In Southern California, hidden in Sequoia National Park is the Mineral King Valley. It is by far the most beautiful place I have ever been to, and it holds a very special place in my heart.

There is a secret hiking spot that my family and I go to every summer since I was born. We like to think of it as our secret spot, but I am finally ready to share our secret with the world.

After you drive past the city of Visalia, up a mountain on a curvy, unpaved, narrow road with numerous hairpin turns, you reach Silver City Resort. The drive is worth it, because this you will escape to this remote, rustic resort embedded in the woods. Choose to stay in one of five grand chalets or seven smaller, more intimate cabins. Be warned: there is electricity during the day in the chalets, which also have indoor plumbing. For the smaller cabins, there are men’s and women’s community bathrooms just a short walk down the hill. At night, you must rely on lanterns, flashlights and kerosene lamps for light, but you can see every single star in the sky.

About fifteen minutes up the curvy road, past Silver City is where the hiking trails begin. These trails lead to different lakes, meadows, valleys, and waterfalls. Our first day there we usually head for Franklin Pass, but stop at the beautiful waterfall about a mile into the hike.

One of my favorite destinations is White Chief Canyon. After a 2.9 mile hike, there is a huge meadow where you can observe different wildlife and about a mile farther down the trail are eerie, deserted coal-miner caves that you can explore.

I also recommend Lower Monarch Lake. After a 4.2 mile hike in the woods, past shale rocks that make it seem like you’re walking into Mordor, and through a grassland is the lake where hikers strip down to their skivvies and take the plunge into the icy waters. It’s the perfect end to a long hike.

To find more information about reserving a cabin at Silver City Resort, click here! You will fall in love with Mineral King, I guarantee.

Perhaps you’re interested in hiking internationally, say, New Zealand? Maybe Tuscany? How about Costa Rica? Backroads, the world’s #1 active travel company, gives great deals for solo hikers. Their new and improved singles program includes single room specials, interactive scheduling and even a Facebook group. Backroads prides themselves in having the most experienced and passionate travel guides, who will help you every step of the way, or let you go off and do your own thing.

The Ireland trip sounds perfect. There is something about this charming place that captivates travelers in it’s culture, landscape and people. This specific hike lasts six days and 5 nights, and on the last day, you’ll be rewarded with a private whiskey tasting with an expert!

For more info about the walking & hiking trips Backroads have to offer, click here!