep with over 1,000 ft drops if you slip off the trail. Also we hiked up the river into the Narrows which is where to canyon is over 1,500 ft deep with sheer sides only 22 ft apart, a lot of this hike is in the river and it is hard work but well worth the effort.
We drove back to a town about 60 miles from the L.A. for an overnight stay and then got up early and got to Santa Monica by 9am for a day on the beach before the long flight home in the evening. Its a good way to end the holiday as it feels like you get an extra day!