Points, Miles & Life

Travel adventures on this earthly pilgrimage

Category: Desert (page 1 of 2)

3 Highlights (and 2 Disappointments) Visiting Death Valley

Death Valley National Park had long been on my list to visit among the many California National Parks I have yet to see. And on our Southwest road-trip in 2018, I finally made it happen. We were traversing the desert from Tucson up to Tahoe, and a stop at Death Valley was a must. The previous days had included Las Vegas and Red Rocks National Conservation Area (SEE: The Easiest Hike at Red Rocks).

The final days of the trip were a bit rushed, entailing a lot of driving each day, which meant that we didn’t get to linger. I’m not sure I’ll plan a trip again that gives us so little time, as there is so much to see. Whether it is the cacti of Saguaro National Park, the magnificent red rock formations of Sedona, or the majesty of the Grand Canyon that we almost didn’t see, everywhere we went felt like it deserved another day (well, except Vegas). Death Valley was no exception.

We headed toward the valley from the east, after staying at a nice hotel in the oddest place (SEE: Holiday Inn Express Pahrump Review: This may be the best HIE ever?). I planned our night in Pahrump so that the park would be little more than an hour of driving the next day. The drive is pretty lonely,

Eventually, we made it to the park entrance, which consists of some pit toilets and a payment kiosk. There are no National Park Service staff to greet you.  Even though it isn’t staffed, you do need to pay the entrance fee, which is $30 (increased from $25 when we visited). The fee is good for up to 7 consecutive days in the park. If you plan on visiting twice, just purchase an annual pass, which is only $55. Better yet, just buy a National Parks annual pass for $80.

I had high hopes for our one day visit to this otherworldly place. The plan was to head to Dante’s View, then along to Zabriskie Point, and eventually down into Badwater, the lowest point on the continent.

Unfortunately, things started off with a bit of disappointment. But our brief visit was still great overall. Here are the highlights, followed by what we missed:

Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America

No trip to Death Valley is complete without a stop in Badwater. At 282 feet below sea level, this basin is the lowest point not only in the country, but in the entire continent. Technically, it is the lowest point in all the Americas.

But a visit here is worth more than just being able to add something to your personal record books. A walk out on the salt flats will help give you a perspective of the vastness of Death Valley.

The Panamint range towering above you in the distance to the west is certainly impressive. It is mind boggling that Telescope Peak, the highest mountain in this arid range, is 11,049 feet tall. This is a crazy elevation differential over a distance of barely 10 miles!

We had to obviously take a photo at the sign. I’ve never stood this fare below sea level, and it was fun to describe to the kids how we would be way beneath the ocean’s surface, could the ocean reach this inland valley. They thought that was pretty cool.

What the kids were definitely not into was walking out on the salt flats of Badwater Basin. They aren’t hikers (SEE: 3 Tips for Hiking with Kids in the Desert). Hiking and walking were natural parts of my upbringing, so much so that it is basically my default activity when traveling if I have no other plans. Just get out and wander. I’m learning to make adjustments with the kids along.

This will forever be one of my favorite photos. The faces say it all. I mean, it was 100 degrees out that April morning. But the air was bone dry, and you could hardly feel it. I’m a wimp when it comes to heat, and I did fine. Humidity is what does this guy in.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

We stopped in Furnace Creek after visiting Badwater Basin and the Artist’s Palette. It is a great place to stop if you’re in need of break, a bathroom, and some cool air. With temperatures hovering around 100 degrees outside, it makes for a nice pit stop.

The two main things I found most interesting about the visitor center were the Death Valley model and the story about “Death Valley Scotty”. The model is in the middle of the visitor center and provides you with a great perspective of the vastness of the the park. The vertical scale is obviously exaggerated. It was cool to show the kids where we’d arrived from and which way we were heading out after our visit.

The half hour film on the ecology and history of Death Valley is excellent. Make sure you budget time for it. More than anything else, I was intrigued by the man known as “Death Valley Scotty”. Starting his career as a stunt rider in “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West show, Walter Scott began a series of “ventures” where he managed to swindle his wealthy patrons out of every penny they invested into his schemes. Remarkably, Albert Johnson, one of his patrons, became a lifelong friend of Scott’s, forgiving him for his fraudulent stunts.

