8 Ways To Make Epic Memories In Mammoth Lakes, California!

Making memories can be one of the most extraordinary things a person can do. It usually does not involve material items; no hand held gifts, or any fancy cars or clothing. It can however, bring unbelievable happiness and be extremely humbling. Actually, this might be exactly how I would describe my first time weekend road trip to Mammoth Lakes, California. Amazing and more!

But Mammoth, with its neighbor being Yosemite National Park, is not only a place for such incredible outdoor activity and stunning natural beauty, it’s also a place where one might enjoy grazing across the lake in a fishing boat with your father and brother. Or indulging yourself in the fresh air as you and your sister reach the summit of a mountain trail. And even taking in those remarkable landscape and mountain views with your sweetheart.

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Twin Lakes at Mammoth, CA

The amazing beauty in Mammoth is what I remember only hearing about it from friends. They told me how much fun there was to be had at Mammoth and where it is located. I’ve only heard about the incredible amount of activity that one can do there; such as hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, boating, and surrounding yourself with total nature! And of course, people were always bragging to me about how beautiful, quiet, and serene it is in those mountains.

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Hence, the mountains were calling..(-John Muir) and then we go. A friend of ours had already planned her weekend road trip to Mammoth and she asked if we wanted to join her; and we said of course, we are all in! So we packed our bags and prepped the car and planned to maximize our weekend filled with incredible hikes, mountain vistas, and relaxing kayaking. Check out these great ways to make your own memories of which you may want to add to your own
Mammoth Mountain itinerary.

  1. Seven Lakes Point Loop: Hiking Trail and Views
    A. Elevation: 2372 Feet gain, starting at Twin Lakes Campground, it will take you by the bottomless pit and Lava Tube. (This hike is considered risky and dangerous due to the soft and loose gravel).
    B. Spectacular views of at least 5 or so lakes.
     

     

     

     


    2. Lava Tube: Hiking and History

Lava Tube is a conduit where lava once flowed, cooled and created a cave-like hole in the rock above Lower Twin Lake. This geologic formation is commonly referred to as “Hole in the Wall.”

 

 

Down In The Lower Valley Areas: Reds Meadow Valley
You will need to have access to the lower areas into the valley of Mammoth Mountain via shuttle down to these following areas.
DSC_0272The shuttle route begins at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area’s Adventure Center and makes several stops throughout the valley and begins operating when the Reds Meadow Road opens in the summer, and continues through Labor Day weekend. The price per person is $8 / ticket per day. The Reds Meadow/Devils Postpile Shuttle has provided transit service into the Reds Meadow Valley and to the Devils Postpile National Monument for over 30 years! The parking area fills up quick.

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The parking area leading to the ski lift adventure store at Mammoth.

3. Devils Postpile (Rainbow Falls hiking Trail) National Monument:
Devils Postpile National Monument is a National Monument located near Mammoth Mountain. The monument protects Devils Postpile, an unusual rock formation of columnar basalt. You will pass by Devils Postpile on your hiking path down to another spectacular main attraction: Rainbow Falls.

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Devils Postpile National Monument

4. Rainbow Falls: Hiking and Views with Waterfalls

Rainbow Falls is a waterfall in the Middle Fork of the San Joaquin River.

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Rainbow Falls

Additionally, as you continue your hike you may notice the Pacific Crest Trail merging into the trail while passing through this monument. And you will also notice the National Monument lies within the borders of the Ansel Adams Wilderness.

 

 

 

There is also the ‘Lower Falls’ that many folks do not venture further down below. This is a beautiful area where waterfalls are splashing into the stream of which some people enjoy a cool dip in the water or some are a little more adventurous and they jump off some of the lower rock formations. This area is a nice place to relax, enjoy a snack before the hike back up the trail to the top to catch the shuttle to return from out of the valley.

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Lower Falls near Rainbow Falls, Mammoth Lakes, CA.

