Among the jaw-dropping vistas, snowcapped volcanoes, and towering waterfalls, find your awe in the land of superlatives. This big-thrills driving circuit starts 200 miles from Los Angeles in Sequoia National Park and cruises through California’s greatest hits—Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, Mount Lassen, Mount Shasta, and the Redwood Coast.  

Stop one: Giant Forest

Be awed and humbled by giant sequoias, the world’s biggest trees. At Sequoia National Park, walk among the titans on the Congress Trail, then pay homage to the General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, with a 102-foot circumference. Distance to next stop: 180 miles

Stop two: Glacier Point

Known as “the grandest view in the West,” this drive-up vista point takes in all of Yosemite National Park's major granite landmarks, including Half Dome’s iconic profile and shimmering Vernal and Nevada falls. Sunsets are unforgettable. Next stop: 30 miles

Stop three: Yosemite Falls

Drive into Yosemite Valley in spring and you’ll see a bounty of waterfalls, but the undisputed king is 2,425-foot Yosemite Falls, North America’s highest freefalling cataract. Take on the challenging trek to its tippy top, or walk an easy one-mile loop to its base. Next stop: 75 miles

 

Stop four: Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve

Just east of U.S. 395 near Lee Vining, an ancient saline lake looms so large in your windshield that it seems like an inland ocean. Get a closer look with a shoreline walk or bird-watching stop at Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. Next stop: 120 miles

 

Stop five: Lake Tahoe

Tahoe’s got bragging rights—it’s one of the world’s largest alpine lakes and America’s second deepest (1,645 feet at its lowest depth). On its west shore (Highway 89), stop at Inspiration Point for a world-class view of Emerald Bay and Tahoe’s only island, Fannette. Next stop: 215 miles

 

Stop six: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Peak last erupted in 1915, but volcanic drama happens daily. Snap sizzling images of Bumpass Hell’s hydrothermal marvels—16 acres of boiling springs, hissing steam vents, and bubbling mud pots. Next stop: 120 miles

 

Stop seven: Mount Shasta

The hulking grande dame of Northern California peaks, this 14,179-foot volcanic cone dominates, its massive girth even more daunting than its height. Take the 14-mile Everitt Memorial Scenic Drive from Mt. Shasta City for photo ops and hiking trails around Siskiyou County. Next stop: 228 miles

Stop eight: Founders Grove

In Humboldt Redwoods State Park, leave U.S. 101 and drive through ancient old-growth forest on the Avenue of the Giants, where 300-foot-plus redwood trees blot out the sky. Break up the drive with a half-mile walk through Founders Grove.