San Diego’s Greatest Hikes for Every Skill Level

San Diego is known around the country as a beach haven, and for good reason: the county does, after all, have more than 70 miles of pristine, world-class coastline. However, those who actually live in the city know that its natural splendor extends far beyond its shores – the county is also home to some spectacular hiking. While San Diego’s mountains might not...

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Hiking the Bay Area’s epic Skyline Trail

Thru-hiking a National Recreation Trail isn’t easy. Preparing for it is even harder. Backpackers need the right combination of fitness, finances, luck and time. A Pacific Crest thru-hike will set you back about $6,000. Considering the John Muir Trail? Permits are assigned by lottery exactly 168 days in advance. Not to mention the Sierra Nevada snowpack is at roughly 160...

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Study finds 96% of national parks have hazardous air quality

Millions of tourists will head out into America’s national parks this summer in search of fresh mountain air. But according to a new report they should instead expect dangerous levels of pollution; roughly 96% of the nation’s parks are struggling with significant air quality issues. The report, released by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), found that...

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California North Coast’s Great Redwood Trail would convert decaying railway into 320-mile pathway

The first steps toward making a more than 300-mile walking and cycling trail from the San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, crossing some of the North Coast’s most scenic, least-traveled landscapes are set to begin later this year. Details such as when the Great Redwood Trail could be completed, how the most challenging stretches might be constructed and how much it all...

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Hikers, bikers, riders, get good news for Santa Susana Mountains trail network

Another step in a plan to add miles of hiking, biking and equestrian trails throughout the Santa Susana Mountains in unincorporated northwest Los Angeles County has moved forward after years in the works. Phase II of the Santa Susana Mountains Trails Master Plan was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. It adds 58 miles of trails to the...

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On 50th anniversary of Pacific Crest Trail, volunteers have opportunity to make their mark

For the last 50 years, the Pacific Crest Trail has been a testament to the natural beauty of the western United States. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the trail, the Bakersfield, CA office of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will host a friendly “work weekend” at a portion of the trail near Ridgecrest to allow the public to help maintain the path in that area....

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In stunning loss, 83% of Santa Monica Mountains federal parkland burned in Woolsey fire

The Woolsey fire burned about 83% of national park land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a stunning loss of a cherished open space area for Southern California. The Santa Monica Mountains, which stretch from Hollywood Hills to Point Mugu in Ventura County, have long offered Southern Californians a respite from the city below with the range’s array...

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Mount Umunhum National Recreation Trail, California

The Mount Umunhum Trail passes through chaparral, under pine and oak woodlands, and over the headwaters of Guadalupe Creek. The trail emerges near the rocky summit revealing 360-degree vistas of the valley below, ridgelines, and nearby peaks. The mountain is sacred to local Native American people and is central to their creation story. “Umunhum” is an Ohlone word...

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California pledges carbon-free electricity by 2045

By many metrics, California is way ahead of other states when it comes to renewable energy. The nation’s largest state leads in generating electricity from solar panels and geothermal stations. As of 2016, California got about two-fifths of its electricity from renewable forms of energy. On Sept. 10, 2018, the state’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, signed...

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Sprawling Jenner Headlands Preserve on California’s Sonoma Coast opening to public

Anyone who has ever driven past the hills that rise sharply near Jenner, California from the coast north of the Russian River outlet and wondered about the view from the top need wait little longer. Today the gates to the Jenner Headlands Preserve will be open to the public, adding a large, open space to the mix of protected, accessible lands lining the scenic Sonoma...

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Old Railroad Set to Become a 300-mile Hiking Trail Through California Wine Country

Seeing the best of California’s North Coast is about to get easier and better than ever. A proposed bill could transform parts of the increasingly abandoned Northwestern Pacific Railroad into a scenic hiking trail. The 300-mile-long trail, named the Great Redwood Trail, would stretch from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay, cutting through Eel River Canyon. Part of the...

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Hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail

Lake Tahoe is 122,200 acres of cobalt blue water and reflections of the Sierra. The best way to really get to know it: The Tahoe Rim Trail. The meandering loop is a great long trail for beginners, or a laid-back walk in the woods for seasoned thru-hikers. Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find this diversity of scenery on such a modest adventure: In less than 200 miles, the...

