Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

hermit falls2

Hike Hermit Falls

Hermit Falls is one of the most popular hiking destinations in Southern California – a beautiful trail takes the hiker through the lower reaches of Santa Anita Canyon to the top of 30-foot tall Hermit Falls, where you can reliably find cliff-jumpers, swimmers, (and unfortunately, taggers) on warm weekends throughout the year. The trail itself is right next to our…

read » January 7, 2015
vista hermosa

Hike Vista Hermosa Natural Park

It is no secret that Los Angeles is a fairly park-poor city. In the Trust for Public Land’s annual rankings of the park access of major cities, Los Angeles consistently ranks low on the list. This year, we placed 45th – behind Dallas, Las Vegas, and Cleveland. Sure, we’ve got the Santa Monica Mountains and Griffith Park, but if you…

read » January 5, 2015
Cholla Cactus Garden

Cholla Cactus Garden

Welcome to Joshua Tree’s most dangerous hike!  It’s not rugged trails or exposed ridges that make this trail so treacherous; it’s the Teddy Bear Cholla that you need to watch out for.  Ironically this is exactly the reason why you should absolutely stop here and stroll through this casual 1/3 mile garden trail.  As you are walking be aware that…

read » December 11, 2014
Bow Willow Canyon

Hiking Bow Willow and Rockhouse Canyons

Bow Willow and Rockhouse Canyons, along with the two rugged trails that connect them, combine to form one of the more interesting and adventurous loops on the southern end of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. In addition to the stark, scenic beauty of the canyons and ridges between them, this hike also features the historical oddity of an old rock line…

read » December 8, 2014
santiago peak and holy jim canyon

Hike Santiago Peak via Trabuco Canyon

We at Modern Hiker have been committing an egregious sin for far too long. We have brought you some of the best trails in Los Angeles County, Riverside County, San Bernadino County, and San Diego County. We’ve ventured far afield to the Sierra Nevadas, Utah, Arizona, and beyond to cover the best trails in the western states. And all along,…

read » November 26, 2014
Berlin Forest

Hike to Berlin Forest

Los Angeles, California and Berlin, Germany have been sister cities since 1967. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of that arrangement, the cities exchanged some local flora in 1990. Here in L.A., we got Griffith Park’s Berlin Forest – a small grove of pine trees above Griffith Observatory that may not feel much like a forest, but is still a lovely…

read » November 25, 2014
western canyon

Hike Western Canyon

If you like to hike up to the Griffith Observatory but are getting tired of the usual approaches and firebreaks, or if you’re just looking for a way to create a longer loop trail to destinations deeper in the park’s interior, then much-overlooked Western Canyon may be a nice addition to your Griffith Park experience. The trail at Western Canyon…

read » November 25, 2014
Guajome County Park

Guajome County Park

Guajome County Park is an oasis of marshes, creeks, ponds, and lakes tucked into bustling east Oceanside. The park offers several miles of trails, a campground, two day use areas with picnic tables and playground equipment, fishing, and hiking, all within 30 minutes of most of North County. While the rest of the county bakes during the summer, cool ocean…

read » November 25, 2014
glendale peak

Hike Glendale Peak

Glendale Peak is one of those hidden-in-plain-view gems: an easily reachable peak with stellar views that – for some reason – seems to go overlooked by most hikers who generally keep trudging past the short side-trail on their way to Mount Hollywood. But on a clear day, Griffith Park hikers can see sweeping vistas from the San Gabriels all the…

read » November 25, 2014

Hike Hazard Peak via Islay Creek

This loop hike takes you up the backside of Hazard Peak, via Islay Creek and the Barrance connector trail.  Since there is very little shade over these 9 miles it’s advisable to get an early start.  There are three distinct sections on this hike: a flat stroll up Islay Creek, a steep climb and ridge ramble on the Barrance Trail,…

