Category archive for Trail Write-Ups


Hike Alta Peak and Alta Meadow in Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest comprises an area of about 1,800 acres and features many of the park’s main attractions, including Sherman Tree, Congress Trail, Crescent Meadow, and Moro Rock. Add to this about 3.8 miles of trail leading to Tokopah Falls, and the attractions most visitors to Sequoia National Park see can be contained within about 2,200 or so acres. However, Sequoia…

read » August 8, 2014

Hike Monarch Lake and Sawtooth Pass in Sequoia National Park

If you are looking for creative ways to torture your quads, calves, and hamstrings, have I got the hike for you. Sawtooth Pass (and its eponymous peak) offers the chance to climb nearly straight up a 45 degree slope through scree so loose that it could double as styrofoam packing peanuts – while hiking in full sun with no tree…

read » August 7, 2014

Hike Eagle Lake in Sequoia National Park

One of the great things about Mineral King Valley is that it allows some of the easiest access to Sierran high country on the western end of Sequoia National Park. From the Eagle-Mosquito Trailhead, which is just a hair shy of 8,000’, there is access to three separate glacially carved valleys – Eagle, Mosquito, and White Chief, containing the kinds…

read » August 7, 2014

Hike White Chief Bowl in Sequoia National Park

White Chief Bowl is a large glacial bowl tucked into the back of colorful White Chief Canyon. Here, you will find meadows, streams, a small tarn, and a handful of backcountry campsites. The area has a long history of mining, and large outcrops of beautiful white marble are abundant throughout the hike. In addition to the mining history, the area features…

read » August 7, 2014

Hike the Cold Springs Nature Trail in Sequoia National Park

One of the most beautiful trails in Mineral King is also one of the most unassuming. The Cold Springs Nature Trail travels through lush meadows and stands of aspen and cottonwood near the banks of the East Fork River. Despite being only 1.25 miles from the Cold Springs Campground to the Eagle-Mosquito parking lot, Cold Springs has a lot to…

read » August 6, 2014

Hike Round Meadow and Beetle Rock in Sequoia National Park

The Big Trees Trail, Beetle Rock, Beetle Rock Family Nature Center, and the Giant Forest Museum form a complex offering informative and interpretive hikes, a review of local human and natural history, and a fantastic, kid-friendly spot to enjoy a classic Sierra sunrise. All of these landmarks are found nearly adjacent to one another, and a short hike can tie…

read » August 6, 2014

Hike the Congress Trail in Sequoia National Park

If you were to find yourself in Sequoia National Park, and you only had the time or inclination to take one hike and one hike only, then the Congress Trail would be your hike. This trail, which features the world-famous Sherman Tree and many other astonishing sequoia specimens, offers a gentle, easy-to-follow three mile loop through the heart of the…

read » August 6, 2014

Hike East Fork Grove in Sequoia National Park

If one were only to travel to Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park, one would believe that the sequoia groves of the Sierra Nevada mountains were all large, easily accessible, beautiful preserved, and largely free of man-made tragedies. Sadly, this is not the case, as many of the range’s sequoia groves have encountered long periods of unfettered abuse through logging…

read » August 5, 2014

Hike Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park

Moro Rock is a granite exfoliation dome that protrudes over Kaweah Canyon on the edge of Giant Forest. The exceptionally well-engineered trail is carved into the rock, often meandering through tight spaces over stairs before emerging at the top of the open, viewful summit. From the summit, one can see the hazy San Joaquin Valley, Kaweah Canyon, the Great Western…

read » August 5, 2014

Hike Tokopah Falls in Sequoia National Park

  One of the most popular hikes in Sequoia National Park does not feature any sequoias at all. Instead, it offers a serene stroll up a glacial valley to a 1,200 foot cascading waterfall that fills a large granite amphitheatre with a hearty roar. Along the way are numerous tranquil scenes of the Kaweah River framed by conifers against a…

read » August 5, 2014

Hike the Trail of the Sequoias

Aside from the Big Trees, the most striking features in Giant Forest are the meadows. In various locations, a natural barrier near a relatively flat bit of land causes a stream or several streams to  meander sluggishly, creating a marsh that is too soft and unstable to support tree growth. This creates large, open spaces with to the high concentration…

read » August 4, 2014

Hike East Mesa in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

  Cuyamaca Rancho State Park contains a massive and varied landscape featuring a variety of outdoor experiences. The park includes forested peaks, tranquil lakes, river valleys, rugged chaparral covered slopes, numerous springs, and gentle, rolling mesas studded with pine trees. Of the two “mesas” in the park, East Mesa is the largest and most beautiful. The mesa offers great views of…

read » July 31, 2014

Hike Lake Cuyamaca and the Stonewall Mine

On the north end of sprawling Cuyamaca Rancho State Park lies a lovely man-made lake set next to a shady pine and oak forest. Nearby sits the site of San Diego County’s most productive gold mine. This easy hike with low distance and mild inclines connects the two and features great scenery, history, and proximity to water, making this one…

read » July 30, 2014

Hike Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park

Just a short drive or bus trip away from the crazy-charming city of Taxco lies one of the largest cave systems in the world. It’s protected by the Parque Nacional Grutas de Cacahuamilpa, which is also home to the cave system Grutas de Carlos Pacheo as well as several rock climbing routes and a small native garden, a swimming pool,…

read » July 29, 2014

Hike Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain is the southernmost peak in a small mountain complex that divides the city of Poway from the sprawling semi-rural community of Ramona. The peak itself is one of the most popular hikes in San Diego, and the ease of access and moderate gain present a hike that is both reasonably accessible and reasonably challenging at the same time.…

read » July 28, 2014

Backpacking Yosemite’s Pohono Trail

  Have you ever been asked if you’d rather have the power of flight or the power of invisibility and found it difficult to decide between the two? With Yosemite’s Pohono Trail, you don’t have to choose – you’ll have a bird’s-eye view of the famed Yosemite valley and beyond, along with the kind of solitude that makes you feel…

read » July 24, 2014
Photo by Scott Turner for Modern Hiker

Hike Mount Woodson

Of the four loosely defined geographic regions in San Diego County, the region between I-15 and the Peninsular Ranges probably gets the highest visitation and use. This is due to its accessibility to the heavily populated coast in addition to a wealth of different hiking opportunities. Many of the county’s iconic hikes, such as Iron Mountain, Mission Hills, Daley Ranch,…

read » July 22, 2014

Hike the Agua Tibia Loop in Cleveland National Forest

I don’t often like to get into comparisons between San Diego and our bolder, brassier, and eminently more congested neighbor counties to the North, but the one thing that San Diego County seems to lack in comparison with Los Angeles, San Bernadino, and Riverside Counties are those gut-wrenching, knee-busting, quad-scorching climbs into the higher elevations. It’s true that San Diego…

read » July 21, 2014

Hiking Tepozteco National Park

There aren’t too many places where you can find a trail that will kick your butt with elevation gain, bring you to the ruins of a 500-year-old religious complex, and drop you off right next to a market filled with unbelievably delicious, cheap, hand-made food but the village of Tepoztlán in the state of Morelos is such a place. Easily…

read » July 18, 2014

Hike Bell Canyon in Caspers Wilderness Park

When thinking about SoCal’s five major counties and their respective natural treasures, the one that always seems left out is Orange County. Not only is Orange SoCal’s smallest county, it is also its most thoroughly developed in terms of acreage devoted to man-made features. For anybody who has ever spent a long afternoon on the 405 in Costa Mesa, it might…

read » July 17, 2014