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The Plan to Restore Hetch Hetchy

Numerous studies, including those by the National Park Service and the University of Wisconsin have confirmed that Hetch Hetchy Valley can be readily restored. The only questions are how much human intervention is desireable and to what degree should we let nature take its course. Removing some dams can be difficult, because sediment can build up behind them. This will...

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Here’s What It Takes to Hike the John Muir Trail

  A survey of backpackers’ tactics on the 220-mile high-country route offers insights on what works and what doesn’t. A new paper in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine takes a look at this. Over the last few years, a retired San Francisco lawyer has run an annual online survey of people who hike the John Muir Trail, a famous route...

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Hike, Rock Climb, Fish + More in California’s Eastern Sierra

California’s Eastern Sierra is a fascinating landscape, a land where 14,000-foot summits descend to sage-filled plains, where the oldest trees on earth still stand atop wind scoured ridges, where geothermal springs pepper one of the word’s largest calderas, and where limestone columns rise from an ancient alkaline lake. Found amongst and within these unique...

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Catalina Island beckons with new hiking trails, vestiges of old Hollywood

This 76-square-mile fortress of rock is marooned 23 miles off the coast of Los Angeles. Catalina is one of eight of the Channel Islands, and it’s the only one with a significant civilian population. Latest figures put the number around 4,000 people, almost all of them clustered in the port of Avalon. This diminutive city creeps up on the horizon like a postcard of tiny...

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EPA threatens to revoke California’s ability to set emissions standards as the Trump administration moves to abandon fuel mileage goals

The Trump administration openly threatened one of the cornerstones of California’s environmental protections, saying that it may revoke the state’s ability under the Clean Air Act to impose stricter standards than the federal government sets for vehicle emissions. The announcement came as the administration confirmed it is tearing up landmark fuel economy...

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Tragically lost in Joshua Tree’s wild interior

In June 2010, Bill Ewasko traveled alone from his home in suburban Atlanta to Joshua Tree National Park, where he planned to hike for several days. Ewasko, 66, was an avid jogger, a Vietnam vet and a longtime fan of the desert West. A family photo of Ewasko standing at the summit of Mount San Jacinto, another popular hiking destination in Southern California, shows a...

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How to plan the perfect trip to Sequoia National Park

Quick – what’s the largest living thing in the world? The honor goes to the giant sequoia – the “god of the woods” to conservationist John Muir – and the best place to see it is in Sequoia National Park in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada mountains. Located some 225 miles north of Los Angeles, the park stretches across 631...

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Ever Wanted to Thru-Hike the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail? Here’s Your Guide.

The 170-mile-long Tahoe Rim Trail passes through three wilderness areas and two mountain ranges as it takes hikers from 6,200 feet to higher than 10,000 feet in elevation. In the Desolation Wilderness, you find pristine alpine lakes and granite peaks, in Meiss Meadows, you stroll through hip-high fields of wildflowers, and at the base of Tahoe’s highest mountain, Freel...

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From ghost towns to hiking trails, this is the ultimate guide to Death Valley

  If you have ever driven to Las Vegas on Interstate 15 from Southern California, then no doubt you have stopped in or rolled by the small town of Baker, known as the Gateway to Death Valley. It’s also home to the World’s Tallest Thermometer and the Mad Greek, a great place to get some road food as well as fresh strawberry shakes. There are more and more new...

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Los Padres National Forest bracing for debris flows

Crews once battling flames of the Thomas Fire in California are facing a new challenge – an influx of rain creating dangerous mudslides. “The fire and then the flood has been going on in this country for at least 100 years, more like 150 years,” National Forest Service Ranger Pancho Smith said running his hand over the Thomas Fire Burn map. As the rain...

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Redwood grove being loved to death

Awhile back, it used to be that the grouping of eight old-growth redwood trees deep within Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park near Crescent City, California could be reached only by following clues in a book about tree hunters. There were no direct hiking trails, and the nearest road was miles away. Then, in 2011, someone uploaded a geotag marking the trees’ location...

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Walk in the footsteps of Hawkeye and Trapper John on ‘MASH’ hike in Calabasas

You can almost hear the “MASH” choppers coming over the ridge at Malibu Creek State Park, which features hiking trails to the show’s outdoor site, shady canyons and plentiful creeks and ponds. Malibu Creek State Park, in the Calabasas area north of Los Angeles, offers a vast selection of hiking options, including some that touch TV history and some ranch buildings once...

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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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