This friendship provided Scott with a level of stability he never would have enjoyed in his later years, and it managed to weather the con man’s tendency for boasting and self-aggrandizement. The mansion known as “Scotty’s Castle” didn’t actually ever belong to Walter Scott. It was instead the Johnson’s vacation home. Unfortunately, the castle was damaged in a flood and it is no longer possible to visit.

What amazed me most about the whole story of “Death Valley Scotty” was how the man who gets all the notoriety and association with this place is not at all the hero of the story. Johnson’s steadfast friendship with Scott and support of him is what is truly remarkable. Like I said, the video at Furnace Creek Visitor Center is well worth watching.

One note on Furnace Creek: make sure you fill up the car. Gas prices are obscene! It was bad enough when we visited, but they are well above $5.00 per gallon for regular at time of writing.

First glimpse of the valley from Zabriskie Point

While I’d hoped to have another view as our first glimpse of Death Valley, our initial stop, even before heading to Badwater, was at Zabriskie Point. You don’t get a sweeping view of Death Valley, but you can at least steal a peek over the badland formations. It is one of the most photographed points in the park.

The terrain here is otherworldly. Shaped by rain erosion, is the sort of look and texture you’d expect from a wasteland of a planet from a sci-fi film. The complete barrenness of the soil stands in stark contrast to so much of the rest of California and the other deserts I’ve visited, which have a robust ecosystem.

Had the time been available (and the temperature cooler), I would have loved to hike the Golden Canyon trail from the opposite side of the Badland formations.

Biggest bummer: Dante’s View was closed

Now for the depressing parts. When I was researching what to see in Death Valley, the viewpoint known as “Dante’s View” topped my list. This viewpoint is accessible from the east side of the park. You head south from the main road essentially from the entrance kiosk and then drive for several miles up to the point.

But Dante’s View was closed. You could drive a ways down the road to a parking lot, but the road was gated beyond that point. Had we been able to access the scenic spot, we would have enjoyed sweeping views of Death Valley stretching out before us. Dante’s View is positioned right above Badwater, and is one of the best vista points in the park.

The viewpoint is open again. We unfortunately just came during a period of maintenance where the Park Service was doing work at the Dante’s View parking lot. You can enjoy this spot once again.

How little time we had

The second bummer is how abbreviated our visit had to be. Yes, this is completely my fault. Death Valley is vast; this was not lost on me. It takes a good amount of time to just drive through the park and from point to point within it. For example, to get from Badwater to Scotty’s Castle (unfortunately closed, like I mentioned), you will need to drive almost an hour and a half. Plan accordingly.

I knew we would have at most about 5-6 hours to see and enjoy Death Valley. This is enough if you want to simply stop by a couple of highlights and then keep moving, like we did. To really experience the valley, you probably need a couple full days.

Conclusion

While our visit to Death Valley was brief, I really enjoyed it. The kids were less enthusiastic, but we did make memories, even if it was of them pretending to die as we walked across the salt flats. They still talk about it, and that is what matters to me most. Hopefully they’ll look back fondly on our visit one day, realizing I really wasn’t trying to kill them. Go see and experience this amazing national park!

Holiday Inn Express Pahrump Review – This may be the best HIE ever?

Location: Pahrump, Nevada. Never heard of it?

Overall rating: 10/10

Pros: Very clean, bright, airy, comfortable rooms

Cons: It’s in Pahrump?

After you get done asking, “where is Pahrump?”,  you might immediately wonder why I would bother reviewing a hotel there. Well…I didn’t expect to. But it made me want to (although the post has been sitting in my drafts forever). So here it is.

Pahrump is a city west of Las Vegas along Highway 160. It is along the route to Death Valley, at it made a convenient stopping point for the night after spending a morning enjoying the hotel pool in Las Vegas and an afternoon in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (SEE: The Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area).

Holiday Inn Express hotels are generally very cookie cutter. They are almost all the same style concrete tower, offer the same amenities, and the same breakfast. If you like consistency, they are one of the best brands for it. They do differ a little bit in Europe, but you can expect a consistent experience there as well. Just different.

But sometimes you get a bit of an outlier, and the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump is one of those. I booked the hotel for 20,000 IHG points. Cash rates were about $120 the night I booked, so it was a fairly run-of-the-mill redemption. Rates can vary, but begin as low as about $90 before taxes from what have seen. Expect spring to be a bit more and midsummer to be pretty low.

