Bay Area based couple making travel work with full-time jobs. Follow us on our adventures as we make the most of our time off by exploring our beautiful planet.

Easy hike with a nice payoff.

The upper falls are gorgeous! Skip the lower falls unless you are looking to relax or go swimming. They are very small and unimpressive compared to the upper falls. Note as of September 2018 the stairs to the third viewpoint at the base of upper falls is closed for repairs.

A great little hike if you are in the Mammoth area.

We went early in the morning, and had the trail to ourselves. If you are hoping to get good photos of the scene, note that Crystal Crag will be in shadow, so it is probably better to endure the afternoon crowds.

Perfect Short Hike!

If you are looking for a short, easy hike with great views this one is perfect. The trail is fairly busy, but nothing compared to the hoards of people who flock to the Moraine Lake shoreline. Just make sure you arrive early, otherwise you will be turned away once the parking lot fills.

Challenging and Dangerous Climb!

We would have loved to complete this hike, but the last bit wasn't worth the risk to us. The slope is very steep and has a lot of loose rock. You definitely need confidence and amazing balance to complete the scramble to the saddle. Brian and I got about 1/4 of the way up and decided to turn around because I wasn't comfortable. It was extremely disappointing, but in the end it was the right decision and I am glad that I listened to my gut. - Julie

Beautiful Hike!

The switchbacks on this trail are tough, but the trail itself, and the views along the way are gorgeous! There were tons of wildflowers when we went and the end of July. Our final destination was Amphitheater Lake, but Surprise Lake was a nice little bonus to explore.

A easy hike with a great view!

You won't find solitude on this trail, but it is still worth doing for the stunning views of the Tetons reflected in the lake. Consider extending you hike a bit and adding Bradley lake onto the loop since it is so close and has equally beautiful views!

Great Hike!

We did the loop just as described, and it was a really nice little hike! The trail is pretty crowded at the beginning, but the section between Taggart and Bradley offered a bit more solitude. It seemed like most people were just headed straight to Bradley, which is a shame since both are so close and equally beautiful!

Beautiful Views

Amphitheater Lake is absolutely stunning! We could have spent the whole day here taking it all in. We have to strongly disagree with the recommendation that beginners do this hike - it is strenuous! You need to have some experience and a good level of fitness to hike with 3,000 ft of elevation gain in 5.5 miles. Hiking to the nearby Taggart and Bradley Lakes would be better suited for a beginner.

A nice little hike with a great reward!

This is a heavily traveled trail, but worth it since the falls are so beautiful. It is worth the extra effort to do it as a loop since you get to see the falls from above, and on the way down you pass the overlook for the Biscuit Basin.

Updated Trail

There is an official trail and viewing platform now. The parking lot fills up fast, so make sure you get an early start!

A great place to escape the crowds!

This spot is really close to some of the overwhelmingly crowded geyser basins, but most people end up passing it since you have to drive off the main highway. Instead of fighting for parking at the Upper, Biscuit, or Midway Basins, definitely take this drive instead. We went on a busy summer day, so there were still some people here, but the further you drive in, the more parking opportunities, so be patient!

Wish the trail went down to the bottom!

The money shot is definitely from down at the water, but in order to get there you have to jump the fence and scramble down a pretty steep cliff. When we visited this weekend a group of teenagers were having a pretty hard time on the trail, so we decided to play it safe and just enjoyed the views from the platform.

Best at Sunrise!

It is definitely worth getting up early to see the morning light on Crater Lake. If you are visiting when the snow is melting, like we were, be prepared for mosquitoes! They seemed to be much worse in the morning than they were when we were out for sunset the day before.

Great Sunrise Photography Location

Such an awesome rock formation, and a bonus because you can frame Mt. Whitney in the arch. Since we were just driving through, we hit this at sunset, which was pretty, but it is a much better shot at sunrise when the scene is lit from the front. We'll definitely be back!

Great for Sunset Photos!

A very cool spot especially at low tide when you can go through the arch. It was high tide when we went, so we'll definitely be back to explore some more!

Beautiful Falls!

A really beautiful waterfall, but as others have said it is right next to the road, so the hike feels like it doesn't pay off as much in the end since you could just drive to the falls. We wanted to get some steps in though, and decided to park on the North Escape Road, and then hike down the Sequoia Trail from there to avoid some of the crowds that take off going the other direction from the Visitor Center.

A nice little stop!

A nice little stop if you are in the area and want to stretch your legs. Be sure to go during golden hour or on an overcast day if you want to get good photos because the falls face north. Also, beware of mosquitoes if you are planning on going right now. We were there two days ago and got eaten alive!


When we visited the lighthouse was closed due to high winds. It was still worth a visit because you can see it from a viewing platform at the top of the cliff, you just can't walk down the stairs. Photographers, if you have a telephoto lens, definitely bring it in case this scenario happens to you! Also, as other reviewers said, it gets crowded and parking can be a pain, so go early!

Beautiful but crowded

This is such a stunning location, but when we visited there were TONS of people here (including someone having their own fashion photoshoot in the middle of the tunnel). Definitely go really early on a weekday or plan on bringing a tripod to do a composite shot.

One of our favorite peaks!

Most hikers tend to take the 4-mile (one way) trek up from Vincent Gap, which switchbacks up the north slope of the peak. However, we prefer to take an alternate route, which starts at Dawson Saddle, and joins the Pacific Crest Trail as it meanders along several ridges. This route is longer by about two miles, and it does have some elevation changes (which means you’ll be going back up in a few places on your way back to the trailhead), but the views of the L.A. Basin and Antelope Valley, plus the solitude, make it worth the extra effort.

Beautiful Hike

We've done this in winter and summer and loved both! Just be sure to prepare for icy conditions in winter and use good judgement when navigating through the snow. In summer, start early because the sun blasts the beginning of the trail in the afternoon.


We love this hike because it was one of the first ones we did in the San Gabriels. Be sure to get to the trailhead early because this is a very popular spot among hikers and people just driving up to the mountains to hang out for the day.

A Must-Do Hike!

If you are driving through Big Sur, don't miss this hike! It's very beautiful and the prefect length to give you a good workout, and still have time to explore more of the area on one day.

A great place to explore!

Be sure to buy your tickets in advance if you are visiting on the weekend or during a holiday! I also recommend the Upstairs Suites tour, as the group size is smaller and you get to see more of the house. When we did the Grand Rooms Tour we felt disappointed, and decided to add it on afterwards.