Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

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 »
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 »
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 »
palomar_observatory_trail

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 »
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 »
vital_link_mount_verdugo

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 »
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 »
teotihuacan_pyramid

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 »
PortugueseBendSacredCove_feat

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 »
alta_peak

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 »
sawtooth_pass

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 »
eagle_lake_sequoia

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 »
white_chief_bowl

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 »
cold_springs_trail_sequoia

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 »
big_trees_trail

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 »
congress_trail

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 »
sequoia_east_fork

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 »
moro_rock

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 »
tokopah_falls

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 »
trail_of_the_sequoias

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 »