Looking for a nearby Labor Day getaway?

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Looking for a nearby Labor Day getaway?While COVID-related travel restrictions may put a damper on your plans to escape this Labor Day Weekend, there are plenty of places to explore that are close enough for a day trip. And many of these still offer relative respite from our scorching temperatures (check out the forecast for Labor Day weekend on Page One!)

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Whitney Portal

Some 90 miles to the north, this gateway to the highest point of elevation in the continental United States offers shade, waterfalls and clearly marked trails. The altitude is just high enough to take the edge off our summer heat without interfering too badly with the hikability for us valley-dwelling folk.

Make sure you check the smoke map (airnow.gov) to determine the air quality, which has been compromised of late by the fires burning in the Sequoia National Forest.

And watch out for the bonus sights along the scenic Highway 395 North — from metal art to the Keeler ghost town to the Lubkin Road vista to the Alabama Hills.

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Darwin Falls

This hidden Riparian Forest, located about 70 miles away off Highway 190, offers a breathtaking waterfall at the end of a 1.9-mile trail.

The flora and fauna of this refreshing hike will make you feel transported from our desert biome.

If you continue traveling west on the 190, you can turn off for a visit to the historic town of the same name. Once a booming center of the vibrant mining sector in the region, the population has dropped to double digits in recent decades. But there are still plenty of unique sights to take in!

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Red Rock Canyon

The exposed canyons don’t offer much in the way of respite from our pounding desert sun, but the majestic sandstone cliffs will take your breath away if you can appropriately arm yourself with water and wide-brimmed hats to accommodate the experience.

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Lone Ridge Trail

If you just can’t make it out of the valley, find one of the many trails in the Rademacher system, located in the southern hills.

One of the many scalable hikes begins at Lone Ridge Trail Head, located at the South end of Downs Street. A moderately strenuous 1-mile hike to the top of Lone Ridge offers a lofty perspective of our humble Indian Wells Valley. From there, you can trace the ridge southward and choose from numerous honeycombing dirt trails to take you back to the head.

What is your favorite day trip? Write to us at info@news-ridgecrest.com to tell us all about it!

Pictured: Dual streams from Darwin Falls feeding the pool below.

Story First Published: 2020-09-04