Big Trees, Big Rocks, Big Birds & Big Views


Spring Nature Trippin’ in Central California

Compiled Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith

From big rocks to big trees, wildflowers to birds and wildlife, these two Central California national park destinations have all the ingredients for the ultimate spring and early summer nature fix.



Experience Rock Spires, Night Skies, Wildflowers & Condors

Pinnacles National Park – Known as ‘The Park on the Move’, Pinnacles is of geological significance, and actually moves about 3-6 centimeters a year! The park boasts a diverse array of habitats that range from spectacular spring wildflowers to oak woodlands and chaparral scrub, caves and rock spires. These habitats are home to over 140 birds species of birds, 49 mammals, 22 reptiles, 8 amphibians, 71 butterflies, 41 dragonflies and damselflies, and more than 400 bee species! Enjoy hiking trails, rock climbing, exploring caves, stargazing, camping and bird watching. Keep your eyes open for a lucky glimpse of a California condor, as this park also manages a release site for captive bred California condors. Learn more at (831) 389-4485 / (831) 389-4486, or

Fremont State Park – Located in San Juan Bautista, this beautiful 162 acre park encompasses the summit of 3,169-foot Fremont Peak in the Gabilan Range, and is known for its awesome views of Monterey Bay, San Benito Valley, Salinas Valley, and the Santa Lucia Mountains. The park’s pine and oak woodlands are an ideal habitat for numerous birds and mammals. Along with hiking and biking trails, there are camping and picnic facilities, plus, an astronomical observatory with a 30-inch telescope which is open for public programs. Learn more at (831) 623-4255 or

San Benito County is just a couple hours drive southeast of San Francisco. Plan your trip at

Experience Giant Sequoias, Waterfalls, Wildlife & Wildflowers

Kings Canyon National Park – Located in the southern Sierra Nevada region, and spanning 461,901 acres, the park is made up of mostly wilderness, forests and spectacular canyons, with Kings Canyon itself being one of the deepest canyons in the United States. The park is known for being home to the General Grant Grove of giant sequoia trees, the famous General Grant Tree, and the Redwood Mountain Grove which is the largest remaining natural grove of giant sequoias in the world. Starting in late spring or early summer, you can enjoy babbling brooks and waterfalls offset by towering granite cliffs, as well as lush meadows and glacial canyons. Learn more at (559) 565-334 or

Sequoia National Park – One of the first parks in the country, Sequoia NP is famous for its giant sequoia trees and black bears. Visit the General Sherman Tree (the largest living organism and tree in the world), climb Moro Rock, take in spectacular views of Mt. Whitney (the highest mountain in the contiguous 48 states), and hike through glacial canyons, lush meadows thick with wildflowers, and explore oak woodlands. The scenery is spectacular, offering a rich diversity of birds, plants, and wildlife. Covering 404,064 acres, there are hundreds of streams, ponds, rivers, creeks, and lakes, and over 200 marble caverns to explore. Crescent Meadow and Big Trees Trail offer wonderful spring and early summer wildflower, bird, and wildlife viewing. Tokopah Falls Trail is a fantastic 1.7-mile spring hike along the north bank of the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River, leading to the 1,200-foot cascading waterfall. Learn more at (559) 565-334 or

Sequoia National Forest & Giant Sequoia National Monument – Featuring 33 groves of giant sequoia trees, the Sequoia National Forest is home to the biggest concentration of giant sequoia groves. These groves are protected within the Giant Sequoia National Monument, which encompasses over 353,000 acres of diverse landscape, including two wild and scenic rivers, lakes, and six wilderness areas. Along with the magnificent giant sequoias, the area boasts lush forest meadows and a myriad of plant, bird, and animal species. There are limestone caverns to explore and granite domes and spires to see, along with archaeological sites. The activities are endless and include hiking and camping, mountain biking, horse riding, bird and wildlife watching, and spring whitewater rafting. Learn more at (559) 784-1500 or

Tulare County is less than a four hour drive northeast of Los Angeles. Plan your trip at

San Benito County Chamber


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