Category archive for Trail Write-Ups


Hiking Oakzanita Peak

The curious moniker granted to this peak comes from a portmanteau combining the words “Oaks” and “Manzanita.” These two plant species grow in abundance on various parts of the peak, particularly on the north facing slopes. Although the 2003 Cedar Fire incinerated most of the vegetation, both the oaks (black, live, and scrub) and the manzanita have made a respectable…

read » October 25, 2016
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Hiking to Goat Canyon Trestle via Mortero Palms

Hikers, history buffs, and desert enthusiasts across San Diego County and SoCal revere a historic engineering curiosity that stands in splendid remoteness in a rugged corner of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The crown jewel of the Impossible Railroad, the Goat Canyon Trestle, spans a deep, rugged tributary canyon draining into the Carrizo Gorge north of the town of Jacumba. For…

read » October 20, 2016

Hiking Lower Willows

Suppose I suggested that you might benefit from wearing waterproof boots to avoid your feet becoming caked with mud at several creek crossings. Let’s also suppose that I suggest a high clearance vehicle because you may be required to drive across at least two, possibly three creek crossings with varying water levels. Your assumptions that I’m talking about a hiking…

read » October 13, 2016
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Visiting Wupatki National Monument

A trip through a beautiful, fascinating, and often-bypassed National Monument northeast of Flagstaff that preserves the ruins of an extensive Sinagua settlement at a major trading crossroads Most people driving north on US-89 from Flagstaff are headed to that most marquee of marquee National Parks – the Grand Canyon. But with a short detour off the main road, inquisitive explorers can…

read » October 10, 2016
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Hiking the Lenox Crater Trail

Ever wanted to see what happens when a new volcano erupts next to an older one? At Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Lenox Crater is a quick roadside climb to the ash-filled Lenox Crater, providing an up-close and personal experience with volcanic rock and some excellent views of the nearby San Francisco Peaks and Bonito Lava Flow. Sunset Crater Volcano…

read » October 7, 2016
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Hiking the Lava Flow Trail

Hike through the jagged landscape of a 900+ year old lava flow in the shadow of Sunset Crater Volcano. Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument sits atop the San Francisco volcanic field – a hot spot in the earth’s mantle that is prone to increased volcanic activity. Basically, a location like this is a weakened area that allows a magma flow…

read » October 6, 2016
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Hiking Walnut Canyon National Monument

Home to an extensive and well-preserved series of cliff dwellings, Walnut Canyon National Monument is an accessible and fascinating stop for travelers in the Flagstaff region. The Sinagua people arrived in the region around Flagstaff sometime around the year 600 CE, but they didn’t move into Walnut Canyon until 1100, after Sunset Crater was created after a series of nearby volcanic…

read » October 6, 2016
butler wash ruins

Hike Butler Wash Ruins

If you’re doing any amount of traveling in the Colorado Plateau, you’re going to be near some Native American ruins and rock art. The area was home to the Ancestral Puebloans – sometimes still referred to as the Anasazi even though that’s a Navajo word for “ancestors of our enemies” and has fallen out of favor in recent years. Loosely…

read » October 3, 2016

Hiking Boynton Canyon

The red rock box canyon of Boynton is considered one of the most scenic in Sedona … which, if you’ve spent some time gawking at the rocks in Sedona, you know is really saying something. For visitors to the Arizona town, Boynton is a great choice because it doesn’t require any backcountry driving to reach — but for locals it…

read » September 23, 2016

Hiking Long Canyon

A beautiful trek into red rock canyon country that keeps a slow but steady climb, Long Canyon is a great mid-length day hike near Sedona. You’ll pass some surprising riparian vegetation and head into ponderosa pine country. The keen-eyed may spot Sinaguan ruins and petroglyphs, while the vibrationally-tuned may tap into the storied Long Canyon Vortex. The trail to Long…

read » September 21, 2016
Big Baldy Ridge

Hiking Big Baldy Ridge

This prominent north-south trending ridge divides the Redwood Canyon and the Stony Creek Canyon along the boundary of Kings Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Forest. The ridge gets its name from the large, barren exfoliation dome at the southernmost point of the ridge. From the summit of Big Baldy, you’ll gain a spectacular view across two major watersheds, several western…

read » September 21, 2016
Lost Lake

Hike the Lost Lake Trail

The Lost Lake Trail is a classic hike in Colorado. It’s also one of those “all around” hikes, not too long, not too difficult, and the scenery is the iconic stuff Colorado is made of. This makes it a very popular hike in the warmer months, but it is also a great trail for snowshoeing in the winter. It’s not hard…

read » September 20, 2016
Pipiwai Trail

Hiking the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls

The Road to Hana is one of those quintessential Maui activities that, along with whale watching or watching the sunrise from Haleakala, every visitor feels obliged to do. This 64.4 mile drive along Maui’s northeast shore winds in and out of countless gullies, passing waterfalls and ocean vistas. For most people, the drive is the highlight itself, since the town of…

read » September 20, 2016
Cahuilla Mountain

Hiking Cahuilla Mountain

Standing aloof from the forested ridges and mountaintops bounding Anza Valley, the rugged, wooded heights of Cahuilla Mountain offer superb views, backcountry camping, meadows, wildflowers, and an unexpected forest of pines and black oaks. The peak lies within the Cahuilla Mountain Wilderness overseen by San Bernadino National Forest. Three to fours times a year, I head out to the Idyllwild area…

read » September 19, 2016
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Hike the Long Logs Trail to the Agate House

Walk through one of the largest concentrations of petrified wood in the park to the base of a 700-year old 8-room home constructed with the ancient logs. The Long Logs trail takes you along an ancient logjam, where years of floods and mudslides buried a pile of conifer trees, which eventually became one of the areas inside Petrified Forest National…

read » September 15, 2016
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Hike the Giant Logs Trail

An easy, paved walk behind the Rainbow Forest Museum that introduces visitors to an excellent grouping of petrified trees, including some of the largest and most colorful in the National Park. A log known as “Old Faithful” measures almost ten feet wide at its base! For first-time visitors to Petrified Forest National Park coming in from the south entrance, the…

read » September 15, 2016
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Hike the Crystal Forest

Crystal Forest is home to a moderately easy hiking loop through a dense collection of petrified wood, offering both expansive vistas of Petrified Forest National Park and some up-close experiences with the ancient trees turned modern day stones. If you’re headed to Petrified Forest National Park, odds are you’re eventually going to want to see some petrified wood, right? There…

read » September 14, 2016
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Hike Puerco Pueblo

Hike an easy, paved path at the largest archeological site in Petrified Forest National Park to take a step back in time to a pueblo containing around 100 rooms and a large plaza. A beautiful place to enjoy the history of the Southwest, this region is also full of petroglyphs — including one that puts on a special show on…

read » September 14, 2016
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Hike the Blue Mesa

This relatively easy, paved path into the heart of the otherworldly Blue Mesa member of the Chinle rock formation. Walk through and around badlands that look like strange melted ice cream, and spot chunks of petrified wood all along the ground. If you spend any time in the Colorado Plateau, you’re going to eventually become familiar with the Chinle Formation.…

read » September 13, 2016
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Hiking the El Prado Loop in Balboa Park

From 1915-1916, the city of San Diego held an exposition on the site of what was then known as City Park to commemorate the opening of the Panama Canal. In honor of the occasion, exposition planners re-christened the park after Vasco Nuñez de Balboa, the Spaniard who first sighted the Pacific Ocean during Spain’s exploration of Panama. Many of the buildings…

read » September 12, 2016