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ROAD TRIP STYLE: J.O.M.O. OFF THE BEATEN PATH

What exactly is J.O.M.O? It is the Joy of Missing Out.

Missing out on the hustle and bustle of life, of text messages pinging our phones, and missing out on the constant barrage from being "connected." So take time to unplug and recharge because when we disconnect, we are able to reconnect with what truly matters and 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.

Take This Roadtrip
The Gas Is On Us!
Take This Roadtrip
The Gas Is On Us!

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.

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 ultimately will reach Highway 190. 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:

Hume Lake

Located in Sequoia National Forest accessible through highway 180 in Kings Canyon National Park, Hume Lake is open for hiking. The trail is 2.6 miles long and travels around and along the shore of the lake. You can find the trailhead in the Powdercan Picnic area. This trail is good for all skill levels with an elevation gain of only 300 feet and is moderately busy. Restrooms and other services may not be available so make sure to pack out what you pack in. Plan a full day for this activity.

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. 



More Hiking Trails
More Hiking Trails

Check before you go to confirm what services are available. Restrooms, trash receptacles, and ranger services are currently not available. 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. Some parking lots may be closed. 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. 

Dry Creek Preserve is located at 35220 Dry Creek Road, Woodlake CA 93286

There's An App For That!

Download the national forest and national park apps to ensure you have up-to-date park information.

Picnic Ideas & Driving Snacks
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P.O. Box 2734 Visalia, CA 93279
112 E Main St, Visalia, CA 93291
(800) 524-0303 : (559) 334-0141