Driving the Majestic Mountain Loop

Eager to get back into the mountains, sans chains? Spring is coming.

Moro Rock Trail

3 NATIONAL PARKS, 3 DAYS: When people outside of the Golden State think of the Golden State, and they have positive visions of what it might be like (we encourage this, because there's plenty to be positive about), we wonder if they envision giant redwoods and sequoias and vast mountains of granite and some of the most postcard-y slices of nature on earth. And we wonder if they know that those visions are all 100% accurate. We know, we know, the travel industry has sold that shimmery idea of California for well over a century, but, the thing is, it is based in truth.

LOVING THE LOOP: How's this for a daydream jump-starter: You can visit three national parks in three days. It's not just catchy, it's accurate. How? Well, a little planning, some driving, and a bit of study regarding the Majestic Mountain Loop.

IT'S PURTY: We love this loop because it really does take road-trippers past some of the epic vistas of song, legend, and travel ads. There's General Sherman, a sequoia tree that happens to be known as the Largest Living Thing on the Planet. (We always imagine that billing in caps and bold print, so excuse us for just running with it.) Kings Canyon, Sequoia National Park, and Yosemite are on the route; places like the Madera Wine Canyon and Wawona Pioneer Village are good stops, too. There are stay-over spots along the way, like Wuksachi Lodge, which is just a toodle down the road from the General Sherman.

CALLING LOCALS: You know that the Majestic Mountain Loop is something that out-of-staters keep in mind, but we think it is a fine long weekend for people inside the state. Yep, you have to get over to the Sierra from wherever you are, so it might be an extra long weekend, but, please. You'll totally brag about hitting three national parks in three days once you get back to the office on Monday or Tuesday. And if you're not bragging, we give you permission; if ever there was something to get puffed-of-chest about, it's communing with California's supernatural natural beauty. End of story.

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