Road trips from SoCal: Sierra Nevada
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( Dan Blackburn / For The Times )
Hetch Hetchy Valley
Distance: 346 miles one-way
If Southern Californians know anything about Hetch Hetchy, it's probably that the reservoir there provides drinking water to San Francisco and that the damming of the Tuolumne River stirred controversy that continues to this day. The O'Shaughnessy Dam took 20 years to build and was completed in 1934, creating a lake eight miles long and more than 300 feet deep. The dam and reservoir sit just inside the Yosemite National Park boundary. The rest of the Hetch Hetchy area is contained within the Stanislaus National Forest.
For would-be visitors, however, the most impressive statistic is the comparison between the number of people who visit Yosemite Valley and those who visit Hetch Hetchy. Yosemite: 3 million a year, most in the summer. Hetch Hetchy: 50,600 a year. Most come from the Bay Area. In fact, Hetch Hetchy may be San Francisco's best-kept secret.
-- Dan Blackburn
Read more: Hetch Hetchy Valley's hush