5. Minaret Falls Trail: Hiking Trail to Waterfalls. Minaret Vista

This is a moderate trail located near Lake Mary, California with scenic views. This hike is enjoyable and great for walking and nature trips and bird watching.

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FITLIFEANDTRAVEL.COM * Steller’s Jay birds in Mammoth

The falls are very nice and can be a challenge climbing upward to be close to them.
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The Minaret Vistas

East of Mammoth Lakes area.
6. Convict Lake: Kayaking

Kayaking on Convict lake is incredible as you can enjoy the calm and peaceful aspects of quiet and serene lake surroundings, as well as the outstanding views of Laurel Mountain that hugs the lake. This place has an interesting history attached to it as well. Back in the late 1800’s several prisoners escaped from a Nevada prison and fled towards an area now known as Convict creek. Read more about it here:

 

 

7. Hot Creek Geological Site:

Pretty but dangerous, this Hot Creek Geological site is an active hot bed of nature in action. Boiling water is bubbling up from the creek bed. Amazing to look at & ponder, but I keep a distance. Located at the bottom of a large volcanic basin, this is an interesting place to see and visit, but you must keep at a distance because the hot creek is dangerously hot and can contain arsenic and other natural substances that can be toxic.
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8. The Village at Mammoth:

Enjoy a day of fun, shopping, music, and other events at The Village at Mammoth. Here you will find many events and fun! The weekend over the Labor Day, we attended the Rock N Rye event; of which we enjoyed a few live bands, vendors, morning yoga, and many other activities throughout the weekend! This area is the quaint downtown part of Mammoth and is the home of many highly visited restaurants. We had dinner at two restaurants located in this area (the tourist area), but we later learned that the really tasty dishes were found in food eateries located on the other side of town away from the tourist area.

 

 

In summary, if you think a collection of ‘things’ will give you the same reward of experiences of quality time with family or friends in a special place, think again. Memories can not be fabricated, bought, fall apart, or manufactured. I know I will always cherish this weekend with my wonderful husband, and our special friend; Sam who was so gracious in asking us to piggyback on her weekend trip that she planned out and arranged the kayaking reservation and other fun activities!

Do you have any special memory making trips that turned out to be more than you expected?  Please share in the comments your memorable trips and if you have experience in Mammoth, California!  Thank you again for reading and for all your support! Here are some of my other memory making trips!

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Coastal Road Trip Part 2: Redwoods & Oregon

And then there were trees
Our adventurous expedition continues, as our plan today was to spend time hiking and exploring these massive trees and nature trails. Redwood trees (Sequoia sempervirens) are the tallest tree species on earth! And then there were trees, lots of trees. They were big, small, wide, corked, and even drive through with a car trees. Gigantic trees were everywhere you turn. We did get a little tease earlier in our drive as we started venturing through these magnificent specimens starting around a little town called Leggett, California. We browsed our way through Smithe Redwoods SNR, Humbolt Redwoods, and then onto the Avenue of the Giants.

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Avenue of the Giants was a peaceful less traveled path to take to explore these natural wonders. This particular area is the greatest accumulation of biomass, which is comprised of both living and dead organic material, ever recorded in a coast redwood forest in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Did you know that coast redwoods are taller than any other living thing! Here are a few interesting stops we made on this tour:

Stop 2: Bolling Grove where many of the redwoods take interesting shapes and sizes.
Stop 3: Visitor Center
Stop 4: Weott
Stop 5: Mahan Plaque is where there have been reports of people seeing an elusive large creature across the road (Sasquatch, Big Foot).
Stop 6: Dyerville
Stop 7: Chandler Grove
Stop 8: Drury/Chaney Grove where a nice 2.4 nature loop trail takes you through these massive species of trees.

