The National Park Service celebrates its 100th birthday this year. Get into the spirit by visiting one of these special places. Depending on which of our San Joaquin Valley homes you buy, some of the best of our national heritage are located within one to five hours from you, allowing you and your family to get in touch with nature on breaks ranging from a quick afternoon to a week getaway.
Sequoia National Park
Sometimes called the Land of the Giants, Sequoia National Park is home to giant sequoias, which only grow on the Sierra Nevada’s western slope. These evergreens grow as high as a 26-story building and are as wide as 35 feet with branches up to eight feet in diameter. Some live up to 3,000 years. You’ll find the most spectacular examples at the Giant Sequoia National Monument an area spanning over six groves across 328,315 acres. Among the more famous examples you’ll find:
• General Sherman, the biggest tree in the world at 274.9 feet tall and with a girth of 102.6 feet near the ground.
• Washington, one of the most beautiful sequoias and one of the oldest at 2,850 years. Unfortunately, a lightning strike in 2005 made the tree collapse from over 250 feet to about 101 feet.
• General Grant, the second biggest tree on earth at 270 feet and 107 feet around its base.
Yosemite National Park
One of the most famous parks in the world, Yosemite covers 1,200 square miles and offers spectacular waterfalls.
• Yosemite Falls is one of the world’s tallest falls at 2,425 feet and flows from November through July with peak flows in May. You can hike to the top if you’re very fit, although you can also admire the water from several places around the valley.
• Horsetail Fall appears orange when it reflects the glow of sunset during the last half of February. Rising over 1,000 feet, this fiery spectacle is best admired from the east side of El Capitan.
• Bridal Veil Fall flows all year with a peak flow in May. Although only 620 feet high, its gauzy beauty is striking it’s often the first waterfall you’ll see when you enter the park.
Encompassing nearly 3.4 million acres, Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous United States and averages only 2.36 inches of rain a year. It’s also one of the hottest places on Earth with its July 10, 1913 temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit holding the record for hottest temperature ever recorded. This is one place you probably want to avoid in the summer with autumn and spring being excellent times to visit, and winter offering cool days but chilly nights. The park features a multitude of unusual landscapes:
• Devil’s Golf Course consists of rock salt eroded into serrated spires that often pop with sound as the salt crystals burst apart from the heat.
• Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America encompassing salt flats. Stick to the boardwalk on hot days.
• Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes form the largest dune fields in the park. Be on the lookout for the three types of dunes: linear, star-shaped and crescent.
For more info on what to see around our developments or if you want to check out our model homes, please contact us.