Category archive for Trail Write-Ups

Broken Hill at Torrey Pines State Reserve

Hiking Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve consists of two parts – a gorgeous state beach with an epic backdrop of wind-and-rain sculpted badland cliffs; and a reserve of one of North America’s rarest trees – the Torrey Pine – on a network of trails that meander through those badland cliffs. Both sections of the park are extremely popular – especially on…

read » April 3, 2014
Palomar Mountain at sunset

Hiking Palomar Mountain State Park

Ask the average person what they envision when it comes to outdoor San Diego, and you’re likely to hear about long, sandy beaches stretching endlessly under bluffs studded with Torrey Pines. Or, you might hear about sun-blasted boulders protruding out of a carpet of chaparral on the way up to the summits or Iron Mountain or Mt. Woodson. Or perhaps…

read » March 31, 2014
Wildflower Blooms in Saddleback Butte State Park

Hiking Saddleback Butte State Park

Despite our currently ongoing drought conditions, there is still hope for wildflower lovers here in Southern California. Spurred on by a recent trail report from KCET’s Zach Berens on SoCal Wanderer (and some great photos popping up in my social media feeds), I headed up north to Saddleback Butte State Park to see if the wildflower show was still going…

read » March 24, 2014
View of Los Angeles from Beacon Hill in Griffith Park

Hiking Beacon Hill in Griffith Park

One of the things I love most about Griffith Park is its range of hiking – you can take a leisurely, stroller-friendly walk along a fire road to the Hollywood Sign or do an intense firebreak trail run up nearly-vertical sections of ridge – sometimes both on the same trail. For as long as I’ve lived here, I’m still finding…

read » March 20, 2014

Hiking the Pihea and Alakai Swamp Trail to Kilohana Overlook

When planning our honeymoon, my wife and I knew we would have to pick a place with lots of outdoor activities to keep us from getting bored during our two week trip. With activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, surfing, and of course, hiking, Kauai provided the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure to make our trip an unforgettable one. We…

read » March 14, 2014
Corral Canyon

Hiking Corral Canyon

Hugging the coastline just off the PCH, Malibu’s Corral Canyon has the distinction of being the last canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains that has a completely undeveloped watershed that flows freely into the Pacific Ocean. And yes, that sound like a very specific thing, but you don’t need to memorize the honorifcs if you’re headed here – all you…

read » March 12, 2014
Escondido Falls

Hiking Escondido Falls

The Winding Way Trail in Malibu leads to the multi-tiered 150 foot tall Escondido Falls, the tallest waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains. While the waterfall’s strength is subject to the levels of precipitation, the trail to the base of the falls is a shaded, lovely stroll – and the trail to the upper tiers of the falls is an…

read » March 5, 2014

Hiking Mount Lowe from Red Box

This 6.1 mile out-and-back travels over one ridge of the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains to get to Mount Lowe, part of old, sprawling land of the nearby Echo Mountain Resort. Mount Lowe was planned as the site of a grand alpine tavern and aerial tramway for the resort, but geography and money woes kept it from being…

read » August 23, 2013

Hiking Red Rock Canyon to Calabasas Peak

This moderately graded fire road ascent just outside Topanga Village provides some amazing views of the interior of the Santa Monica Mountains – especially if you get to see the marine layer flowing over the peaks closest to the coast. This dog-friendly hike has enough of an incline to get your legs working but isn’t tough enough to scare off…

read » July 12, 2013
Junipero Serra Peak

Hiking Junipero Serra Peak

An intense 12 mile hike with over 3700 feet of elevation gain, this trail takes you through overgrown areas of the Ventana Wilderness up steep switchbacks to the ruins of a fire lookout tower abandoned in 1979. Along the way, you’ll hike through gorgeous California grassland and have unbelievable views of the wilderness … and get a KILLER workout along…

