Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

big pine creek

Hiking the North Fork of Big Pine Creek

If you want to glimpse fall color, but you are also looking for an epic adventure up glacially carved canyons, past cascading waterfalls, through dense thickets of aspen and pine, and into an alpine lake basin full of shimmering, aquamarine lakes fed directly by one of the largest glaciers in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, then the North Fork of Big…

read » October 7, 2014
McGee-Creek-Canyon

Hike McGee Creek Canyon

The Eastern Sierra is a supremely photogenic region of California no matter what time of year, but in early fall when the aspen change color it can be especially tough to beat. McGee Creek – between Mammoth Lakes and Bishop just to the southwest of Lake Crowley – is an absolute must-hike at peak color. It’s difficulty is very manageable…

read » October 7, 2014
sherwin-lakes

Hiking Sherwin Lakes

The Sherwin Lakes are a pair of subalpine lakes on the southern rim of the Long Valley Caldera, in which sits the town of Mammoth Lakes. These two small lakes also host several groves of aspens, which put on a vivid show of fall color from the middle of September to the middle of October. This moderate hike travels through…

read » October 6, 2014
griffith_observatory_firebreak

Hike the Firebreak Trail to Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is one of the most popular attractions in Griffith Park and there is no shortage of ways to get to it. You can drive right up to it and brave the madhouse of free parking, take the Observatory Shuttle on the weekends, or travel on foot via a variety of trails or fire roads. There’s an approach for…

read » October 1, 2014
observatory_east

Hike the East Griffith Observatory Trail

There are probably dozens of ways to get to the excellent Griffith Park Observatory – one of the most popular attractions in Griffith Park. This route details just one of the well-traveled fire road routes that will take you to its beautifully restored doors. If you’re approaching the Observatory from below, there are two main trails most people take. Very…

read » October 1, 2014
griffith_observatory_west

Hike the West Griffith Observatory Trail

One of the most popular trails to one of the most popular attractions in Griffith Park, the West Observatory Trail shouldn’t be overlooked just because you’re not likely to find solitude on it – it’s a great way to get to some beautiful viewpoints and an excellent route for getting a little outdoor time – either as a quick jaunt…

read » October 1, 2014
Piedras Pintadas

Piedras Pintadas and Bernardo Bay

The Piedras Pintadas and Bernardo Bay Trails combine together to form an oddly shaped but nevertheless enjoyable loop hike along the shores of Lake Hodges. Both trails have separate and distinctive characters, with Bernardo Bay featuring up-close views of the lake along with the large variety and volume of waterfowl, in addition to nice views of nearby Bernardo Mountain. Piedras…

read » September 30, 2014
double peak

Double Peak

Double Peak is an easily accessed, moderate peak offering great views over North County, coastal San Diego, and toward East County. In addition to a healthy climb and good views, Double Peak boasts a nice park at the summit, complete with picnic benches, a few trees for shade, a free viewfinder, and flush toilets. Double Peak does not have the…

read » September 29, 2014
treasure-lakes

Hike Treasure Lakes

The Bishop Creek area just west of Bishop, California is an incredibly picturesque alpine canyon filled with cabins, tiny villages, and aspen groves that absolutely explode with color at the beginning of the foliage season. Even without the golden tinge of aspen, it’s a beautiful area to visit – filled with beautiful trails and lots of room to stretch out…

read » September 26, 2014
north lake fall foliage

North Lake Road Fall Foliage

If you’re on a quest for fall foliage, you’re probably going to end up in Bishop Creek Canyon. Located in the Sierra Nevada just west of the town of Bishop, this charming, quiet region has extensive aspen groves that are reliably colorful in the early fall – and in fact are usually some of the first places to hit peak…

read » September 25, 2014
sabrina basin to emerald lakes

Hike Sabrina Basin to Emerald Lakes

Just outside the town of Bishop is a gorgeous canyon filled with alpine lakes, jagged peaks, glaciers, and some of the most reliably beautiful fall foliage in the entire state of California. You can strap on a backpack and spend days wandering in the John Muir Wilderness – or you can enjoy the scenery on a day hike and camp…

read » September 24, 2014
eagle-rock

Hiking Eagle Rock

Out in the hinterlands near Warner Springs, the Pacific Crest Trail traverses some wild and lonely country before coming upon one of the most blatantly anthropomorphizable (is that a word?) natural features in the state, if not the country. The large granite rock pile known as Eagle Rock looks so ridiculously and obviously like an eagle that none of the…

read » September 23, 2014
Syncline Loop Trail

Hiking the Syncline Loop Trail

“Warnings” are the name of the game on the Syncline Loop Trail. Most topo maps will make special note of the trail’s condition, stating things like “Primitive Trail” and “Difficult to Follow.” Signs near the trailhead echo that language with capital letters that spell out “WARNING.” Indeed, this is not a trail to be taken lightly. I have done some…

read » September 19, 2014
chesler_park_loop

Hiking the Chesler Park Loop in Canyonlands

If you’re in the mood for some terrain and rock formations that will make you think you’re on another planet, this loop in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park via the Chesler Park and Joint Trails needs to go on the top of your to-hike list ASAP. This 10.4 mile loop takes you into some of the most seemingly…

read » September 19, 2014
dead_horse_point

Hiking Dead Horse Point State Park

Just outside of the outdoor Mecca of Moab, squeezed next to the larger and generally busier Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park lies tiny Dead Horse Point State Park. It could be easy to overlook this 5300-acre park for the bigger name attractions nearby, but doing so would deprive you of some of the best views of…

read » September 18, 2014
cave_springs_trail

Hiking Cave Spring in Canyonlands

Cave Spring is a short, relatively easy trail in the Needles District that will give you an idea of the region’s ancient and modern history as well as a surprisingly great spot to take in the full vastness of the Canyonlands. The trail begins at the end of a short section of dirt road that’s easily navigated by 2WD vehicles…

read » September 18, 2014
roadside_ruin

Hiking the Roadside Ruin in Canyonlands

Just beyond the Needles District Visitor Center (open daily 8AM to 6PM but closed early December through February) is the Roadside Ruin Trail. It’s the first official trail in the National Park you’ll come across and – because it’s nice and easy – is a great place to get out of your car to give your legs a stretch before…

read » September 17, 2014
lathrop_trail2

Hike the Lathrop Trail in Canyonlands

If you’re heading into Canyonlands National Park‘s Island in the Sky District and looking for a good introduction to the scenery that awaits you, this partial route on the Lathrop Trail is an excellent place to start. Located near the entrance to the Park, the Lathrop Trail is traditionally a popular entry point for backpackers looking for multi-day trips deeper…

read » September 17, 2014
newspaper_rock

Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument

Newspaper Rock is located just outside the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in Indian Creek – a BLM region popular with rock climbers. It’s a short walk from the roadside parking and is one of the largest-known collections of petroglyphs in the country. There are more than 650 individual glyphs carved into the desert varnish, and…

read » September 16, 2014
mesa_arch

Hike the Mesa Arch Trail

Mesa Arch is, undeniably, one of the spotlight attractions in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National Park. Like, say, Yosemite’s Bridalveil Falls, it’s off the main road and a short, easy hike – but its ease of access should not deter you from visiting – even if you see a bunch of cars at the trailhead. The…

read » September 16, 2014