Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

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

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

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

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

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

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 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

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

Hike the Upheaval Dome Overlook in Canyonlands

I think the Colorado Plateau region is one of – if not the most geologically spectacular places I’ve ever been. Everywhere you look, you can see billions of years of history at a glance, with the terrain and the life that inhabits it often twisted into strange shapes you could best describe as “otherworldly.” But no matter how many strange…

read » September 15, 2014
Grand View Point  Canyonlands

Hiking Grand View Point in Canyonlands National Park

It’s no secret that Canyonlands National Park straddles some truly stunning territory. There are also no shortage of places to get stunning views of the canyons cut by the Colorado and Green Rivers – in many places you can just pull your car over at the side of the road and see something that’s going to probably stay with you…

read » September 15, 2014
Stonewall Peak

Hike Stonewall Peak

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park boasts an embarrassment of natural riches, including lakes, streams, springs, mesas, the largest deer herd in the county, multiple flocks of wild turkeys, seemingly infinite hiking opportunities, and, of course, a quartet of easily accessible, 5,000′+ peaks (Cuyamaca, Middle, Stonewall, and Oakzanita). Of the four, the popular Stonewall Peak Trail is the most accessible while offering…

read » September 11, 2014
Griffith Park North Loop

Hike Griffith Park’s Northside Loop

When most people think of L.A.’s iconic Griffith Park, they probably envision things like the Observatory, the Greek Theatre, the Hollywood Sign, the Zoo, and legions of picnicking families. But there’s also a wilder side to this urban retreat, far removed from the wide fire roads and smothering crowds – and we’ll take you there on this adrenaline-soaked rollercoaster adventure…

read » September 10, 2014
Mount Gower

Hiking Mount Gower

Way out past Ramona in the San Diego County Estates neighborhood lies the Mt. Gower Open Space Preserve. This 1574 acre park preserves a chunk of the San Diego backcountry in a nearly pristine state, while offering some moderate to challenging hiking and peakbagging. The highlight of the preserve is a cluster of three summits, one of which is dubbed…

read » September 9, 2014
Aliso and Wood Canyon

Hike Aliso and Woods Canyons

      One of Orange County’s most popular and accessible trails is also one of its most beautiful and diverse. The 3,789 acre Aliso and Woods Canyons Regional Park in Aliso Viejo features riparian woodlands, grassy meadows, rolling hills, views of the Santa Ana Mountains and Laguna Canyon, and sandstone caves all within a short drive from most of…

read » September 2, 2014

Hike the Observatory Trail

Beyond its beautiful forests and meadows, Palomar Mountain is most famous for its Observatory. Established in 1928, the Palomar Observatory contains several telescopes, including the 200” Hale Telescope, which is open for visitation from 9am to 4:30pm. The campus, which is beautiful in itself, is operated by the California Institute of Technology. More importantly though (at least for our purposes),…

read » August 28, 2014
Point Loma Lighthouse

Hike the Bayside Trail at Cabrillo National Monument

Cabrillo National Monument occupies the southernmost tip of Point Loma and includes a monument and historical information dedicated to Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo (“discoverer” of California in 1542), well-preserved historical landmarks including the old Point Loma lighthouse, military buildings used as part of Southern California’s defense system during World War 2, tide pools, and the 2.2 mile Bayside Trail. This area…

read » August 24, 2014

Hike the Vital Link Trail in Wildwood Canyon to Verdugo Mountain

Just across the L.A. River Basin from Griffith Park, lie the Verdugo Mountains, a small member of the fault-created east-west Transverse Ranges. Like Griffith Park, the peaks and valleys of the Verdugos provide a variety of outdoor activities to the residents of Glendale, Burbank, and the Valley neighborhoods on its northern boundaries – but unlike Griffith Park, this small range…

read » August 22, 2014
Cowles and Pyles

Hike Cowles Mountain and Pyles Peak

Cowles Mountain is hardly a secret to San Diego hikers. This easily accessible, moderately challenging peak can be reached from several different directions, and it offers the best views (marine layer permitting) of downtown San Diego county. In fact, the peak is the dead opposite of a secret, as the summit can be crowded with visitors at any given time…

read » August 20, 2014

Hike Teotihuacan National Park

If you’re even remotely interested in history, Mexico City has something for you. The site has been inhabited by advanced civilizations since 1325 and by the time the first Europeans stumbled into the region, the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan had somewhere between 100 and 200 thousand people living within its fully planned borders. However, just north of Tenochtitlan, the even more…

read » August 12, 2014

Hike Portuguese Bend Reserve to Sacred Cove

If you dream of traveling to Big Sur, but don’t want to load the mileage on your car, here’s your consolation prize: a local getaway to sweeping ocean vistas, towering craggy cliffs, and churning teal seas via a six-mile round trip from the top of Palos Verdes’ Portuguese Bend Reserve to sea level at Sacred Cove. Visible from high points…

read » August 11, 2014