Arriving at the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump

We arrived in Pahrump after an hour drive from Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.  It is roughly 1:15 to Las Vegas, and about the same to Death Valley (a little more to Badwater Basin and the lowest point in North America). If you’re considering visiting Death Valley and don’t want to stay right in the valley, it’s not a bad option.

There’s not a lot to Pahrump. You’re essentially in the middle of a desert that nobody in their right mind would settle. Yet people did. Between the chronic water problems and the nothingness surrounding you, it’s no wonder real estate here is pretty affordable.

Walking into the hotel and checking in, it struck me how clean and new the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump feels. The lobby also has a bit more character than many other Holiday Inn Express hotels I’ve stayed at. I typically judge hotel lobbies by how inviting they would be for hanging out and socializing, and this was was a step up from most of their sister hotels.

Check-in was very quick and easy and the agent super polite. He welcomed us to the hotel and asked why we were in town. This is a fairly common question, but it amused me a bit considering where we were. I wonder if the typical reason is “just passing through” or if there is some other draw to Pahrump. Or more likely he is honestly curious what attracts visitors to this little desert town.

Queen-Queen Room

My thoughts about the cleanliness and newness of the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump continued as we entered our room on the third floor. The hallways are in great condition, just like the lobby.

In the entry there is a little corner counter, opposite the mini-fridge and coffee maker, all standard parts of a typical Holiday Inn Express room. The $20 Walmart luggage and Tutu the dog are not included.

It is a pretty typical design, but everything seemed very nice. There is also a microwave, which I don’t believe is something that every Holiday Inn Express includes. Maybe I don’t notice. We never use it.

The rest of the room was what surprised me. The design of the desk, luggage space, and dresser and rack for clothes are beyond anything I’ve ever seen at any other Holiday Inn Express. All items were sturdy, clean, and appeared new. Even with three different bags, it was easy to stay organized and nice not to have any luggage on the floor.

In the corner is a sofa/daybed that my son instantly claimed as his. He is a fickle one. Sometimes he wants to share the bed with me. Other times he wants to sleep in awkward spots like this. Only one thing is for certain: he never prefers an actual sofa bed. At least him sleeping here means a better night of sleep for me.

The bathroom was just as clean and nice as the rest of the hotel, albeit a very typical tub/shower and plain sink Holiday Inn Express design.

Our room also enjoyed a view of the pool below, nicely shielded from the afternoon sun by the hotel itself. The pool was our first stop after we got settled.

Hotel Pool

The Holiday Inn Express Pahrump offers an outdoor pool that is lovely on a warm spring day. I’m sure it’s nice as well in midsummer, if the desert heat doesn’t kill you before you reach it.

The kids had a nice swim. I sat down with a cup of coffee and enjoyed the warmth in the shade for a while before jumping in myself. We did all jump in the hot tub as well, but it is a bit nonsensical on a warm day in the sun!

Like the interior of the hotel, the pool area was very clean and well-maintained.

Breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump

The Holiday Inn Express Pahrump offers the free breakfast that is standard for the brand. For domestic hotels, this typically includes eggs, sausage, yogurt, cereal, a couple bread and pastry options, and the iconic cinnamon rolls.

Nothing stood out about breakfast, but it was still good. It is nice to know that Holiday Inn Express hotels in the U.S. provide a consistent experience.

Things to do in Pahrump?

Don’t laugh. I gotta include something, don’t I? If you’re looking to gamble, there is of course a casino, but I don’t know of anything else off the bat in Pahrump itself that might be a draw. And I personally don’t find gambling a draw anyway, and would prefer to never, ever visit Las Vegas again.

The two points of interest for which the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump would be a great base are Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Death Valley National Park. We visited both of these places, and thoroughly enjoyed our time in each, however brief. I would love to come back and explore more of Death Valley, hopefully when Dante’s View is actually open. And the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump would probably be my top choice of hotel if we don’t decide to stay right in the valley.

Conclusion

The Holiday Inn Express Pahrump is definitely the nicest Holiday Inn Express hotel at which I’ve ever stayed. The one we stayed at at Charles de Gaulle airport is a close second (SEE: Holiday Inn Express CDG Airport Review), but I’ll still give the edge to the one in Pahrump.

