Since northern California is an area where neither of us have spent time, and we ultimately wanted to start making our way north for the summer, we decided to spend a few weeks exploring northern California on our way to Oregon/Washington/Idaho. As always with our lifestyle, our timeline also gets dictated by work, so although we explored Mammoth, Tahoe, Sierra Buttes, Lassen National park and Sha...
We’ve done A LOT of driving in our two years on the road. Like almost 45,000 miles. We’ve seen a lot of really neat places. Most of the time we have to take the most direct route if we’re headed to a film shoot, but sometimes we have time to take the long way somewhere, and sometimes if we’re just traveling for fun instead of work, we make sure to see as much as possible. These are my top 5 favorite scenic drives from our two years on the road!
1. Carpenter Lake Rd. between Moha and Gold Bridge, BC, Canada on our way to visit the Chilcotin Mountains. The road parallels Carpenter Lake for 31 miles and is the iconic blue glacier melt color found in a lot of BC lakes. We also saw a black bear on this route.
2. Mexico Highway 163 between El Cajete and Punto Cayote in Baja Sur. We only drove the first 50 miles of this route in the truck, and continued another 25 miles on our dirt bikes, because the road gets pretty gnarly. The drive in was full of multi-colored walls of rock, somewhat volcanic looking, and tall saguaro cactus. We camped at a beach full of turquoise rocks and purple cliffs. The road we continued on in the dirt bikes had even more multi-colored walls, and ended at sand dunes. This was one of the places we felt more remote in Baja.
3. Smokey Mountain Utah Scenic Backway and Left Hand Collet Wash: Between Big Water, Utah and Hole in the Rock Road. I have a whole blog post about this one, as it was a full day adventure!
4. Agua Verde in Baja Sur: 25 miles of curvy, washboard, dirt, shelf road in order to get to a tiny beach town of 400 people. The drive down starts revealing the Sea of Cortez and several land spits. There are super secluded hot springs on the drive and two tiny taco stands at the final destination (one of which may have given Blake food poisoning….but we’ll never know).
5. Kings Canyon Scenic Byway: I could be wrong, but I feel like Kings Canyon is a bit underrated based on its neighboring parks of Sequoia and Yosemite. You have to drive through Sequoia National Park and Sequoia National Monument for about an hour in order to even get to the park. Don’t get me wrong, driving into Yosemite is absolutely stunning as well. But there are so many people in Yosemite that it is more overwhelming. Driving into Kings Canyon only had a fraction of the visitors, and the viewpoints looking down into the canyon are quite stunning before you even get into the park. By some measures it’s the deepest canyon in the US. This scenic drive had high alpine desert, rock cliffs, and pine trees, and is definitely worth making the trek over from Sequoia.