Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

Photo by Jenna Blough for Modern Hiker

Hiking Hungry Bill’s Ranch

Hungry Bill’s Ranch is located in Johnson Canyon, one of the most well-watered canyons in Death Valley. Its lush springs and perennial stream snake through soaring canyon walls leaving behind the rocky alluvial fan that spills from the canyon mouth down to Death Valley’s salty floor. A rocky 4WD road crawls up to the canyon mouth and trailhead and makes…

read » September 11, 2015
marker hill

Hike Marker Hill at Devil’s Thumb Ranch

The Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort and Spa is a beautiful property at the base of the Rocky Mountains, just outside the boundaries of the Arapaho National Forest and the Continental Divide. Formerly a ranch homestead and dairy, Devil’s Thumb Ranch quickly found a second life as a vacation getaway. In 1946 it operated both as a dude ranch and a…

read » September 8, 2015

Backpack Point Reyes National Seashore

Located approximately 30 miles north of San Francisco, Point Reyes National Seashore is a staple for any outdoor enthusiast, both to bay area locals and visitors alike. Despite its relatively close proximity to a major city and its location within Marin County, Point Reyes immediately feels like a different world. Tucked away on the beautiful California coast among breathtaking foggy…

read » September 3, 2015

Hiking Goat Lake

Few hikes give you this much bang for your buck. Even though the 10-mile roundtrip trek might seem daunting to less experienced hikers, the elevation gain of a mere 1300 feet is minimal. While most lakes nestled in the Northern Cascades make you work for a refreshing dip by forcing you to climb an exhausting amount in a shorter distance, the beauty of Goat Lake…

read » September 2, 2015
Photo by Jared Edmunds for Modern Hiker

Hike Dog Mountain

Dog Mountain is a well-trod 6-miler that will allow you to choose between two difficulties, hard and harder. Thankfully, it’s a lot more accessible than it sounds, and will give you that sense of accomplishment afterward. Plus, you’ll also get the chance to hike through a cloud-infused fog or soak in expansive views of the Columbia River Gorge dependent on…

read » August 31, 2015
Photo by Shawnte Salabert for Modern Hiker

Hike Thousand Island Lake

The Sierra Nevada hosts some of California’s most jaw-dropping scenery and as you can imagine, its Ansel Adams Wilderness is no slouch in the good looks department. In an area absolutely crawling with gargantuan snow-draped peaks and stunning sunlit watering holes, where iconic views and epic vistas are a dime a dozen, perhaps none are as universally revered as sparkling…

read » August 27, 2015
green mountain meadow

Hiking Green Mountain Trail to Big Meadows

For an easier trail introduction at Rocky Mountain National Park, the Green Mountain Trail to Big Meadows has a lot to love. It’s accessible from the usually less-crowded western entrance, has some truly beautiful scenery, can be a nice jumping-off-point for larger adventures, and doesn’t have a ton of elevation gain … which is nice when you’re still acclimating to…

read » August 26, 2015
Black Mountain summit through morning mist

Hiking Black Mountain

Mountaintops are pretty hard to come by on the heavily-developed strip of land between the Pacific Ocean and Highway 15 in San Diego County. Most of the non-developed topography is dominated by a series of shallow canyons, coastal bluffs, and tidal lagoons. The few hills through this region, such as Mt. Soledad or the bluffs at Torrey Pines, provide nice…

read » August 26, 2015
swiss cheese basalt

Hiking Fossil Falls

Fossil Falls is a great opportunity to get out of the car and stretch your legs when driving up Highway 395. This easy trail winds through rough basalt rock for 0.25 miles, eventually ending at the site of an old waterfall. The bedrock of this dry fall has been carved into a swiss cheese pattern by the old river. Look…

read » August 25, 2015
rattlesnake ledge main pic

Hiking Rattlesnake Ledge

When the weekend hits, the last thing on most people’s minds is getting up before the sun. Trading in the comforts of bed for a cold, muddy trek up the side of a mountain is something that has to be experienced in order to be understood. There’s just something so surreal about hiking in the early morning hours, when the…

