Main Content

Home » Guides » Recreation


Southern Sierra is a top recreation destination in the United States, especially for those who love the great outdoors and the unspoiled mountain lifestyle. There’s a wide range of activities waiting for you in these majestic mountains, and plenty of culture and history to explore.

Whether you’re a serious outdoor enthusiast or a weekend warrior looking for a brief respite from the city, you can rarely find a better place to unwind than Southern Sierra. It’s the perfect reason to own property here, whether as your permanent residence or an exciting getaway home.

The communities close to the Sequoia National Forest, including Springville, Porterville, Camp Nelson, Ponderosa, and more, offer the perfect base for your Southern Sierra adventures. Here are just a few of the places and activities waiting for you in this region.

Wildlife and Bird Watching

Southern Sierra’s forests teem with all kinds of birds and wildlife, some of which are rarely seen elsewhere. These include mule deer, yellow-bellied marmots, blue grouse, mountain quail, woodpeckers, chickadees and more.

Squirrels, porcupines, coyotes, and other forest inhabitants also call the mountains home – along with awe-imposing black bears. And, of course, the area is the best place to see age-old sequoia trees and hundreds of plant varieties that grow freely in the wild.

There are plenty of campsites in the area, including the well-loved Belknap Campground. Nestled within a sequoia grove at the Giant Sequoia National Monument, this campground offers access to trails and waterfalls, as well as to the Tule River and Belknap Creek, both of which run through the campground.

Hiking, Biking and Riding

There are miles and miles of trails in Southern Sierra where you can go hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Some trails are also accessible by wheelchair. Each one features different difficulty levels, spectacular views and great opportunities for bird and wildlife watching. Some of the most popular trails include:

  • The Trail of 100 Giants
  • The Needles Lookout Trail
  • The Jordan Peak Lookout
  • Camp Nelson Trail
  • Bear Creek Trail

Festivals and Events

Southern Sierra communities celebrate the area’s adventurous lifestyle in regular festivals and events. Local arts and crafts, the area’s history, and homegrown talents are showcased in these events. Not to be missed are:

  • Springville Sierra Rodeo
  • Camp Nelson Mountain Festival
  • Porterville’s Iris Festival
  • The Springville Apple Festival


The Golden Trout Wilderness, a federally designated wilderness area partly managed by the Sequoia National Forest, offers anglers the rare chance to catch golden trout, California’s state freshwater fish.

Other topnotch fishing spots in the region include:

  • Tule River
  • Balch Park Campground
  • Quaking Aspen Campground
  • Success Lake


Food and Drinks

Southern Sierra’s fresh mountain air is perfect for downing sumptuous barbeques and the freshest salads, along with a glass (or more) of spirits to match the area’s adventurous flavor.

Some of the best dining spots and watering holes in the area include:

  • Frank’s at the Springville Inn
    35624 CA-190
  • Nelson’s Tavern
    1700 Nelson Drive
    Camp Nelson
  • The Brewer Family’s Ponderosa Lounge
    56692 Aspen Drive

Is it time to own a home in Southern Sierra? We can help you find the perfect property. Get in touch with us here or give us a call at 559.542.1500.