Described as “California’s Secret Dream” by Lonely Planet travel author, Robert Reid, the Eastern Sierra made the cut for the 2013 top ten US travel destinations. Vacationers who have already experienced this unique, breathtaking part of California fully know that there is no other place like it on the planet, and why it won this coveted distinction. Those yet to explore the Eastern Sierra can trust the well-known Lonely Planet’s recommendation to deliver a travel destination guaranteed to delight with lifetime memories.
Reid writes in his recent December Lonely Planet article that the Highway 395 National Scenic Byway, running along the Eastern Sierra escarpment, is “the overlooked flank of the Sierra Nevada range, with other-worldly natural attractions and surprises (Basque culture?), not to mention far fewer visitors.”
The Lonely Planet, world-known travel experts, editors and publishers of hundreds of articles and guidebooks, annually review US travel destinations and then select that year’s top-ten winners for “travelers to add to their wish lists.” This year, the number six spot deservedly belongs to the quieter and wilder side of California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range. Just a few of the reasons why are:
− Over 200 miles of scenic byway threading through one-of-a-kind geological wonders
− Towering 14,000’ granite peaks
− Unbroken wilderness vistas with azure cloud-accented skies
− Unique flora, fauna and landscapes – a photographer’s dream
− Natural hot springs, cascading waterfalls, pristine fishing lakes and crystal-clear streams
− A world-renowned ski resort with year-round activities and adventures for all ages
− Rich cultural heritage: Gold Rush ghost towns, Native American, Basque and Japanese
− Infinite camping, hiking, and biking opportunities, as well as famous Pacific Crest Trails
− Great restaurants, relaxed and friendly mountain towns and even friendlier locals
Fortunately, for everyone chomping at the bit to add the Eastern Sierra to their travel itinerary, there is a vast amount of quality lodging available in Mammoth Lakes and especially the Eastern Sierra, one of the more popular year-round destinations with ample day-trip options. Campgrounds, hotels, condos, cabins and even luxury vacation homes are in abundance. Although, the Eastern Sierra still has fewer visitors than some California destinations, lodging can fill up during holidays and school vacations.
Local Mammoth Lakes lodging reservation and concierge company, City Concierge, states that “spur-of-the-moment vacation reservations are often possible in the Mammoth Sierra; however, planning and booking in advance are the best ways to ensure more and better lodging choices and available dates. That way you get to truly experience the marvels of the Eastern Sierra when and how you want to.”
The Lonely Planet is right – 2013 is the year to begin a first-hand exploration of “California’s Secret Dream.” It’s a vacation destination that draws many return visits, always offering something new to experience. No matter what the varied tastes of each traveler and with more generous choices of sights to see and activities to do than is possible in a single visit, boredom will never be an issue on the “wilder side of California.”