We continue our journey north passing through Eureka and arriving into our resting destination of Arcata, California. But before arriving in Arcata, we also stopped for a rest at this neat stop in Klamath, California where a giant Paul Bunyan and Babe statue stood. We went into the museum and shop to browse around a bit and glanced at all the historical photos of characters from the old Wild West including the Indians and other explorers.

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We arrived early but yet late enough to check into our hotel and we dropped off our food and personal items, then headed back out to explore a new area. We returned to a scenic spot we passed by earlier to re-capture a few more photos of these extraordinary vistas and views.

After capturing a few eye catchy coastal view photos, we headed back to our hotel in Arcata, and while on the way we stumbled upon a quaint Mexican restaurant while driving through Eureka. We are usually very hesitant to try new places, but it was a sit down restaurant and we thought we’d give it a try. If you have food allergies or food sensitivities, they will do whatever you ask them to suit your needs. They mentioned to me that most of their sauces contain milk, except for one kind and that is what I chose for my Enchilada sauce. The food and sauces were made of quality ingredients. Hence, our meal did not disappoint, and was very delicious! If you are traveling through this area, you may want to check out this restaurant.
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After inhaling the scrumptious dinner at Tres Pecosos, we thought we would try to seek out another photo op before the sun goes down. A scenic area for a sunset at the beach and coast area would be perfect. But there were still a couple of hours of sunlight and we were just too tired to mill around until sunset so we captured a few stunning shots and made our way back to the hotel and hit the sack.

Sunset at beach area, near Eureka

The excitement level at this time was through the roof

And we had not even made it to the Oregon border yet. We’ve heard the most wonderful things about Oregon and especially about the coastline and its remarkable beauty. We awoke to a morning full of sun and fresh breezes. It was an absolutely beautiful day in Northern California, and we were ready and set to charge our way into another Redwoods area *Jedediah Smith Redwoods SP area and on into Oregon with our excitement level maxed out at this point. We topped off the gas tank and hit the road running. We also noticed that the California Redwoods parks are considered both the National Park and State Park areas.

This particular area of Redwoods is named for an American explorer, Jedediah Strong Smith, who traveled across the lands of the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific coast in the early 1800s. There is also the Smith River that provides such elegant beauty and crystal clear waters.
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Smith River

Side Note: There are a couple things we noticed as we traveled further north along the coast into northern California, Oregon, and Washington. There are several homeless (or look like they were homeless) folks wandering around the streets, parking lots, roadways and highways. We also noticed several folks appear to live in their vehicles and made lengthy stays at every rest area we stopped at. A few rest areas had posted signs that stated parking in this lot for only a minimum number of hours are allowed or vehicle will be towed. We also noticed that free coffee was offered at the rest stops in Oregon and Washington. Another thing we made a note of and something to be aware of is know where your rest stops or bathroom breaks are. The number of rest stops in California seems to be limited and the ones they do have several of them were closed. This is something to keep in mind as you travel on a road trip through California.

We could hardly believe our eyes
As we cruised through the massive Redwood National Park near the Klamath area, and again were in awe. From the enormous trees to the amazing shoreline beach vistas, it was a nature photographers dream.

We finally crossed the California border and into the beautiful state of Oregon. We drove down the roadway for a period of time this morning, and came upon a nice facility that was one of the Oregon Visitor Centers. We used the restrooms, browsed around the shelves full of pamphlets, brochures, and magazines about Oregon. We took a few info brochures, and then spoke with the woman working behind the counter and she provided us a few tips about the scenic stops and photo opportunities along the coast. These are some of those points of interest we made sure to stop and explore as they are described here:

Natural Bridge Cove: Trail

Arch Rock
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Port Orford Heads State Park
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Coos Bay
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Heceta Head Lighthouse (Viewing area)
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Cape Falcon
Tillamook
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A quaint little farming town with an air museum with a large blimp hangar, cheese factories, and agriculture fields.

