The Mark Twain Trail through Nevada & California brings ups, downs and a new view of the author

Who flies to Reno on a spring evening, rents a car and heads into the mountains with no skis, no mountain bike and a backpack full of books? and Why? Because in 1861 a 25-year-old Missouri riverboat pilot named Sam Clemens boarded a stagecoach bound for the same territory. He was going to dodge the Civil War for a few months, work for the government, do some writing,...

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Yosemite fires shut Glacier Point Road, road to park entrance and popular hiking trails

Should you be traveling to Yosemite National Park for the Labor Day weekend, be prepared for smoky conditions and trail and road closures. Separate fires have shut Glacier Point Road, California Highway 41 leading from Oakhurst to the southern entrance into the park, a campground and popular hiking trails. Yosemite’s website warns visitors about smoke conditions in...

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Lightning strike blasts clothes off Sierra hiker

An Austrian man hiking 9,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevada was on a peak taking a photo when he was struck by a lightning bolt that blasted away his clothes, burned a hole in one of his shoes and left him with severe burns. Mathias Steinhuber, who was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with his girlfriend and friend Carla Elvidge had an entry wound on his hand and an exit...

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At Berryessa National Monument, Wildflowers and Rebirth

The fields give way to darkly arching oaks, tree tunnels shading a narrow country road outside Winters, Calif. The early-hour brightness indicates the nearness of summer. Here, an hour and a half northeast of San Francisco, the dense press of civilization lifts, and the open wilderness weaves itself into the landscape. The light is somehow ventilated, given more space....

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California scores its first big environmental victory of the Trump era

There was one revealing bit of testimony on Capitol Hill recently – from Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. Pruitt told a House subcommittee that the EPA is not reviewing California’s lone-in-the-country authority to set air-quality standards tougher than those found elsewhere in the nation. For months, California politicians, led by...

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California attorney general to Trump: You can’t touch our national monuments

California’s attorney general argues that President Trump has no legal authority to revoke or modify national monuments created by previous administrations. In an 11-page letter to the Interior Department, state Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra vowed “to take any and all legal action necessary” to preserve six California monuments that the Trump Administration may attempt to...

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Oakland’s 510 Hikers Is All About Community

Nicholas Collins is founder of 510 Hikers, a community group that gets together weekly at various hiking spots. Collins is an East Oakland, CA native who grew up in the Hillmont area, and Leona Canyon Regional Park was his backyard. Hikers meet with Collins every Saturday morning, from kids with their parents and couples wanting to get fit to friends, co-workers,...

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Navigating the Ups and Downs While Hiking the Condor Trail

The Condor Trail is a wilderness route through the mountains in the Santa Barbara, California backcountry running more than 400 miles from Lake Piru in the south to Bottcher’s Gap in the mountains above Big Sur near Carmel. It goes through seven wilderness areas in the Los Padres National Forest. It is not an easy trail — in parts, there is no trail. Inspired by trails...

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On the trail of John Muir: Hiking in the naturalist’s footsteps around Northern California

John Muir had a passion for the outdoors that’s legendary and his extensive writings include accounts of his California adventures, ascending Mount Shasta in a snowstorm, walking all the way from San Francisco to Yosemite, and simply sauntering around Mount Wanda with his two daughters near his Martinez Ranch. Muir first arrived in San Francisco from New York by...

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California just put serious limits on methane leaks

The California Air Resources Board voted unanimously on Thursday to enact regulations that will curb the amount of methane the oil and gas industry can leak and vent during production and storage. The new rule — years in the making — requires oil and gas companies to monitor infrastructure and repair leaks. It is a massive step forward for California’s air quality...

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Grant Will Help Friends of the Desert Mountains Upgrade Hiking Trails

Blooming desert wildflowers served as the perfect backdrop for Friends of the Desert Mountains to receive the $25,000 Coachella Valley Spotlight grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. Each year more than 20,000 valley residents and visitors enjoy the Santa Rosa & San Jacinto Mountains National Monument Visitor Center, off Highway 74, and hiking...

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Spectacular bloom expected at Anza Borrego Desert State Park

  A spectacular bloom of wildflowers is underway at Anza Borrego Desert State Park in California, and by the middle of March, it’s expected to just get better and better, according to park officials. The area has been deluged with rain this season and the Borrego Desert is full of green with flowers in stages of both bud and blooms, a press release issued by...

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‘Widow makers’ close popular California trails

You see that big tree looming over you? Or over your house, your car? Or along the trail at your favorite park? It could be what we call a “widow maker.” That is, a big tree (or limb) about to fall. Saturated soil that can’t hold upright the weight of big trees has led to a stunning array of downed trees in parks, backyards, front yards… in other words, everywhere....

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A Guide to Kings Canyon National Park

Best known for its groves of Sequoia trees, Kings Canyon National Park spans a significant portion of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. But it’s not just these giant trees that attract visitors to the so-called Land of Giants, and neighboring Sequoia National Park. Deep canyons, lush valleys, snow-capped peaks, and terrain ranging from 1,000 to 14,000 feet...

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Anza-Borrego Foundation has helped protect the California desert for 50 years

Dropping into Southern California’s Anza-Borrego State Park from a twisting ride down Montezuma Valley Road, you get the sense Anza-Borrego is a world unto itself. A world of ancient fossils and mysterious mirages, lush palm oases and hidden waterfalls, ocotillo forests, remote hiking trails and captivating wildlife from tarantulas and chuckwalla lizards to golden...