read » May 22, 2013

Hiking Salmon Creek Falls in Sequoia National Forest

A short and strenuous little-known trip to an incredible secluded canyon waterfall in the southern Sequoia National Forest, just north of Kernville. This route is mostly on use-trails and can be a moderate rock-hopping excursion or an intense scrambling trip with a few class 3 bouldering sections. Either way, you get to see an unbelievable canyon with a majestic waterfall…

read » May 10, 2013
Zion Observation Point

Hiking Zion National Park – Observation Point

An epic, 8 mile climb to Observation Point, a jaw-dropping promontory 6508 feet above sea level on the Canyon’s northern end. The trail features a very strenuous, steep ascent and has absolutely stunning views for almost the entire trek. The peak is higher than nearby Angel’s Landing and is definitely less crowded. If you’re feeling extraordinarily adventurous, you can also…

read » May 9, 2013
Zion River Walk

Hiking Zion National Park – Riverside Walk

A short, level, two mile path along the east bank of the Virgin River. This trail is a nice introduction to the importance of the Virgin River to Zion National Park, and signs along the way provide information on the region’s geology and history. The canyon walls are unbelievably majestic here, and hiking in the late afternoon or early morning…

read » May 7, 2013
Zion Canyon Overlook

Hiking Zion National Park – Canyon Overlook Trail

A mile-long hike near the park’s eastern entrance, the Canyon Overlook Trail is a wonderful introduction to Zion Canyon (or a nice look back on your way out, too). This short but fun trail will take you over slickrock, above slot canyons, and into some small alcoves before giving you a phenomenal view of the canyon floor from the east.

read » May 2, 2013
Zion Angel's Landing

Hiking Zion National Park – Angel’s Landing

*unfortunately my GPS went a little insane in Refrigerator Canyon so I didn’t get a usable track for the GPX data or Google Earth. Fortunately, this is the most-hiked trail in the park and information is out there. Here is a great site with detailed pictures of the last half mile and a GPX file to download. This is one…

read » April 29, 2013
Zion Emerald Pools

Hiking Zion National Park – Emerald Pools via Kayenta Trail

A relatively easy just over 2 mile trail to Zion’s Emerald Pools – miniature oases nestled in the impressive cliffs of Zion. Depending on the season, there may be light, misty waterfalls, too. This route takes the lesser-traveled Kayenta Trail, which also has better views than the shorter, more direct Emerald Pools Trail that starts near the Zion Lodge.

read » April 26, 2013
Hollywood Reservoir

Hiking the Hollywood Reservoir

This easy, flat, just-over three mile trail takes you around the perimeter of the Hollywood Reservoir, an artificial lake in the Hollywood Hills. This path was closed for several years due to landslides and was recently reopened in April of 2013. A nice stroll with good photo ops, this hike is a nice option for a peaceful stroll or jog…

read » April 18, 2013
Cahuenga Peak

Hiking to the Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak

A rugged three mile out-and-back in the newest section of Griffith Park. This trail features relentless ascents and tremendous views of Griffith Park, heading to a unique lone tree and geocaching area. The trail then traverses a ridge east toward recently-saved Cahuenga Peak with an even more rugged option to continue to Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign. One of…

read » February 28, 2013
Joshua Tree Lost Palms Oasis

Hiking Lost Palms Oasis

A moderately difficult 7 mile trail to an overlook featuring the highest concentration of native California Fan Palms in the park. There are great views of the oasis, nearby peaks, and the Salton Sea to the south, as well as opportunities to extend the route to include Mastodon Peak and a strenuous scramble down into the oasis itself. Backcountry camping…

read » February 20, 2013
Joshua Tree Wall Street Mill

Hiking to Wonderland Ranch and the Wall Street Mill

This easy 3 mile out-and-back highlights some of the prospecting history of Joshua Tree National Park. This route passes the ruins of Wonderland Ranch and some old foundations further up Wonderland Wash before doubling back to Bill Keys’ Wall Street Mill – the best preserved gold stamp mill in the region.

read » February 19, 2013