Cannon Beach

This little beach town was spectacular and was alive! It appeared quite busy for how small it is. Several folks crossing the roads, on sidewalks, restaurant parking lots were full, it seems this beach town jewel had it all going on! The beach is wide and offers quite a scenic treasure accompanied by the large rock formations and is home to the word’s third largest monolith Haystack Rock standing 235 feet high, home for birding and natural beauty wonder. This coastal area made for incredible filming scenes for several movies and films. Examples include The Goonies, Point Break, Free Willy, Overboard, Twilight movies and many more.

As we departed the Cannon Beach area we felt a little sad, as we really wanted to stay longer. But we knew we had to make our way on to Portland, which was our resting point for the night. We proceeded north on highway 101 and reached highway 26 which took us all the way into Portland and definitely did not disappoint, as it was quite a scenic roadway. We enjoyed glancing at the natural surroundings and tree lined road as well as the open fields as we watched the sun set.

We couldn’t have asked for a lovelier day the next day. We woke up to a beautiful Portland morning and hit the road towards Seattle. We arrived in Seattle a handful of hours from Portland and prepared to make our way downtown to find parking. We pre-purchased baseball tickets to see the Seattle Mariners play on July 4th and it was a blast! The stadium was full of cheer, music, excitement, and patriotism!
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Safeco Stadium 4th of July Fly over from McChord Field: C-17 Flyover: WOW!

The Seattle morning offered to us was unbelievable! Full sunshine, blue sky, gorgeous temperatures, and not the Washington temps I remember. (in a good way). (I lived on Whidbey Island, WA 20 years ago).

We walked around the city for a while, then filled the car up with gas and started our return trip. San Francisco was our final stop, return the rental car, and catch a flight home. But of course, before that flight departure, we took in another baseball game and saw the San Francisco Giants play ball! That was certainly a thrill to see! I don’t know how people watch the game when they have such a gorgeous view looking right back at them in the stadium!

Our road trip back through Oregon was sort of a detour path as a result of the fires on I-5 near and around the borders of Oregon and California. Our detour included taking us onto Highway 99 South through several beautiful open landscapes, Mt. Shasta, Diamond Peak Mt., and other gorgeous vistas for our viewing pleasure and an overnight resting stop in Eugene. To cap off the evening, we enjoyed a stunning sunset!
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This coastal road trip was truly a remarkable experience for us! I remember always hearing about Highway 1 and PCH (Pacific Coast Highway); the scenic views, landscapes, and beautiful beach towns along the path. And I have only seen photos of places like Pebble Beach (or watching golf tournaments on TV), but for many years it was just a dream or a thought. It is remarkable that I have lived in the West between California and Washington for more than 20 years and have never driven this route. Well, now it’s not just a dream anymore, it became a reality for this wandering adventurer!
Thank you for reading!

Please follow me and subscribe to my blog and read about more travel, exploration, adventure, and hiking challenges. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you! Contact:

Read my Coastal Road Trip Expedition Part 1: Pebble Beach, Redwoods, & Street Art

Sources:
Avenue of the Giants brochure
California State Map
Oregon state printed informational material

 

5 Beautiful Hikes To Explore In Hawaii

5 Beautiful Yet Moderate Challenging Hikes to Explore While In Hawaii

Does the excitement of exploring a new place thrill you as much as it does me? Just the thought of seeing new landscapes and unfamiliar nature trails can get those butterflies buzzing around in my stomach! Then if you add the adventures and activities planning; whoa, the excitement plunges through the roof! The place that brings an abundance of excitement to me is visiting Hawaii.

Hawaii is such a magical place and presents a vibe that is like no other. While many people think of Hawaii as a place for charming resorts, sparkling swimming pools, and relaxing patios. Hawaii to me is full of nature, beautiful landscapes and adventure. There are so many hiking trails to explore in Hawaii, that we have yet to scrape the top 10 of them yet. So if you are someone who wants to get more out of your visit to Hawaii and create unique extraordinary memories, then you must explore these wonderful yet moderate challenging hiking trails.

