california

Tahoe National Forest | Travel (128/556)

Tahoe National Forest | Travel (128/556) | Alaina Ann Photography Tahoe National Forest was a lovely precursor to arriving in Lake Tahoe, California. The sky was mostly covered in wildfire smoke, creating a white backdrop as I drove between the large pines.

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Boca Historic Townsite - an interpretive trail takes you through the once historic town.
  2. Calpine Lookout - a restored lookout station, available for rent, offers a unique overnight stay in the national forest.
  3. Frazier Falls - an easy half mile hike (each way) takes you over a wooden bridge, above a creek, to a peaceful view of the 176 foot falls.
  4. Highway 49 - this scenic road takes you along the North Yuba River and many quaint gold rush towns.
  5. Placer Big Trees - a grove of Giant Sequoias overlooking the Middle Fork American River.

What are some of your favorite spots in Tahoe National Forest?

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556)

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography Driving through Northern California, I was unsure what to expect upon arriving at Lassen Volcanic National Park. This was my first view, walking up to the edge of Manzanita Lake. Smoke from nearby wildfires drifted in throughout my stay and kept hiking mileage to a minimum.

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Devils Kitchen Trail - a little over four miles, this moderate hike goes by mudpots, streams, two lakes and, of course, through the Devils Kitchen hydrothermal area.
  2. Lassen Peak Trail - this strenuous, five mile trail to the summit will take between four and five hours to complete.
  3. Lassen Volcanic National Park Highway - a beautiful, diverse 30-mile road through the park.
  4. Mill Creek Falls Trail - another moderate trail, a little over 3 miles in length, sits at a lower elevation and is easily accessible. A beautiful waterfall is visible during the spring and summer months.
  5. Stargazing - the sky is dark and the Milky Way is visible from this open, beautiful park. There are Dark Sky Festivals during the summer.

Have you ever been to Lassen Volcanic National Park?

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Lassen Volcanic National Park | Travel (127/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Lassen National Forest | Travel (126/556)

Lassen National Forest | Travel (126/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6) Smoke filled the air from nearby wildfires as I drove through Lassen National Forest. California was dry and burning in many areas during this road trip. Unfortunately, I have asthma, limiting my hiking in the smokiest stops (including this one).

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Dow Butte Lookout - formerly a fire lookout, this area is now open to the public.
  2. Hat Creek Rim Overlook - this overlook offers beautiful views of the Hat Creek Valley. There's also easy access to the Pacific Crest Trail.
  3. Heart Lake Trail - this three mile hike rewards you with a mountain lake, after hiking along South Digger Creek.
  4. Spencer Meadow - a six mile trail providing access to Spencer Meadow. Also a National Recreation Trail.
  5. Subway Cave - this lava tube allows for underground exploring on a short, 1/3 mile long trail.

What are your favorite hikes and places to explore in Lassen National Forest?

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area | Travel (125/556)

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area | Travel (125/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6) After days of driving through extremely dry conditions, entering Whiskeytown National Recreation Area offered the water-filled views I had been craving. By no means was the area void of drought conditions. The park simply offered a glimpse into a more wet and lush environment.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area | Travel (125/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Brandy Creek Falls Trail - this moderate 3 mile hike takes you to the cascading Brandy Creek Falls.
  2. James K. Carr Trail - a 3.4 mile hike to Whiskeytown Falls, a 220 foot waterfall.
  3. Kanaka Peak Trail - a more difficult 7 mile hike to Kanaka Peak.
  4. Salt Creek Loop Trail - a short and easy 1.8 mile hike along an old mining wagon road.
  5. Whiskeytown Lake - enjoy 36 miles of shoreline and ample water activities.

Tell me all about your favorite hikes and places to explore in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area!

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area | Travel (125/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Shasta-Trinity National Forest | Travel (123 and 124/556)

Shasta-Trinity National Forest | Travel (123 and 124/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6) Another wildfire smoke filled visit, while making my way through Shasta-Trinity National Forest. For weeks, I was certain half of my trip would need to be re-routed due to wildfires. Somehow, someway, I managed to get awfully close to the fires while still keeping on course with all my national forest and national park destinations.

That said, my entire time in California left me craving a winter or early spring visit, when conditions are a little less dry and the forests feel a bit more alive with fresh air.

Shasta-Trinity National Forest | Travel (123 and 124/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. McCloud Waterfall Trail - a 3.5 mile easy hike to three lovely waterfalls. And wildflowers, if they're in season.
  2. Mount Shasta Trail - this 10.6 mile trail takes you on a difficult, technical hike/climb/scramble to the summit of Mount Shasta.
  3. Mt. Shasta Wilderness - a wilderness area with a snow capped, dormant volcano standing over 14,000 feet.
  4. Post Creek Lookout - this rustic cabin sits on a ridgeline above Beegum Gorge and is available to rent. Tucked away in the forest, you're certain to have a relaxing adventure!
  5. Trinity Scenic Byway - this scenic drive follows Highway 299 from Shasta to Blue Lake. Known as the route from the Valley Oaks to the Redwood Coast.

What are you favorite hikes and places to explore in Shasta-Trinity National Forest?

Shasta-Trinity National Forest | Travel (123 and 124/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Shasta-Trinity National Forest | Travel (123 and 124/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Six Rivers National Forest | Travel (122/556)

Six Rivers National Forest | Travel (122/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6) Wildfire season was in full force during my visit to Six Rivers National Forest in California. Smoke was in the air, distant views were hazy and the wildflowers were bright and beautiful.

Six Rivers National Forest | Travel (122/556) | Alaina Ann Photography (iPhone 6)

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Bull Creek Flats Trail - a 7.6 mile moderate hike. Enjoy a relatively flat, long stroll through giant trees with frequent visits from wildlife.
  2. Founders Grove Nature Trail - an easy hike, a little over half a mile, through an old growth redwood forest.
  3. High Dome Trail - a four mile moderate trail to the overlook on High Dome Mountain. Enjoy views of surrounding mountains and the ocean.
  4. Marble Mountain Wilderness - aside from having a fantastic name, this wilderness area is known for having rugged terrain with high elevation lakes and streams.
  5. Smith River National Recreation Area - filled with stunning mountains, river canyons, unique rock formations, wildflowers and ample opportunity for hiking and exploring.

What are some of your favorite hikes and places to explore in Six Rivers National Forest?

Redwood National Park | Travel (121/556)

Redwood National Park | Travel (121/556) | Alaina Ann Photography Redwood National Park, and state parks in California, is one of the most magical places I have ever been. The early morning fog, overwhelming silence and trees beyond belief all add to the surreal feelings experienced while hiking and driving through the park.

A raven flew by at one point. It's wings flapping against the thick air was heard long before he appeared into sight and long after he vanished into the mist.

Goosebumps and peace were felt over and over again while exploring.

Redwood National Park | Travel (121/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Top Five Hikes + Places to Explore
  1. Avenue of the Giants - a scenic 32 mile drive through the heart of Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
  2. Fern Canyon - enjoy being surrounded by ferns on all sides of the canyon walls. This canyon was a filming location in the recent Jurassic Park movie.
  3. Howland Hill Road - drive through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park for close views of redwood trees.
  4. Prairie Creek - enjoy a hiking trail by some of the larges redwood trees.
  5. Requa Road - overlooks the mouth of the Klamath River where whales are sometimes visible from above.

Tell me all about your favorite hikes and places to explore in Redwood National Park!

Redwood National Park | Travel (121/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Redwood National Park | Travel (121/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Redwood National Park | Travel (121/556) | Alaina Ann Photography

Redwood National Park | Travel (121/556) | Alaina Ann Photography