The best way to get an authentic feel for the vast diversity of people and place across the USA is by renting a car yourself and unravelling it on two wheels. Get ready for a Road Trippin’ USA adventure!
In the coming weeks and months, we’re showcasing 30 ‘Insider Guide’ self-drive itineraries to help you experience the great states of the USA.
From the cultural hub of San Francisco to the stunningly surreal landscapes of northern and eastern California, the Giant Trees and Ancient Forests trail will inject your American road trip with the most impressive natural highlights of the Golden State.
GIANT TREES AND ANCIENT FORESTS ROAD TRIP: ROUTE HIGHLIGHTS
1. SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK AREA, CALIFORNIA
(379kms: 3 hours 47 mins drive time)
Before getting behind the driver’s seat and departing for the state’s majestic outdoors, spend some time exploring vibrant (and hilly) San Francisco. Slurp down a steaming bowl of crab and clam chowder in sourdough bread bowls at Fisherman’s Wharf, and then take a selfie in front of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
Then jump in your car and head north to the bubbling hot springs and hissing mud pools of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Explore the Devastated Area – a former eruption site – with a pair of comfy hiking boots (you’ll be using these a lot on this trail) and immerse yourself in a world of ancient forests, placid lakes and steaming sulphur vents.
2. LASSEN VOLCANIC NATIONAL PARK AREA, CALIFORNIA – LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA/NEVADA
(251kms: 3hrs 8 mins drive time)
There are over 241kms of trails inside Lassen Volcanic National Park, so you could (and should) be here for a while. But hey! You’re just getting started! So get back in the car and follow the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail all the way to Lake Tahoe.
Rent a kayak and paddle around Lake Tahoe that sits inside the snowy Sierra Nevada mountain range. There are tons of bike and hiking trails around this massive freshwater lake, so getting active out here is easy-as. But so is just relaxing in a hammock and enjoying the serenity of this slice of California wilderness that straddles both the California and Nevada borders.
3. LAKE TAHOE, CALIFORNIA/NEVADA – YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA
(199kms: 2hrs and 36 mins drive time)
Continue through the High Sierra Nevada mountains for two and a half hours of gobsmacking views, and you’ll end up at Yosemite National Park. Here, towering sequoia trees – some as tall as 87m – shoot up to the heavens, whilst the granite cliffs of Half Dome and El Capitan stand like stone guards against the cobalt sky.
Take a walk through the park past gushing waterfalls, such as the 189-metre-tall Bridalveil Falls, and visit The Ansel Adams Gallery to see an amazing collection of the photographer’s renowned landscapes of the area. There are hundreds of kilometres of hiking and biking trails here – for all levels of fitness – so you may want to set up camp here for a few days…
4. YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA – SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
(268kms: 3hrs 8mins drive time)
In the morning, visit the Yosemite Museum to learn about the indigenous Ahwahnechee people and their culture who have lived in this region of California for centuries before driving back to colourful San Francisco.
If the outdoors are still calling your name by the time you reach SF, check out the Presidio of San Francisco, a former U.S. Army military fort and now a recreation park filled with trails. Or take the ferry over to Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay and visit this historic American landmark. A former federal penitentiary, it’s now a prime hotspot for marine wildlife, nesting birds and curious travellers.
Download the complete ‘Giant Trees and Ancient Forests Trail itinerary here!‘
GET THE ROAD TRIP PLAYLIST!
Sing your heart out as you cruise along the Giant Trees and Ancient Forests itinerary in sunny California. Blast the Beach Boys out of your stereo in San Francisco, rock out to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers on your road trip to Yosemite, and crank out some Bob Dylan as you cruise along Highway 61. These carefully curated tunes perfectly encapsulate the Golden State in all its sonic glory.
AGENTS: JOIN THE USA DISCOVERY PROGRAM!
The USA Discovery Program is Brand USA’s official trade training platform for the USA. The Giant Trees and Ancient Forests itinerary features three destinations with training badges. Get clicking and complete your California, Nevada and Lake Tahoe badges and get the edge on your colleagues to see this amazing itinerary.
Click here to register and get all the knowledge for the USA.
PLUS! DESIGN YOUR OWN TRIP WITH THE USA TRIP PLANNER
The Visit USA Trip Planner is an amazing (and free!) tool that matches your personal travel preferences and style.
With over 230 million data points including the best places & times to visit, reviews and hidden gems, this is one smart piece of travel tech.
This little travel genius optimises your itinerary to minimise travel time, checks when attractions are open and even recommends how much time to spend at each stop off. Brilliant!
Finally, it lets you share & collaborate with your fellow road trippers and is easy to add or revise points of interest as you go.
Find out more: Trip-Planner.VisitTheUSA.com
GET ALL THE TOOLS ON BRAND USA’S TRAVEL TRADE SITE
From Trip Planners to Itineraries and the USA Discovery Program and Destination information, Brand USA’s Travel Trade Site for agents has you covered.
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