Drive past Springville to Camp Nelson, about 45 minutes further. The road is winding and in the winter may not be passable without chains or a 4-wheel drive. (Getting stuck on a winter road may cause you to put out your back and could land you back in the Delano chiropractor’s office way too soon.) Once you are in Camp Nelson, you will enjoy Giant Sequoia trees that have made this part of the Sierra famous. There are plenty of hiking trails and fishing in Camp Nelson. The historic Camp Nelson lodge is our pick for lodging.
Past Camp Nelson, drive along the Great Western Divide Highway (190) to Quaking Aspen and Ponderosa Lodge. In the fall, the leaves on the quaking aspen trees turn yellow and rustle delicately in the wind. Seeing the leaves in the fall is a simple pleasure you do not want to miss. You will catch some of the aspens at the Ponderosa Lodge where we recommend a burger and fries out on the open air deck. Ponderosa Pines will tower above you as you dine.
Drive about five minutes past Ponderosa Lodge and take the dirt road to Dome Rock. The road is bumpy but worth it to see the back country of the Sierra. Dome Rock is also a favorite for amateur astronomers.
From Dome Rock, continue driving for about twenty minutes until you hit the Trail of a Hundred Giants, an entirely wheel chair-accessible trail, paved in asphalt, and as beautiful as any grove of redwood giants in the Park. For $5 to park, enjoy this moderate hike — help your back and your body by getting a bit of exercise.
After your hike on the Trail, drive back to Delano via California Hot Springs, about 30 minutes drive. The historic Hot Springs resort is still open and offers swimming and casual food for the family. The pool water itself is a warm 80 degrees and the two hot tubs are over 100 degrees. From California Hot Springs, the drive back to Delano is about 55 minutes.