I really miss being around mountains. Unfortunately right now it’s a bit of a hike away to the White Mountains (in New Hampshire) or Adirondacks (in Upstate New York) for us. There’s just something special about the mountains out west though. There are so many amazing hikes to choose from, but in the coming months it will be a pretty awesome time to visit Southern California.
In particular, the Cactus to Clouds hike in Palm Springs at the San Jacinto Peak is one we have very fond memories of. It is super long hike, with a net elevation gain of over 10,000 feet. Nothing dangerous (except for in the dead of summer when its 110 degrees+ or perhaps snowing at the top) or difficult to follow, you pretty much just keep going up. Open views of desert, wind farms and around every turn you’re just surrounded by towering, breath-taking peaks. It may be 90+ at the bottom, and snow/ice at the top, so be sure to bring some hiking spikes/crampons depending on the exact time you go. It’s pretty cool, you start at the desert and then end in this dense, pine tree forest at the top. Most people, including when we went, just hike up to the summit and then take the tram down which is about $5. It’s a bit tough to go up and down this time of year in day light, but I’m sure it's possible. The tram is at about 8,500 feet and the summit continues for another 2,000 feet or so.
Palm Springs is a pretty cool area to just be in as well. You’re down the road from Joshua Tree National Park and surrounded by desert and different mountain ranges. There’s just something in the air out here that reminds you of that freeing sense when you imagine the old west. At night, be sure to find a dark place and just look up. Quite amazing, like nothing I’ve ever experienced. At times, it feels like you’re just floating through space.
Not a bad place for a vegan either with lots of fruit farms and produce places as well in the surrounding area, from farm stands and produce markets to larger chains like Sprouts. 6 vegan/vegetarian restaurants within a 15 mile radius on Happy Cow. San Diego and LA are fairly close as well, about a 2 hour drive to either place and probably two of the most vegan friendly areas in the world. At the moment, we have a few listings in the immediate Palm Springs area and several across San Diego, LA and Palm Springs.
Definitely let us know if you end up going, we’d love to write about your experience for everyone else. Either way, get out there and go for a long hike!