  1. Wiliwilinui Ridge Trail: 4.5 mile roundtrip. Elevation 1597 feet  Directions

If you are hungry for a scenic yet challenging and adventurous hike while on your visit to Hawaii, then this one will surely put a smile on your face. We started off the day with a little sun and clouds hoping that the rain might stay away for this particular hike. I don’t know about you, but the word Ridge places just a tiny bit of fear in me being this is the first time we’ve hiked this trail.

Ignoring the on-slot of a bit of fear I seemed to develop, we proceeded to gather our water, hats, sunscreen and sunglasses and piled in the car and drove towards East Honolulu area. Actually, the journey to get to the trailhead was quite spectacular by itself as we cruised to higher altitudes through what seemed to be an upscale neighborhood of homes and hills. I noticed as we reached the trail head there was no guard or official person around at this time, so we proceeded to park in the appropriate designated spots. Usually you do need a permit to park in the designated areas to hike this trail.

The clouds started to build up around us making for a possibly muddy, wet, and slippery hiking experience. Early in the hike, we approached a beautiful canopy of trees of all sizes but mostly tall and large. The wind began to swirl and howl making for an eerie stroll through this part of the trail.WIL NUI 2

As we made our way through the tree tunnels, we encounter some of the challenges and views that this hike presents. The steeper sections of the ridge continue closer and we used the ropes when needed to assist in the climb to the top.

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Williwillinui Hike Trail

 This part of the hiking trail offered a few challenges and obstacles. The rope was very helpful in climbing to the next phase. This trail can be muddy and slippery when it rains, so take it slow and careful and you will gradually make your way to the summit.DSC_0324williwillinui hike1

The views and beauty of the trail aren’t the only things to be excited about. If you blink you may miss some of the most beautiful plants and flowers that are displayed on this adventure nature trail!WILI NUI6WILI NUI 1

Be sure to take a rest on the ‘Swing’ and tree area, and if you are hiking the trail on a weekday, you may be lucky enough to get a seat on the one lonely bench that sits at the summit of the trail. There are 360 views everywhere up here and they are incredible! Hang on to your hat as the winds can be quite wicked up at the top.DSC_0344webDSC_0346_web

  1. Aiea Loop Hiking Trail: 4.8 mile Roundtrip. Elevation 900 Directions

The Aiea Loop trail is located in Aiea – Pearl City area of Honolulu and is an interesting path as you begin at the trailhead located within a park. There are a few scattered picnic tables and the park is quite large in size. The trees are massive and the lemon eucalyptus trees offer a scent of sweet citrus as you ponder further into the trail. There are a few trail road blocks of large tree trunks, and you’ll climb a few steep switchbacks along the loop.

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Aiea Loop Trail

You will catch some views of the freeway H-3 from particular areas on the trail. This trail can also be a little muddy if you experience the hike on a misty or rainy day.

On this trail, I ended up hiking part of it on my own as my husband went on ahead of us, then my in-laws were slowing and I went ahead of them. I was beginning to question if I was going in the right direction at one point and if I might catch up with them or get to the end of the loop. There is an area where one bench sits at peak of a slight climb and elevated area, and I sat there for a moment hoping I wasn’t lost.   I finally came to the end of the loop and saw my in-laws trying to approach the friendly cat that hung around the park that day.IMG_5568 cat This hike is considered an easy hike with a few areas of moderate challenge.

  1. Waimano Falls and Pools Trail: 3 Mile Roundtrip. Waterfall Hike  Directions

This hiking trail was both challenging and rewarding. The trailhead is located near or in the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades.   Parking is limited, so you may wish to start this trail early. The trail begins with a smooth wide pathway of red dirt and rocks with plants lining the path.