The room was more modern and more comfortable than pretty much any other HIE I’ve visited. The amenities were still the same, but the level of newness, modernness and cleanliness thoroughly impressed me. There are few properties, especially in the mid-scale range, that have felt this nice. The hotel is fairly new. I believe it opened in 2015. But management has been able to make it feel like it could have opened just a couple months prior.

If we ever happen to pass through Pahrump again (as doubtful as that is), the Holiday Inn Express Pahrump will be where we stay.

The Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

**Trying to play catch-up on these final posts from last year before launching into more recent adventures!**

After saying au revior to Las Vegas, honestly hoping it is the last time I ever visit that enigmatic city, the kids and I drove the half hour to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

The kids complained nearly the entire time we were in the park. I wish I could say otherwise. It was “too hot” at about 82 degrees. And totally dry. I barely felt it, and I’m a wimp when it comes to the heat. Yes, these are the same kids that come from Costa Rica where the temperature routinely got this high.

Oh, the pain of the blazing desert sun! Next time we’ll visit in July so that they know what *real* heat is. They may hate me for these photos later, but I find them too funny. Their faces at Death Valley were also priceless (SEE: 3 Tips for Hiking with Kids in the Desert).

I have been giving more thought to what I post about my kids, either on various blogs or on social media, something that is definitely important to think about in this day and age. Check out this post from The Deal Mommy about respecting kids opinions about their online presence and persona (since you, as their parent, are creating and/or influencing it). Ours are not yet online, but they will be eventually.

Main points of interest at Red Rock Canyon NCA

Our first stop was at Calico Hills, a popular spot for photos and hiking. Or I should say “hiking”. It was little more than a short walk down the hill and then back up, but the kids acted like it would be the death of them.

Luckily, I knew better. Our short walk turned out to be enjoyable enough, as we saw some cool desert flora and a lizard. The red rocks themselves are stunning as well. Which is why everyone visits this spot.

Our next stop was at the vista point for the view. It is at nearly the highest point along the road and provides a view of Calico rocks, the surrounding hills, and the Las Vegas basin way off in the distance.

The Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

The final point of interest was Lost Creek Canyon Trail. We had a brief break, though, for lunch, which consisted of sandwiches, hastily made in the car. Then we all set out across the dry creek beds to see what was in store for this short hike. The trail starts out clearly marked, bordered by rocks.

Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

I knew that the trail isn’t long. But it didn’t matter how long we would be hiking. The kids wanted none of it. I might as well have offered them the Bataan Death March. The promise of a waterfall was the only tool I had to spur them on. How I hoped it wouldn’t be lame.

The first “fall” (what I thought was a fall) we came to was pretty lame. But I could hear more water falling up the creek, so I was hopeful. The path became less distinct but still fairly easy to follow.

The whining began again, and rather than deal with it, I just kept walking and let the kids catch up. Hope returned after we passed another group who said the real waterfall wasn’t too far ahead.

We’d barely been walking 15 minutes, which does make this an extremely short hike and probably the easiest hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area.

Everything is worth it at the end

Finally, we were greeted by a ribbon of water falling forty feet into a lovely pool below. The kids complaining turned to laughter as they ran to the edge. The pool and surrounding rocks were even in the shade, so we could enjoy the vista without the desert sun beating down on us.

Easiest Hike in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

The kids and I made our way around edge, clambering over the rocks to get closer to the waterfall. Soon they were throwing rocks into the water, hiding from each other, and doing all the sorts of kid things they are supposed to in a fun outdoor place like this.

I just sat down and enjoyed being there. It had been an easy hike, but one that is well worth the minimal time it takes to get to this lovely spot. When I finally informed the kids it was time to keep moving, they protested. How quickly their perspective changes! We settled on staying another half hour, which meant we would get into Pahrump later than I wanted, but everything would still work out fine.

The last twenty minutes consisted of my daughter chasing her brother with a bottle of water trying to get him wet. Always the instigator, he had tried to push her into the pool below the waterfall and it was payback time.

