Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

Lake Calavera

Hiking Lake Calavera

Carlsbad’s Lake Calavera Preserve features wetlands, a lake, coastal sage-scrub, and volcanic Mt. Calavera. This oasis tucked into the suburban sprawl of North County offers satisfying diversity for a hike this brief, as well as a few adventurous moments and surprises on the trail. This 3.2 mile lollipop loop visits the most interesting and attractive features of the preserve. The…

read » November 10, 2015
will thrall peak

Hiking Will Thrall Peak via Buckhorn

Will Thrall Peak is one of the most rugged, challenging, and remote peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains. An absolutely epic day hike no matter which way you choose to tackle it, your effort and perseverance will be returned in kind with equal doses of jaw-dropping beauty, peaceful solitude, and a profound connection with the seemingly-untouched wilderness of the high…

read » November 5, 2015
cooper canyon falls

Hiking Cooper Canyon Falls

Cooper Canyon Falls is a beautiful and relatively easily-accessed waterfall in the San Gabriel high country. Just off the Burkhart Trail outside of the deservedly popular Buckhorn Campground, this is wonderful short day hike if you’re camping in the region, a great introduction to the high country, or a quick stop-over on the longer route to Will Thrall Peak (or,…

read » November 5, 2015
Photo by Scott Turner for Modern Hiker

Hiking Canyon Sin Nombre

One of the advantages of being the largest State Park in the California while accounting for half (yes, half) of the California State Park system is that Anza-Borrego contains such a rich variety of geological wonders that you sometimes get the feeling that there is no end to it. In addition to the spring-fed oases at Mountain Palm Springs and…

read » November 2, 2015
Duck Lake

Hike Duck Lake

If you think sparkling aquamarine lakes and shimmering frosted peaks are the stuff of faraway epic adventures, you’ll be surprised at just how quickly you’re immersed in stunning scenery on this spectacular hike just a short drive from the bustling ski town of Mammoth Lakes, California. Your journey begins at the Duck Pass trailhead (elevation 9,128’), where you’ll find ample parking,…

read » October 28, 2015

Backpack Indian Heaven Wilderness via Thomas Lake

While the pacific northwest is generally known and beloved for its epic vistas and high peaks, it is also home to countless wilderness areas offering unique environments, from newly formed volcanic zones to small and quiet meadows full of wildflowers. Indian Heaven Wilderness, located two hours from Portland within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest of southern Washington is one such…

read » October 26, 2015
Tuttle Creek Ashram

Hike To The Tuttle Creek Ashram

Mountains have long served as spiritual destinations for those seeking enlightenment. The pursuit of peace, solitude, and even the feeling of being elevated closer to the heavens draws people to heights near and far, from the Buddhist monasteries perched on China’s loftiest peaks to the myriad temples strung across the Himalaya. For those lacking in frequent flier miles, but seeking…

read » October 21, 2015
la tuna canyon

Hiking La Tuna Canyon

If you’re looking for a trail with a bit of that “off the beaten path” feel but still wouldn’t mind keeping an eye on civilization from its vista points, the La Tuna Canyon Trail is a good bet. This meandering 4.3 mile trail provides some decent elevation gain in sections and a surprising variety of scenery — from deep, shaded…

read » October 9, 2015
Long Lake outlet

Hike South Lake to Long Lake

Craving postcard-worthy Sierra views, but don’t have the time (or perhaps, the inclination) to haul a backpack deep into the wilds? Then you’ll likely enjoy this short, but insanely sweet jaunt to Long Lake via the Bishop Pass Trail out of South Lake, where you’ll find yourself almost immediately surrounded by massive granite peaks and shimmering alpine waters. While this…

read » October 8, 2015

Hike Viejas Mountain

Viejas Mountain is a monster. It’s not a monster like El Cajon Mountain, which requires you to climb up and down and then back up and down again some more before it grudgingly gives up its stunning summit views. And, it’s not a monster like the Agua Tibia Loop, which assaults your poor knees and feet with endless miles before revealing its own…

read » September 17, 2015
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