Category archive for Trail Write-Ups


Hiking Batiquitos Lagoon

North Coastal San Diego County – more popularly known as “North County” while managing to exclude everything east of the 15 and north of the 56 – contains some of the nicest places to live in Southern California. There are beaches, safe neighborhoods, good schools, great yoga studios, and shopping galore. However, what North County does not have a lot…

read » June 16, 2014
redwoods on the Ewoldsen Trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Hike the Ewoldsen Trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Let’s face it – the big star of Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is clearly McWay Falls. It’s an easy walk to a jaw-droppingly gorgeous coastal waterfall that draws photographers and tourists from all over the world … but that doesn’t mean the park doesn’t have other gems to offer. The Ewoldsen Trail is located just a few steps away…

read » June 12, 2014

Hiking Cedar Creek Falls

On July 5th, 2011, a 16 year-old man died after falling 80 feet into the swimming hole at Cedar Creek Falls. Two days later, the trail from Ramona was closed and remained closed for two years. On July 9th, 2012, a 19 year old woman was found unconscious on the Cedar Creek Falls Trail approaching from the Julian side. After…

read » June 10, 2014

Hike and Backpack Mount San Jacinto State Park

In just about every account of hiking at Mt. San Jacinto, there is always a mention of John Muir’s quote that the view from San Jacinto is “the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this Earth.” While it’s hard to deny that Muir was engaging in hyperbole with this statement, it is true that Mt. San Jacinto features…

read » June 5, 2014

Hiking Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (not to be confused with nearby Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park) sits on 680 acres of land formerly worked by the Pfeiffer family from the mid-1800s to 1933, when they sold the land to the State of California for use as a park instead of selling to a housing developer. before the Pfeiffers, the land…

read » June 3, 2014

Hiking Volcan Mountain

Just north of the town of Julian, with its patchwork quilt of ranches, apple orchards, and oak woodlands, stands the smooth, rounded slopes of Volcan Mountain. The mountain and its summit are the focal point of the Volcan Mountain Open Space Preserve, which protects a portion of the Volcan Mountain Range. This small range occupies a space between the larger…

read » May 29, 2014
Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur

Hike Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur

Lacking the draw of an unbelievably rugged coastline, never-ending redwood groves, or giant waterfalls, Andrew Molera State Park is one of the more understated parks along the coast of Big Sur. But what it lacks in billboard-qualities it makes up for in spades with its understated nature and quiet, low-key beauty. This easy stroll to the beach begins at the…

read » May 22, 2014

Hike the Big Laguna Trail

From the tip of Baja California to the tectonic collision that gave birth to Mt. San Gorgonio and Mt. San Jacinto, the Peninsular Ranges provide some of the most startling contrasts and expansive views anywhere south of the Sierra Nevadas. This chain of ranges includes (from north to south) the San Jacinto, Santa Rosa, San Ysidro, Santa Ana, Palomar, Volcan,…

read » May 21, 2014
The Santa Margarita River

Hike the Santa Margarita River

When it comes to rivers in Southern California, most people envision the austere concrete channels that carry the Los Angeles River past some of the rougher parts of downtown Los Angeles. Some people envision the San Diego River acting as a refuge/battleground for homeless folks as it passes through the offices and shopping centers of Mission Valley. And perhaps others…

read » May 12, 2014

Hiking Point Lobos State Reserve in Big Sur

When I was initially floating the idea of spending a few days aimlessly wandering around Big Sur I asked my friends for some of their suggestions. People had overwhelmingly great things to say about Point Lobos State Reserve so I made it the first stop on my southward-bound journey … and the very first thing I saw when I parked…

read » May 8, 2014

Hiking Kanaka Flat

If you’ve ever devoted a substantial period of time to your television set, you may have at one point become familiar with those happy cows who claim to hail from California. These contented, conversing cattle would graze on impossibly verdant hillsides, chewing the cud while doing their best to give Wisconsin an inferiority complex. Anybody with an ounce of skepticism…

read » May 6, 2014

Hiking McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

If you’ve ever searched for images of Big Sur, you’ve seen McWay Falls – an almost unbelievably picturesque waterfall that drops 80 feet onto the untouched sands of McWay Beach before churning in the azure Pacific. It’s one of those scenes that, when you show your photos of it to friends, they won’t believe it’s real. But the falls are,…

read » May 2, 2014

Hiking Daley Ranch

Daley Ranch is a 3,058 acre park comprising most of the landscape north of the city of Escondido. Originally, this land was peopled by the Kumeyaay Indians, who used the area for hunting game and gathering acorns from the abundant oaks throughout the park. As European Settlers accumulated larger portions of land during the middle and late 1800’s, this region…

read » April 30, 2014
A view from the ruins of the fire lookout on South Mount Hawkins

Hiking South Mount Hawkins

South Mount Hawkins is a prominent peak deep in the San Gabriel Mountains. With commanding views of San Gabriel Canyon to the south, Sheep Mountain Wilderness to Mount Baldy to the east, and past Twin Peaks and the front range to the west, it’s easy to see why this peak had a fire lookout tower on it for so long.…

read » April 24, 2014
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