Conclusion

The hike out was just as pleasant. I highly recommend Lost Creek Canyon / Children’s Discovery Trail as one of the best and easiest hikes in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area for families. It’s an easy 1.2 to 1.5-mile round-trip, depending on how you do your out and back, as you can make a sort of loop that still includes the waterfall. We’ll be back again if we pass through the area. It sure beats visiting Vegas!

Easiest Sedona Hike (with a view)

Sedona. I can still recall getting up before dawn and catching my first glimpse of the red cliffs all around before the sun peeked over the hills. Few mornings have felt as enchanting. Unlike that first trip to this spectacular corner of the southwestern U.S. where we had a few days to enjoy hiking in its breathtaking setting, our road trip this past spring was fast-paced; we had a mere afternoon to take in as much as we could. Which meant I wanted to find the easiest Sedona hike possible.

Yet I still wanted to find one that provided us with great views of the beautiful rock formations of this amazing corner of the southwest. I remembered one that was very close to the middle of town. It would be the perfect mix of fast and easy, and also provide an awesome view of the Sedona landscape.

Easiest Sedona Hike with a view

The trail of choice was the Teacup Trail, which would take us to the Sugarloaf Summit trail, which was the real goal. The trailhead is located in the middle of Sedona, in a residential neighborhood. You can find the parking lot on Buena Vista Drive.

The Teacup Trail is fairly well marked. You can generally follow the path easily, although there are places where you could possibly wander away from the main path. Any extra trails made by people who didn’t stay on the main path don’t disappear quickly in the desert. The damage is done.

If you do get confused as to where to go, you can generally spot a rock cage that will help guide you. These are placed fairly regularly along some of the trails in Sedona.

Even though this may be the easiest Sedona hike, there is no shortage of beautiful scenery. Some of the best is right here in the middle of town. The landscape is mesmerizing.

It will probably take you no more than about 10-15 minutes to come to the turnoff that will take you up Sugarloaf Summit. The Teacup Trail passes alongside the west side of this rocky outcrop, and you must hike back up from the north. You can see Coffee Pot Rock there to the left at the end of the mesa in the foreground.

Hiking Sugarloaf Summit

The Sugarloaf Summit Trail is a bit more strenuous than the Teacup Trail, but it really isn’t difficult. The trail is less than a quarter mile from the turnoff up to the top of the rocky dome. We took our time, and the kids enjoyed playing with rocks and looking for critters in the desert.

As you get to the top of Sugarloaf Summit, you start to get the best of the views. Sedona is truly incredible. I was just as amazed by this visit as I was by my first trip here.

easiest Sedona hike

There was a storm quickly approaching, and the wind was really moving across the top of Sugarloaf Summit. Luckily, it wasn’t cold. The temperature during our short Sedona hike was right around 70 degrees. Better than the cold we encountered later in the trip, and also better than the 90 degree days we spent enjoying Tucson (SEE: Kings Canyon – Gould Mine Loop Hike in Saguaro National Park).

Here is a panorama from the east side of Sugarloaf “Mountain”. You can see Coffee Pot Rock clearly in the center, and part of Sedona to the right.

Even though the kids aren’t all that crazy about hiking, they were sure enjoying this easy Sedona hike (SEE: 3 Tips for Hiking with Kids in the Desert). I think it was mainly because of the better temperatures and the fact they knew it wasn’t going to be all that far.

They were even being loving siblings. Which is sure better than dealing with the alternative.

We hiked a bit farther along the Teacup Trail, ending up pretty much right under Coffee Pot Rock before turning around. It was looking more and more like rain, and I wanted to make it back to the car before it started. Plus, we also had scheduled a time for my daughter to talk with a friend.

Overall, it was a great short hike. Hopefully we’ll be back to Sedona fairly soon to enjoy some more great, easy hiking.

Conclusion

Given our time constraints and the weather, our hike was the perfect length. It would have been nicer to see more of the exquisitely beautiful red rock surrounding us, but we had to settle for the easiest Sedona hike I was familiar with and knew would provide us with a lovely view of the valley. We’ll tackle something a bit more challenging next time.

Map image courtesy of Open Street Map

Kings Canyon – Gould Mine Loop Hike in Saguaro National Park

On a beautiful Arizona morning in late April we headed out from the Hampton Inn in Tucson to Saguaro National Park, to the west of the city. The plan? Complete the Kings Canyon – Gould Mine Loop hike, a distance of about 2.1 miles, as an introduction for the kids to the desert.

