My parents and I were originally planning on Yosemite this year, but with the wildfires, it seemed like that wasn’t an advisable destination. Instead, we went to Lake Tahoe and Redwoods, which was an area of California I hadn’t been to before and it was absolutely gorgeous!
One of the things I was most excited for in this region was the Donner Party Memorial. The Donner Party is one of those things I learned about as a child and have always been irrationally fascinated by. There’s a state park outside of Truckee, California with a few hiking trails, a monument, and a small museum about the incident. There wasn’t a lot to see, but it was a fun excursion. I thought it was a particularly bold choice to include cookbooks in the gift shop.
Our next stop was Redwood National Park, which was incredible! They are the tallest trees on Earth, and there’s something so magical about being dwarfed by nature. We did a few of the short hikes and then did a scenic drive through the park. I would highly recommend a visit. The time of year we went was perfect, too, since it was the fall and the leaves of many of the other trees had changed to a stunning golden color.
The drive between Redwoods and Tahoe was beautiful. We went on some of the smaller highways and through the mountains. We tried to go to Lassen Volcanic National Park as well, but it was pretty snowy and most of the park was closed down from both the weather and the wildfires. It was crazy to go from the beach to a snowy mountain road within a day of driving.
One of the more sobering parts of the trip was coming across areas that had just recently gone through wildfires. Wildfires are a harsh reality of living in the Western US, but I’ve been so fortunate to be relatively unaffected by them myself. We went through communities that were still dealing with the fallout and trying to clean up, like the one pictured above.
Our final destination was Lake Tahoe! My mom had always wanted to stay in the Ritz Carleton there, so we had a ~fancy~ end to the trip as we headed up into the ski resort where it’s located and treated ourselves to a spa day. The whole area around the lake is beautiful, and I understand why it’s such a popular vacation destination. Overall, a great family vacation to a region I’ve wanted to explore for a while!