As you continue further on the trail, it can become muddy and slippery depending if you hike this one on a misty or rainy day. You’ll have to keep an eye out where you walk and step because there are large tree roots everywhere and the elevation can create a slightly dangerous trail.Waimano Pools Waterfall Trail 4Waimano Pools Waterfall Trail 2
Going downhill may be easy and you can use the tree roots for stepping, but coming back up can get you huffing and puffing. This part of the trail is known as ‘Cardiac Hill’. 20180304_151702web
Again, this trail is really not that difficult, but it becomes slightly dangerous if it’s a rainy or misty day and especially when you are descending down towards the beautiful pools and waterfall, it can be very slippery.

This hike presents a wide variety of plants and trees to ponder over as you slither your way carefully down the path over red dirt hillsides, trees, and slippery mud. I lost the soles of my shoes and mud was everywhere. There are a few spots where you use a rope to help you down steeper rocks or hillside parts of the trail. You may encounter a wild pig or hunters with dogs so just be aware and don’t be alarmed. There are plenty of birds to listen to as they sing and fly from tree limb to limb. The hidden gem on this hike is the infamous Waimano Pools and Waterfall.

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  1. Manoa Falls Hike: 1.6 mile roundrip. Waterfalls (150 feet falls) Directions

If you are looking for an easy yet very rewarding and full of nature and very large trees, then this is the hike for you. At times, this hike can also be slippery and muddy depending on rain. The trees are wide, tall, and giants on this very interesting yet enjoyable trail.

On the day we hiked this trail, the falls didn’t seem as large as I expected, but it is still a beautiful scene of maze and wonder. If you are someone who wants to get away from large crowds and noise, and have a desire to explore and surround yourself with nature, then you’ll have to check this one out. This hike is considered an easy rated trail.

  1. Koko Head Stairs Trail:   1.8 mile roundtrip. Elevation 990   Directions

The spectacular views will not be the only thing that gets your heart racing during this extraordinary hike up the Koko Head stairs.  This climb of approximately 1,050 stairs (or railroad tithes) is a challenge for any exercise enthusiast and will definitely offer a cardio workout like no other. This is rated as difficult.

Koko Head is the eastern side of  Maunalua Bay and the southeastern side of the Island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi. On its western slope is the community of Portlock, a part of Hawaiʻi Kai. You will enjoy wonderful views of Haunama Bay and beyond.  The climb can be grueling and scenic, so its a good idea to take a rest and take in the views.

There is a section where a larger drop to a ridge is located below, so you take your time and go slow if needed. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
You may be huffing and puffing half way up the climb, only to learn you have quite a ways to go and are getting higher.

This is a view from below it may be approximately half way up, but it still looks like there are quite a few steps to go to reach the top. You will be huffing and puffing by this point.

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Koko Head Stairs Hike

There is an no doubt an abundance of excitement and adventurous activities for those thrill seekers visiting Hawaii on travel. But don’t be tempted by those fancy boutique shops, crowds, and lounge bars that bombard you at the tourist beaches. You may want to change your travel strategies to add exploration and hiking to your itinerary.  This will no doubt make the most out of your visit to Hawaii and create remarkable memories.

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When you travel, do you plan for hiking or exploration to be added into your travel itineraries? If yes, which hiking trails or mountains are your favorites and describe them.

I would love to hear from you, please leave comments or contact me via email: fitlife360@yahoo.com.  If you’d like to read and see more hiking and exploratory adventures from around the U.S., please subscribe and / or follow my blog.

Read more about Hawaii:  Hawaii Islands Uncovered

More hiking adventures here: Utah: Arches & Canyonlands

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Hiking adventures Hawaii. http://www.fitlife360.net

 

 

 

4 Great Local Hiking Trails San Diego

If you are lucky enough to live in the Southern California area, you have an over abundance of mountains and hiking trails to fill your days every weekend all year long. If you are on travel or a visitor, then you are in for an adventurous treat. What a privilege it is to have access to places like Iron Mountain, Mt. Woodson, Bernardo Mountain Trail Summit and Nighthawk Trail at your beck and call.