read » November 11, 2014
Sitton Peak

Hike Sitton Peak

One of the better kept secrets in Southern California hiking is the presence of a large Federal Wilderness tucked between Ortega Highway, the semi-rural town of Fallbrook, and sprawling Camp Pendleton Marine Base. This wilderness protects the nearly pristine San Mateo Canyon watershed, which offers numerous hiking and backpacking adventures. Much of the wilderness is difficult to access due to…

read » November 10, 2014
Valencia Peak

Hike Valencia Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park

Valencia Peak is the 2nd highest point in Montaña de Oro and the most attainable.  This trail maintains a steady but comfortable grade over the 1150 ft climb to the summit, which makes it an approachable hike even for beginners. Start from the parking lot just south of Spooners Cove.  Turn left at the junction with Rattlesnake Flats Trail, one-tenth…

read » November 10, 2014
Quarry Cove

Hiking the Bluff Trail at Montaña de Oro State Park

Montaña de Oro’s Bluff Trail is a sanctuary of observation and discovery.  Visit this trail at different tides, times, and surf conditions for a variety of very unique and worthwhile experiences.  One day you might see surfers riding an incoming swell, and the next you may find thousands of tidepool creatures going about their business during a low tide.  Either…

read » November 7, 2014
Photo by Scott Turner for Modern Hiker

Hike San Onofre State Beach

Ordinarily, I don’t consider a walk on a Southern Californian beach to be a hike. Most of the time, SoCal’s beaches are highly developed both commercially and residentially. While the ocean view is always a wonderful outdoor experience, the rest of the scene remains squarely in the middle of civilization without any flora, fauna (outside of the seagulls), or other…

read » November 6, 2014

Hike Monrovia Canyon Falls

Monrovia Canyon Park is a small, 80-acre park that sits just outside the boundaries of the Angeles National Forest in the foothills of the San Gabriels – but don’t let its small size or city park status dissuade you from a visit. Monrovia Canyon not only features a year-round cascading 30-foot waterfall, but it’s also one of the loveliest riparian…

read » November 5, 2014
Los Pinos Peak

Hiking Los Piños Peak

Los Piños Peak is a prominent bump on  a ridge branching off of the main divide of the Santa Ana Mountains. This sparsely forested peak occupies prime real estate on the northern rim of San Juan Canyon, which allows for incredible views over a plethora of Southern California landmarks. This 5.2 mile out-and-back – 4.5 if you stop at the peak –…

read » November 4, 2014
Bernardo Mountain

Hike Bernardo Mountain and Lake Hodges

Bernardo Mountain is a prominent and easily accessible peak towering over the tranquil waters of Lake Hodges. Both landmarks play a starring role in this moderate 7+ mile peak-bagging excursion, which also features good views over the eastern half of the county toward the Peninsular Ranges in addition to the Del Dios Gorge carved out by the San Dieguito River.…

read » October 28, 2014
Wooded Hill

Hike Wooded Hill

The Laguna Mountains Recreation Area offers a massive network of trails that allows the hiker to piece together tremendous loops encompassing soaring desert views, cool pine forests, vast meadows, and rugged hillsides. But not every worthwhile hike in the Lagunas is an epic, nor is every worthwhile hike directly connected to the network. The most notable exception is the nature…

read » October 21, 2014
monument peak

Monument Peak via Desert View Picnic Area

Rising up like a 6,000′ tall frozen wave threatening to crash over Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Laguna Escarpment features some of the most spectacular views anywhere in Southern California. The Pacific Crest Trail runs along the edge of this escarpment while offering access for numerous side trails to some of the 6,000′ peaks dotting the highest part of the…

read » October 17, 2014
guatay mountain

Hike Guatay Mountain

Weighing in at 4,875′, Guatay Mountain comes a few hairs and a stepstool short of being counted into the 5,000′ club like its nearby siblings in Cuyamaca Rancho State Park. Unlike these other nearby peaks, Guatay Mountain boasts one of the last remaining old growth populations of Tecate cypress, a now rare tree that was once far more common prior…

read » October 16, 2014