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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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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