There are several activities to do in California as the climate and culture is conducive to so much activity even in your own back yard at times. Fortunately, in California, there are not really any bad days of weather, so you can basically go on an adventure anytime, any day of the year. I like to go on my hiking adventures on sunny warm days so that I can capture some of the best views and the brightest skies with my cameras.

Here are some great hiking trails that are full of beauty and challenge, yet low to moderate level hiking for those who might be novice.

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Iron Mountain: 6 Miles Elevation 2601 feet

You’ll find this trail head to this beautiful mountain at the intersection of CA- 67 and Poway Road. On the day we hiked it, we had a cool and slightly windy, yet sunny day with a little bit of moisture haze.  The entrance to the trail contains an iron awning that you walk through on a dirt path, then it takes you through a tree tunnel to get your mind set for adventure.

You will continue upward and encounter several rocky switchbacks that lead you to a majestic 360 panoramic views. You can even see parts of downtown San Diego. DSC_0247

Some of the hike can be challenging and you may find yourself huffing and puffing on parts of it, but the challenge to reach the summit and the end result is well worth every step!
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Mt. Woodson: Backside Trail: 4.1 Miles Elevation 1220 feet

We decided to hike the backside trail to see what Mt. Woodson was all about. Especially since we wanted to enjoy a more moderate level trail and not over do it for the weekend. This was a beautiful trail and we were complimented with a gorgeous sunny afternoon too. Parking for this trail is actually along CA-67; and it can be busy so be careful and be patient in looking for space to park.

The trail starts off nice and easy with neat walkways and shrubs and trees shadows.

Then there is some steep inclinations as it reminded me of being on my stair stepper at the gym. I definitely encountered some heavy breathing, but that’s my kind of workout.

Once you reach near the summit, you will see some radio antenna equipment and towers. Just slightly past that area is the infamous Potato Chip Rock,  20180401_164239

and if you hike during the weekend you may encounter a waiting line to step onto the thin appearing but steady rock piece that looks like a potato chip.

This trail receives a lot of visitors; both local and foreign, as it is a very popular hiking trail in the San Diego area.

Bernardo Mountain Summit Hike: 7.1 Miles Elevation 872 feet
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This is an interesting trail that includes a biking option and a walking/biking bridge that stretches across conservation areas. It has plenty of trees and creeks, as well as a picnic area with the sound of birds and water flow of a stream.  20180422_13551720180422_135536

Some parts of the hike flow at the lower crest of homes and properties. Some of the trail includes easy and smooth stepping areas to lose rocks and gravel reaching to small tree and shrub tunnel paths.  20180422_14590420180422_140054

When you reach the summit, you will enjoy the beautiful views of Lake Hodges and tons of rolling hills and other mountains. You may also hear the sounds of speed boats in the distance.

Nighthawk Trail: 5.3 miles Elevation 1210 feet

This trail is located near and around the Black Mountain hiking trails and free parking is available at the Hilltop Community Park, as well as restrooms. This hike is scenic and somewhat noisier. Once you have hiked about a mile into the trail, the sounds from the freeways and park are far in the distance. I consider it a moderate hike with gradual switchbacks leading to the summit, however, much of the trail is comprised of lose rocks and can be a little tricky.

Take extra caution with every step to not twist an ankle or slip. You will also see areas of housing construction in the process in some of your views. But for the most part, the rolling hillsides and landscape are quite breathtaking.

The summit views are quite beautiful. As you reach the summit, however, there are large tower antennas and structures to pass. This hike is great for a weekend wandering or exploration. 20180429_15444320180429_16043320180429_151009

So, if you are always searching for adventure and activities to fill your weekend or if you have visitors in town, these hikes are fantastic to explore! They have an easy to moderate level rating, and the hiking trails offer spectacular views and interesting landscapes!

Be bold and go outside and explore! Life Maximized!