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california

Ralston Peak Summit View

Trail Guide: Hiking Lake Tahoe’s Ralston Peak via Camp Sacramento (~2,800′ / ~6 miles / 5+ hours)

Trail Guides

Every time I reach the top of one of the peaks around Lake Tahoe, I feel like I spot a dozen more that I need to explore, it’s an endless adventure! For that reason (and some misunderstood advice), it took me almost a year to get to hike Ralston Peak so let me spare you from my mistake and say this: you want to do this trail, it’s truly one of the best! Ralston may not be the highest mountain…

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Trail Guide: Hiking Yosemite’s Mist Trail for Vernal & Nevada Waterfall Views (2,000′ / 5.4 miles / 4-5 hours)

Trail Guides

If you love waterfalls (and really, who doesn’t) and don’t mind getting a little wet to stand right beside not one but two incredible ones, than the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls is for you. Unfortunately it’s not just for you; on a nice spring or summer day literally thousands of people make this hike so while it’s one to experience, it’s not one to find solitude on. None the less, with an early start (think sunrise, or…

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Half Dome from Glacier Point Area

My 4 Favorite Yosemite Valley Day Hikes – Moderate to Strenuous

Adventures

Yosemite Valley is just a tiny part of the total National Park (seriously, it’s like 1% of the area) and yet it’s where the vast majority of visitors head. Crowded as this can make things, there’s a good reason for all the attention: the place is incredible. But unless you’ve totally missed about a billion photos, you already know this. The question is not should you hike Yosemite Valley but rather what trail to head to first. Growing up just…

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Me on the summit of Tallac

Trail Review: Hiking Tahoe’s Mount Tallac Trail (3,300′ / 10 miles / 5-8 hours)

Trail Guides

There are trails that are popular because of hype and trails that earn their crowds and Mount Tallac is definitely in the later group. Hiking Mount Tallac was my first adventure in the Lake Tahoe area when I moved to California and while others have added to my love of the area, there’s a reason why I’m glad to return to it at any time. Why is that you ask? Well, there’s just so much to make Mt. Tallac worth…

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El Captain from 4 Mile Trail

Trail Guide: Hiking Yosemite’s 4 Mile Trail to Glacier Point (3,250′ / 9.6 miles / 5-8 hours)

Trail Guides

I’ll admit it, the idea of hiking up a trail you can drive to the top of at times is a little strange but beyond the solid workout and sense of accomplishment, there’s something to be said for taking the scenic route– that something of course being the scenery. Yosemite Valley is home to many incredible hikes: There’s the Mist Trail, Half Dome Hike, The Upper Falls and on and on but don’t underestimate 4 mile. In winter (also early…

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Coast Views from Route 1 to Big Sur

Road Trip: Driving California’s Highway 1 to the “End of the Road” at Big Sur’s Mud Creek Slide

Road Trips

It was a little over a year ago (that’s back in early 2017 depending on when you’ve stumbled on this post) that a series of winter storms wrecked havoc on stretch of Northern California’s Highway 1 around Big Sur. All told, something like a million tons of dirt and rock came down destroying bridges, road ways, and entirely altering the coast. Early on there were several slides and road closures but most of those have since been cleared with some…

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Vernal Falls Rainbow

Spring is the time for waterfalls! Photos from hiking the Mist Trail and Upper Yosemite Falls

Outdoor Adventures

Yosemite has something to offer in every season but when it comes to its waterfalls, nothing compares to Spring. This year, winter rolled in late and while the overall snow-pack in the high country is sadly well under average (67% as of 4/1/2018), the final storms have made for plenty of snow to melt on down and fill the rivers below. They even had to close the Valley for a few days as it flooded over. With less snow up…

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Unknown climber heading up Mount Shasta in Snow

Trail Guide: Hiking to Mount Shasta’s Horse Camp & Lake Helen (~6 miles / 3,500′ / 5-7 hours)

Trail Guides

Located at 10,400, Lake Helen is probably best known as a mid-point & camp on the climb up Mount Shasta but even if a summit is not on the list for today, making the nearly 3,500′ trek up is a great adventure — and way to train for a climb to come. Of course before I really begin to share this tale / part of the climb / intro to mountain day hike, it’s worth explaining that reaching Lake Helen…

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View from 4 Mile trail in Winter

Nothing Routine About It: A Winter Visit to Yosemite’s 4 Mile Trail

Trail Guides

Yosemite is magical any time of year but if you’re lucky enough to make a visit when winter hits the park, you’ll find that the magic rises to a whole other level. Of course, the stunning effects of winter bring a few new challenges to any visit, especially on the trails… and certainly those that climb out of the valley floor like 4-mile! I’ve hiked 4-mile trail to Glacier Point a couple times and while it’s a solid climb in…

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The bridge to point bonita lighthouse

Trail Guide: Hiking San Francisco’s Point Bonita Lighthouse (<200' / 1 mile / 1 hour)

Places to Visit Trail Guides

Usually I write about mountain climbs and day-long trails, but some adventures come without the big effort and yet are just as worthy of a spot on the bucket list. These gems are easy to miss in the quest for all-day adventures and it took me over 30 years as a Californian to cross this one off my own list but let me tell you, with it’s impressive history and exciting trail Point Bonita Lighthouse is definitely one of those places you have…

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