Although we didn’t make it out of the hotel especially early to beat the heat, it was shaping up to only be in the 80s. I’m not sure we would have attempted this during the heat of midsummer!

Pit stop at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Before we started the hike, we made a quick stop at the desert museum, just to use the restroom.  Even though our time here was super brief, we encountered a rattlesnake. I hadn’t seen one in years. It was right in the parking lot!

Park staff promptly snagged him. With lots of people around, he definitely needed to be re-homed.

I used the encounter to help illustrate the need for immediate obedience from the kids. The last rattlesnake story I recall involved my dad calling my two sisters away from a picnic table at Mount Diablo. A diamondback had started to coil up underneath. Thankfully, they immediately got up and left. Dad then spent the next minute chucking rocks at the reptile until it struck.

With that story fresh in their heads, we headed a bit further down the road to the Kings Canyon trailhead.

Kings Canyon Trailhead

The Kings Canyon – Gould Mine loop hike starts just a short distance down the road from the museum. The trailhead is at a small parking lot off the right side of the road. The Kings Canyon trail starts as a gentle ascent along a dry creekbed.

Although the views from the parking lot are decent, you quickly rise even more and are offered a lovely view of the desert stretching out beyond the way you came.

Unsurprisingly, the mighty saguaro are plentiful. The giant cacti are endemic to Arizona and the state of Sonora, Mexico. This multi-armed monster has to be well over 100 years old.

We stopped frequently, mainly to take in the beautiful desert around us. But also because the kids were already hot and tired.

It’s soooooo hot!

I lost count how many times I heard this during our hike. Even though our kids are native to a fairly warm climate, they have already adopted the utterly Humboldtian disposition of melting when it gets above 85°F. Except if there is a pool around. Then they’re fine. But hiking in the desert? Not a fun proposition (SEE: 3 Tips for Hiking with Kids in the Desert).

I got at least some smiles out of them. They reminisced about the hike we took with their cousins in the Redwoods. Bit different out here, isn’t it?

We reached an intersection that lacked signage, but took the trail that went in the direction I knew we needed to go to connect to the Gould Mine trail. No more than 15 minutes later we found the sign that could take us back around the hill to the parking lot.

kings canyon - gould mine loop hike

The Sonora desert is truly lovely. I’d forgotten how enchanting the U.S. southwest can be.

kings canyon saguaro national park

Even through their complaints, the kids were doing fine. We’d finished up the last of the water, but there was less than half a mile to go.

Our hike lasted maybe an hour and a quarter to complete the 2.1-mile Kings Canyon – Gould Mine loop hike in Saguaro National Park.

Ending an enjoyable desert hike

It was an enjoyable hike for me. It was warm, but certainly not hot. We kept an easygoing pace, and there were no strenuous climbs. You couldn’t ask for a better quick hike.

The kids, on the other hand, were less than thrilled. Even after seeing some cool desert flora and fauna, they wanted to get moving on down the road.

Apparently my daughter’s feet had gotten a little hot during our excursion.

Note: normally I would not have let her do this, but there was hardly another car on the road driving through the park.

Bonus: Valley View Overlook

We drove for another 15 minutes or so from the Kings Canyon trailhead until we hit a dirt road within Saguaro National Park. I had one other point I wanted to explore before hitting the freeway: the View Trail.

view trail saguaro national park

There isn’t much to the view trail. It is maybe a quarter mile, and leads you gently from a small parking lot to a vista of the valley west of Saguaro National Park. Our panorama shot hardly does it justice.

Smiles were back at this point. It was a much easier hike.

And there were a lot more towering cacti.

Due to the ease of the hike and the view, the View Trail is a bit more popular. It certainly wasn’t crowded, but we saw maybe a dozen people during the hike (versus only 1 on the Kings Canyon – Gould Mine loop trail).

Conclusion

Fast pace road trips really don’t let you linger. We enjoyed our brief hikes, first around the Kings Canyon – Gould Mine Loop and then the View Trail in Saguaro National Park. But with the morning spent, it was time to move on. We stopped for a snack in Picture Rocks and then hit the road. Onward to the Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort and time in the pool!

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