Doug Noll Banner Central Sierra Nevada California

Locals Know Best Podcast Ep. 017: Central Sierra Nevada, California

Last updated on April 23rd, 2024 at 01:36 pm

Cindy Scott

Introduction to Episode 017: Central Sierra Nevada, California, You Don’t Come up Here for Fancy

Welcome to the seventeenth episode of Locals Know Best! I’m your host, Cindy. I’m a full-time RVer and lover of all things travel-related. Years of adventuring on the road have taught me one fundamental lesson; locals ALWAYS know best! Every episode of this podcast will dive into one local’s perfect day of outdoor adventure in their town!

Today, I’ll be speaking with Doug Noll about all of his favorite outdoor activities and places in Central Sierra Nevada, California.

Join Doug and me as we adventure through each of the four seasons in the Central Sierra Nevada area of California and explore all of the best local spots for skiing, whitewater rafting, biking, hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking, sailing, boating, and water skiing.

About Doug Noll

Learn more about Doug at

Doug is a lawyer turned peacemaker, author, trainer, and mentor. He has created online courses in emotional competency, de-escalation, leadership, and decision-making that help people resolve deep and intractable ideological conflicts.

He’s also an all-around adventurer! A fully certified ski instructor, former whitewater guide, airplane pilot, helicopter pilot, mountain biker, 2nd-degree black belt, sailor, you get the picture…. if it’s adventurous, he’s probably tried it!

Listen to the Episode

Click here to listen to this episode of Locals Know Best!


What We Cover in this Episode

  • What causes the Central Sierra Nevada area to remain undeveloped.
  • Why visitors from Los Angeles and San Francisco should consider the area if they’re tired of the Tahoe and Mammoth crowds.
  • The best time of year to visit the Central Sierra Nevada.
  • The best outdoor activities to be enjoyed in the area during each season.
  • The best local spots for skiing, rafting, biking, hiking, sailing, boating, and water skiing.
  • What makes China Peak Mountain Resort a great place to ski.
  • The best camping areas throughout the Central Sierra Nevada area.
  • A unique inn you have to walk 5 miles into the middle of the wilderness to find.
  • The best locations to rent cabins throughout the Central Sierra Nevada area.
  • What makes checking out “typical cowboy bars in typical small mountain towns” so much fun.
  • The best restaurant to get dinner in the Central Sierra Nevada area.
  • A beautiful Instagram spot that came out of an awful natural disaster in the Central Sierra Nevada area.
  • A few overrated places in Central Sierra Nevada and where you should go instead to get an even better experience.
  • A lake area that you’d never expect attracts Hollywood celebrity visitors.
  • A local’s recommended path to take from Yosemite National Park to Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Parks, that stays within the mountains.

Doug’s Central Sierra Nevada, California Travel Itinerary Map

Links to Places Mentioned in this Episode

Where the locals stay in Central Sierra Nevada:

  • Forest Service Campgrounds
    • Kaiser Pass
    • Lake Thomas A Edison
    • Florence Lake Campground
  • Muir Trail Ranch (called the “John Muir Inn” on the podcast)
  • Cabins at Shaver Lake, Florence Lake, Edison, and Vermillion Valley
  • Condos in Lakeshore on Airbnb
  • Foothills area on Airbnb
  • Tenaya Lodge

Outdoor Central Sierra Nevada Locations & Activities Mentioned in this Episode:

Central Sierra Nevada Restaurants Mentioned in this Episode:


What’s interesting is the people over on the coast, you know, the Bay area or down in Southern California, San Diego, they sort of look at this region, as there, there be dragons. Nobody ever comes up here because they don’t think about the fact that the vast majority of the state is open space. The crowds are on the coast. When you get inland, it’s not crowded, and we have this natural beauty all around us.

Doug Noll

If you’re really looking for a different experience, where there’s not a lot of crowds, and you’re looking for real beauty, this is the place to come. It’s out of the way, it’s a bit of a drive for people. But it’s worth it.

Doug Noll

You could spend a whole summer just in this region, not go more than a hundred miles, and just see some amazing places.

Doug Noll

If you’re an outdoorsman or an outdoorswoman, and you really like doing active stuff, skiing, biking, sailing, whitewater, paddleboarding, kayaking, boating, water skiing, you’re crazy, it’s crazy not to come here because it’s so beautiful. It’s so accessible. And … the nice thing is that it’s not glitzy and it’s not expensive.

Doug Noll

Thanks for Listening!

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