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New hiking route connects Los Angeles to 67 miles of backcountry bliss

One of the newest backcountry trails in the West skirts the busiest city in the country. The thoroughfare, dubbed the Backbone Trail, stretches about 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains that ring Los Angeles, and opened in June after more than 50 years in the making. The trail, which connects Point Mugu State Park in Malibu to Will Rogers State Historic Park in...

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Hiking the metal mountains of Scott Mountain Crest

The lovely forested peaks of the Scott Mountain Crest in Siskiyou County, California, are most frequently enjoyed from two vantage points — the popular Kangaroo Lake Campground on the north side of the crest, and from the Pacific Crest Trail on the south side of the mountainous ridge. Both of these viewpoints offer ample scenery, and with a little effort one can enjoy...

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An astounding 102 million trees have now died in California

Forest managers have never seen anything like it. Across California, an astounding 102 million trees have died over the past six years from drought and disease — including 62 million trees in 2016 alone, the US Forest Service estimates. Once-mighty oaks and pines have faded into ghastly hues of brown and gray. The biggest worry is that these dead, dry forests will become...

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California is about to find out what a truly radical climate policy looks like

California has long prided itself on being a world leader on climate change — and with good reason. Within the United States, California is No. 1 (by far) in solar power and No. 3 in wind power. It boasts the third-lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita behind New York and Vermont. Since 2000, the state has managed to shrink its overall carbon footprint slightly even...

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Collaborative Project May Impact Weekday Hiking on Pacific Crest and Summit Lake Trails

Crew members from the American Conservation Experience (ACE), the Truckee Trail Foundation (TTF) and the Tahoe National Forest are working diligently to set the foundation for a major work day involving over 200 employees from Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI). The project will reconstruct sections of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) north of California Old Highway 40 past...

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10 miles of hiking trails at Bothe-Napa Valley State Park

In 1872, Dr. Charles M. Hitchcock bought a thousand acres of Rancho Carne Humana and built a country home along Ritchey Creek. He called it “Lonely.” Nearly 150 years later the beautiful trails along the creek remain as California’s Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. But you won’t be lonely there anymore. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park is one of the most-frequented hiking...

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New Mount Diablo hiking guide unlocks secrets of hikes

Many visitors are lured to Northern California’s Mount Diablo by its imposing presence – an ancient rock fortress between the Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley. Visitors come for panoramic views and challenging hikes or rides. But some have gotten sick and even died after underestimating the difficulty of some treks and overestimating their own abilities to...

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New Sections of California Coastal Trail

Just in time for the American Hiking Society’s National Trails Day, June 4, 2016, Mendocino County in Northern California will open two new hiking trails. The 2.3-mile Peter Douglas Coastal Trail routes hikers through redwood groves known as Shady Dell featuring trees with branches that have split off into candelabra shapes. The land, just south of Sinkyone Wilderness...

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New Sonoma County hiking trail opens up along San Pablo Bay

Sonoma County, California’s newest hiking trail officially opened May 15, 2016 just a few hundred yards from the often backed up and typically frustrating Highway 37. The Eliot Trail, located at the edge of tidal wetlands near where Lakeville Highway meets Highway 37, gives travelers an experience opposite to the nearby roadway. The two-and-a-half mile trail offers...

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This disease has killed a million trees in California, and scientists say it’s basically unstoppable

Healthy forests are especially important at a time of climate change — they’re an incredible tool to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Dead forests, on the other hand, can light the spark for wildfires, which are already showing a long-predicted uptick in activity. In California’s coastal forests, health is anything but good. Since 1995, a fungal pathogen that...

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Featured National Recreation Trail: The Aliso Creek Regional Riding and Hiking Trail, California

The Aliso Creek Regional Riding and Hiking Trail is a well maintained class-one bikeway and soft recreational trail extending from the foothills of Orange County, California to the boundary of Laguna Beach. The continuous fifteen miles of asphalt bikeway designed for multi-use travels through five south county cities. The soft trail mirrors the asphalt bikeway path on...

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Hiking Anza-Borrego is trek into desert paradise

Don’t let the name Hellhole Canyon scare you off. In early March the 6-mile hike in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is alive with striking desert blooms, a lush palm oasis and hidden waterfalls. Sure, the start of the route into the sun-beaten canyon is hot. Flowering indigo, beavertail cactus and desert dandelions buzz with insects along the seemingly misnamed...

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Hiking near the waterfalls of Marin County’s Cataract Trail

The sound of rushing water floods your ears even before Cataract Creek is fully in view, descending the northern flank of Mount Tamalpais, California amid a riot of boulders, lush moss, graceful ferns and arching trees. Prepare to be amazed by this magical place, where each step along the trail reveals some new variation on the blend of rocks and water responsible for a...

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Obama designates new national monuments in the California desert

President Obama has set aside more of America’s lands and waters for conservation protection than any of his predecessors, and he is preparing to do even more before he leaves office next year. The result may be one of the most expansive environmental and historic-preservation legacies in presidential history. On Friday, February 12, 2016 Obama designated more than 1.8...

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Video Shows Frightening Scale of SoCal Gas Leak

Two environmental advocacy groups have released an aerial video of the ongoing natural gas leak that’s plaguing Porter Ranch, CA and it’s startling. This is known as the Aliso Canyon methane leak, the worst environmental disaster since the BP gulf oil spill. The video, shot using a specialized infrared camera aboard a helicopter, released this week by the...

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