All Stories from Northern CA

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    Wanda-ful Hike

    When John Muir wasn’t trekking the Sierra, he could usually be found hiking near his home in Martinez, at Mount Wanda, named for his daughter.

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    Bridge the Distance

    You like a good trail mix? Hike a blend of ridgetop rambling, bridge and bay views, and a eucalyptus forest at Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline.

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    Hill Yeah!

    The East Bay's Crockett Hills Regional Park has a 3-mile loop overflowing with rolling landscape and beautiful scenery.

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    Ride the Redwoods to Wine

    Bike riding: fun. Wine tasting: fun. Combining both: really fun! Make it a 6-mile (round-trip) afternoon of biking and wine-tasting and redwood forests, starting in downtown Guerneville.

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    Hike the Islands in the Sky

    Redwoods and ridgelines and phenomenal views of the Pacific: Get to Duncans Mills and hike the Islands in the Sky Vista Loop, a 4-mile charmer in Sonoma Coast State Park.

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    Seat at the Top Table

    It just might be the best view in Napa. At 4.5 miles (round-trip) the hike to Table Rock overlook isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s well worth it, packing in plenty of highlights, especially the marquee destination: Table Rock.

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    Secret Stash of Redwoods

    Located in the tiny town of Angwin, Pacific Union College has 864 acres of forest that are now open to the public for hiking.

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    Ciao Bello!

    Rising 2,800 feet over the Peninsula’s Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, Black Mountain quietly stands watch over the South Bay. The 2-mile exposed hiking trail is a feast for the eyes.

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    Big Sky, Lodi

    In winter millions of birds in winter travel the Pacific Flyway, a major north-south migration route that includes a stop at the Cosumnes River Preserve just north of Lodi.

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    Big Love!

    Every year in winter elephant seals converge on one of their favorite breeding grounds, 13 miles south of Pescadero on the San Mateo coast: Año Nuevo State Park.

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    Owl Be there

    The Owl Trail, Marin’s swooping seashore tramp, offers the chance to spy migrating gray whales offshore, and sightings of the trail’s namesake, great horned owls.

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    The Ryan King

    At 5,456 feet, the summit of Ryan Mountain has the best view in the park. Its brilliant panoramic expanse, spanning desert to mountains, and—bonus—late afternoons can feature a sky tinged with lavender thanks to the low-sitting sun.

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    Split Decision

    Joshua Tree is famous for its namesake trees but it's also got some big-ass boulders! We're talking size-of-a-building boulders. See them on an off-the-beaten-path hike along the Split Rock Trail.

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    Trio of Trails

    Get into Joshua Tree National Park Park early and hit the classic circuit of short trails before the crowds arrive. We also have some food and overnight recos.

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    Drive-In Whale Watching

    Just north of Point Reyes, Bodega Head sits high on the tip of a curving, thumb-like peninsula and offers excellent whale watching in winter.

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    Star This!

    Twelve miles north of Fort Bragg on the Mendocino Coast, Pacific Star Winery has interesting wines and a picnic area ideal for whale watching.

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    That's the Point!

    Mori Point, an exposed promontory in Pacifica with stunning ocean views, is fantastic for winter whale watching.

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    Follow @WeekendSherpa

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    Opt for Oljon

    There's a new hiking trail among the redwoods at El Corte Madera Creek Preserve in the South Bay.

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