heat: wave

escape, to a higher altitude

Total Escape is California, off the beaten path

Summertime and the real heat has arrived. Rivers are flowing fast, so wear a life vest. Sierra Nevada destinations are now accessible, but expect mucho mud and snow on trails. Many roads are closed; check w/ local rangers for road status. Swimming holes, waterfalls, wildflowers! We have it right here for you, the local Californian. Bookmark this site for monthly updates and check out the Map Shop.

California camping (on the back roads), we specialize in it. Best dirt road destinations, real seclusion. Climb high Sierra peaks, hike meadows, forests, find the best view campsites, historic inns, museums and all the local hot springs. Thanks for discovering Total Escape!

Mount Pinos


We are rolling out some new headers and pages this month, so watch for changes - and better navigation, deeper into the site. DanaMite is still redesigning this site, to blend with the map shop and the outside blog. The old site is still quite popular - CLASSIC desktop site; still active and operational. Your patience is appreciated during this time of reconstruction.

all local: california road trips

ancient: 22 years online!

We're still here, thousands of pages and decades later. Way outside the city limits, beyond the county line. No wifi, no smart meters, no gaming addictions, no traffic lights, no city noise. Rural living in California still exist. Hike on the weekends, bike to work, boating mid-week, we have you covered for destinations. Find a new creekside camp spot, a waterfall, trailhead or an ancient lava cave. Total Escape - Two whole decades online. Not quite obsolete.

Craving the Wild? Minimal or no cell signal in the California mountain regions was common through the 1990's. No digital mobile cell network. Before the tweets, the constant memes and paralysis of our current, modern techno-crazed culture, DanaMite started this travel web site way back in 1996. Catchy phrases like, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) did not yet exist.

Total Escape features abundant real photos of real places. Secluded destinations, camping and lodging, examining the best back roads, side routes, the topo maps (to get you out there). Locals-only travel tips, gear reviews, festivals and events.

Juicy content specific only to California. Focusing on outdoor destinations, small towns and budget-minded travel since 1996, we've recreated the weekend getaway - without the crowds. Escape the matrix, the city life, the traffic jams and learn how to avoid the tourist traps. Drive on past the factory outlet malls and the water slides, we've got much more to show you. Way out there, on the back roads, and in the backcountry.

Wilderness in California - more nature, less people.

Online 22 years!

Site Founder

camp diva DanaMite

Who is DanaMite?

archives, online history

Local Road Trips

guided camping tours

Guided Trips
California A-Z

small towns, rural calif

Small Towns

Explore the Site

California Hotels

historic inns, lodges, indie motels

California Camping

outdoor activities, leisure, tours

California Scenic Drives

travel tips, scenic drives, weather links

Rural California

back roads, small towns, wilderness

California Gear
Gear Shop

outdoor equipment, survival gear

Outdoor Maps California
Map Store

topographic maps

Social Media Pages
Social Links

find us on social media

California Wilderness

blog articles, added monthly

Reign Sports Bottle 320x480

city deserts mountains city country National Parks National Forests California State Parks camp hiking back roads stargazing California Lakes boat rentals snow areas horseback rides RV motorhomes ski resorts bike rentals California Camping