California is an absolutely beautiful place to visit at any time of the year. In just one state, you can find deserts, mountains, oceans, forests, and so much more. With so many regions to choose from, it’s hard to say which area visitors should see first. However, because of its immense beauty and spectacular national parks, the Sierra Nevada mountain range is one of the most visited areas of California.
In the Sierra Nevada Mountains, one can find three national parks, eight national forests, countless lakes and rivers, and at least twenty-six separate peaks. In this incredible wonderland of adventures, it’s hard to decide exactly where to visit. This is especially true for those taking their RV along for the trip. Here, you’ll find a list of seven places that make up the perfect itinerary for your next RV road trip to the mountains.
1. Sequoia National Park
Home to some of the largest trees on earth, Sequoia National Park is truly a land of magnificence. Any visit to this park should begin with a hike through the Giant Forest. Any of the various hikes through Giant Forest will eventually lead you to General Sherman, the largest living tree in the world.
Once you have seen General Sherman, you can hike through the surrounding sequoia groves or pay a visit to the Giant Forest Museum. Next, you should be sure to check out Moro Rock, an excellent climb that leads to a spectacular view of the mountains and valleys below. Other significant park features of interest include Tunnel Log, the High Sierra Trail, Mineral King Valley, and the Foothills region of the park.
In the park, you can find four campgrounds that are available to RVs. Each is reservable during the busy months of the year. Take note of length restrictions and seasonal operating hours on the park campground page.
2. Kings Canyon National Park
No visit to Sequoia National Park would be complete without a visit to its sister park, Kings Canyon. While Kings Canyon may be less popular than Sequoia, it is equally beautiful, with its dramatic landscapes, winding mountain roads, tall trees, and granite peaks. When visiting Kings Canyon, you will first want to take a hike through the General Grant Grove, which offers all the magnificence of Sequoia National Park’s sequoia groves, while allowing you to avoid the crowds.
Next, visitors should drive the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway, which winds all throughout the rest of the park, passing campgrounds, meadows, valleys, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and more, before ending at Road’s End. This road is rarely crowded and offers scenic views of soaring vistas. Keep in mind that the length restriction is eighteen feet, so you will want to set up your RV in a campground and drive your tow vehicle or toad for this drive.
Camping in Kings Canyon is easier than ever with its three reservable campgrounds and four campgrounds available first-come, first-served. Each of these campgrounds is lovely and allows for close proximity to park activities.
2. Sierra Quest Human Services
After leaving Kings Canyon, you will want to head towards Yosemite. On the way, be sure to stop at Sierra Quest Human Services, an excellent Harvest Hosts location outside of the historic town of Mariposa. This property is great for families with children or anyone coming or going from Yosemite. Located on fifty-five acres of mountainous land, Sierra Quest has a variety of farm animals. There are also lots of hiking and biking trails, as well as opportunities for RV camping. The organization simply asks that campers make a small donation towards their non-profit in lieu of camping fees.
4. Yosemite National Park
For many, Yosemite National Park is considered the crown jewel of the Sierra Nevada Mountain range, and the views in Yosemite Valley are some of the best in the world. When visiting, it is imperative that you stop at Tunnel View, Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Falls, and any of the other excellent viewpoints along the Valley Loop. Further from the Valley, you can also find Hetch Hetchy, a similar valley at a lower elevation. Tioga Road offers a scenic drive leading to the gorgeous Tuolumne Meadows, another icon of Yosemite.
Yosemite has thirteen campgrounds for RVs of all sizes. These are reservable from May through September each year and first come, first-served for the rest of the year. During the busy season, the campgrounds tend to fill up six months in advance, so be sure to book your sites early when planning a trip to Yosemite.
5. Indigeny Reserve Ciderworks & Distillery
When leaving Yosemite, if you are headed north, you will be passing through the town of Sonora. Just a few miles outside of town, you can find Indigeny Reserve Ciderworks & Distillery, a beautiful Harvest Hosts location located on a 160-acre property. This distillery harvests their own brandy and cider each year. They also allow overnight RV camping for rigs of all sizes in two pet-friendly sites. On property, there are plenty of hiking trails for your enjoyment, as well as an excellent tasting room for cider sampling. Plan to spend a night here before heading on to your next location at Lake Tahoe.
6. Lake Tahoe
Located in the northern Sierra Nevada region, Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. This lovely area is home to many mountain towns and plenty of activities for enjoyment all throughout the four seasons. These include hiking, camping, mountain biking, boating, swimming, skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, horseback riding, and so much more. With all the towns located along the stunning lake, there are also plenty of RV parks for your camping needs.
Tahoe Valley RV Resort is a favorite campground amongst RVers. This Thousand Trails resort is located outside of South Lake Tahoe and features gorgeous views, full-hookups campsites and a variety of other enjoyable amenities. Be sure to enjoy a few days by Lake Tahoe before moving on to your final location.
7. Plumas Pines Golf Resort
The best way to wind down your trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains is through one final, relaxing stay at another Harvest Hosts location. Plumas Pines Golf Resort is the perfect combination of beauty and luxury. Located in the gorgeous Mohawk Valley, Plumas Resort offers visitors the perfect golfing opportunity, all while surrounded by the nearby forests, rivers, lakes, and mountain visitas. On property, there is also a fantastic restaurant, as well as plenty of opportunities for fishing, hiking, sightseeing, and, of course, RV camping. Be sure to end your Sierra Nevada trip with this gorgeous location.
John Muir best described the Sierra Nevada range, saying, “We are now in the mountains and they are in us, kindling enthusiasm, making every nerve quiver, filling every pore and cell of us.” A trip to the mountains is like medicine for the soul, and this stunning area is the perfect place for your next RV camping trip to California. Be sure to consider any of these beautiful stops on your next road trip through these mountains.
Have you visited the Sierra Nevada Mountains? Where did you stay? Feel free to share in the comments below!
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