All Stories from Northern CA

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    Thank You to Our 2020 Team

    Thank you to our wonderful 2020 team for bringing the great outdoors home in a most challenging year. Meet our contributors and get ideas from their personal favorite CA adventures this year.

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    It Takes a Hidden Villa

    Adorable farm animals and peaceful hiking trails: Now that's some comfort and joy. Visit Hidden Villa in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, hike to South Bay vistas and see animal cuteness.

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    Tamtastical Hike

    This 6.8-mile loop through the woods and ridges that make up the northern foothills of Tam offer the best of both worlds: solitude and grandeur. Enjoy quiet trails, tranquil forest, and big views.

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    Hawk-Eyed Sunset

    It's one of the best sunset spots in the Bay Area. And Hawk Hill in the Marin Headlands is quieter than usual this year because of few tourists. Enjoy a sweeping panorama 923 feet above the Pacific.

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    Wander Among the Mistletoe

    This 2.7-mile loop through the East Bay’s Pleasanton Ridge Regional Park is brimming with a holiday staple: mistletoe.

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    Hiking Forecast: Windy

    Fall colors in mid-December? They're fully showing off at Windy Hill Preserve in the South Bay. We recommend a 6.2-mile loop that starts and finishes at its namesake summit, where sunsets dazzle.

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    Sweet Roll El Dorado

    Step out of the car and onto a biking trail that resembles fall in Vermont. Just 40 miles from Sacramento, the El Dorado Trail in Placerville is a multi-use trail through with 12.5 paved miles.

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    Through the Grapevine

    Cycle California’s most famous wine valley on the car-free Vine Trail, an ambitious project going through the heart of Napa Valley. Park your car and ride 6 miles from Napa to Yountville for lunch.

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    Bike to the Brews and Views

    An island city on San Francisco Bay, Alameda is home to a craft beer and spirits boom that has a firm foothold in its industrial westside. Ride your bike from Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach to Faction Brewing.

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    A Very Reno Winter

    You’ve never had a winter vacation like Reno Tahoe! The Biggest Little City in the World is also one of the best winter basecamps. The Truckee River flows right through its lively Riverwalk District.

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    Full Suspension Ahead

    See fall colors and the beautiful Angkula Seo Suspension Bridge on this easy 2-mile loop hike through the Nisenan Tribute Site located just outside of Nevada City. There's plenty of history within.

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    Oh Hill Yes!

    California's closest thing to fall in New England is 40 miles from Sacramento. Apple Hill near Placerville is a collection of over 50 local farms, ranches, trails, and wineries. Tasty times ahead!

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    Light of Los Trancos

    In autumn, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve lights up with orange-red maples, yellow hazelnut, and deciduous oaks, making this 2.5-mile hike in the Santa Cruz mountains a wonder-fall destination.

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    Historically Serene

    Olompali State Historic Park is a small park that packs big California history. Go on a mostly easy 3-mile loop hike where oak trees, big-leaf maples, and madrones are stunning in autumn.

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    Refreshingly Different

    Reno Tahoe is where America’s largest alpine lake meets the Biggest Little City in the World. Easily access the best ski resorts (and hot springs!) and have urban adventures at your fingertips.

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    Muir Woods Through the Backdoor

    A backdoor entrance into Muir Woods? Hike a tranquil trail that starts in Mount Tamalpais State Park and quietly leads into Muir Woods, letting you avoid the busyness of the main parking area.

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    Forest Bathe Under the Redwoods

    Giant Douglas firs and a peaceful madrone- and tanoak-studded forest make the hiking at Sanborn County Park sublime, but there’s an added majesty here thanks to the Todd Creek Redwoods Grove.

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    Sutro Noir

    San Francisco’s Sutro Baths take on a novel mystique under a full moon, especially if the fog rolls in. Hike among these famous ruins, said to be one of San Francisco’s most ghostly places.

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    Hike and Seek

    This 2.1-mile hike in McClellan Ranch Preserve near downtown Cupertino has quiet nature, historic ranch buildings, wildlife-watching, fall color, and Stevens Creek.

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    Opt for Oursan

    Hike the trail less traveled in the East Bay's Briones Regional Park. The Oursan Trail is pure serenity on a wide hiking path skirting the northern shores of Briones Reservoir.