read » August 24, 2015
View from the top of Horsetooth Rock

Hike Horsetooth Rock

With so many day hikes to choose from near Denver, it can be pretty overwhelming to pick just one. Although there are endless networks of hikes west of the Mile High City, the north also has a lot to offer. Venture up Route 25 for about an hour and you’ll be in Fort Collins. The northern area of the Colorado…

read » August 20, 2015

Hiking Quail Spring Basin

A network of old mining roads in the Providence Mountains, closed to vehicles and being reclaimed by nature, wanders through this scenic corner of desert. On the furthest eastern end of the road network (still open to high clearance vehicles), you can find the Hidden Hill Mine’s windmill, headframe, and cabin remains. They are quietly wearing away in their sunny…

read » August 19, 2015
Photo by Lindsey Sommer Benjamin for Modern Hiker

Hike the Ecological Staircase Trail

Located within Jug Handle State Natural Reserve, the Ecological Staircase Trail is a favorite of area locals who enjoy the rich and varied ecological treasures found here. While Jug Handle, (and the Mendocino coast) is likely a lesser known area among non-bay area dwellers, it has long been a weekend destination for those willing to make the 3.5 hour drive…

read » August 18, 2015
upper sycamore canyon

Upper Big Sycamore Canyon

On May 2, 2013, the Springs Fire erupted near the 101 and made its way through the hills near Thousand Oaks and into Point Mugu State Park and Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa. By the time the fire was extinguished, it had burned 24,238 acres of land and 12% of the total land of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation…

read » July 23, 2015
Jordan Hot Springs

Jordan Hot Springs

Jordan Hot Springs is one of my favorite spots in the Golden Trout Wilderness (part of Inyo National Forest). This route provides a relaxed hiking experience as it drops almost 3000 feet in 5.75 miles to the hot spring and a moderate challenge as you gain that elevation on the way back. This is by no means a secret spot,…

read » July 8, 2015
nicholas flat

Nicholas Flat

Hiking to Nicholas Flat from Leo Carrillo State Park is perhaps one of the most rewarding hiking experiences you can have in Southern California. The trail itself is beautiful but challenging, rising through four different plant communities as it climbs almost 1700 feet from the Pacific Coast to the Flat, which has the feel of a tucked-away, hidden paradise far…

read » July 7, 2015
wildwood park paraidse falls

Wildwood Regional Park

Wildwood Regional Park in Thousand Oaks packs a shockingly diverse landscape into its 1,765 acres. There are sweeping grasslands, prominent ridges and peaks like Lizard Rock, the beautiful year-round Paradise Falls and its oak and sycamore-lined riparian canyon, and even some unusual eroded rock formations like Indian Cave. The park is home to seven different plant communities and more than…

read » July 2, 2015
mount bell teahouse

Hike Taco Peak

This remote and rarely visited peak in the middle of Griffith Park got a huge boost in visibility in mid 2015, when a group of artists sent a collection of journalists a mysterious note telling them to meet at sunrise on June 30th, 2015. Those who followed the instructions were greeted with a pop-up teahouse on the north slope of…

read » July 1, 2015

Simi Peak and China Flat

Much like the Puente Hills, the Simi Hills are often overlooked by hikers drawn to the wider swaths of wilderness present in the nearby mountain ranges. For the Simi Hills, the neighboring Santa Monica and Santa Susana Mountains cast a sizable shadow on this smaller range hemmed in by suburbia, but the region has some excellent trails to hike. Case in…

read » June 26, 2015
rocky oaks

Hike Rocky Oaks Park

Rocky Oaks Park is a small but beautiful slice of protected land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Managed by the National Park Service, this former ranch land holds a shaded picnic area covered by beautiful live oaks, a man-made seasonal pond that (when it has water in it) serves as a rest stop for migratory birds, and…

read » June 22, 2015