All "Hikes" Stories in Southern CA

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    Down by the River

    Carmel might be one of the best-known enclaves in the Monterey area, but its nearby Carmel River State Beach is much more of a local’s secret—especially the southern end of it. On this short and easy 1.5-mile (round-trip) walk, you’ll be right beside the crashing Pacific until…

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    No Ordinary Beach

    Want a beach that will really get you away from it all? Fort Ord Dunes State Park is just the ticket. This relative newcomer to the state park system gives an impressive perspective of the half moon–shaped Monterey Bay. Get a great view of it from the main parking lot and try to…

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    Walk on the Wild Side

    Joshua Tree’s California Riding and Hiking Trail traverses 35 miles through the entire park, but you don’t have to hike all of it to see the good stuff. Get up close and personal with the park’s quirky namesake trees on a moderate out-and-back route starting from Ryan Campground…

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    Take the High Road

    You don’t have to rock climb to reach a brilliant panorama of Joshua Tree. A 3-mile (round-trip) hike up Ryan Mountain takes you to one of the highest peaks in the park. The trail is uphill from the get-go. Begin by following stone steps constructed from nearby rock that lead to…

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    That's A-Morro!

    Most swing sets are found in a playground, but this set of swings is found in a grove of large eucalyptus trees overlooking one of San Luis Obispo’s iconic formations: Morro Rock, the northernmost of the ancient volcanoes dubbed Nine Sisters and the only one that emerges from the…

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    Swinging Single

    San Luis Obispo’s “serenity swing” earns honors for living up to its name and meeting high expectations! The swing hangs from a large, lone oak tree secluded on top of a hill high above Poly Canyon. Reaching it requires hiking up to one of the most (yes) serene settings on the…

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    Sister Act

    Nine sisters makes a big family, and it’s even better when they’re all good looking! San Luis Obispo is surrounded by nine ancient volcanoes known as morros, and affectionately called the Nine Sisters. For one of the best views of this family portrait, go on a challenging 5-mile…

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    Swinging Single

    San Luis Obispo’s “serenity swing” earns honors for living up to its name and meeting high expectations! The swing hangs from a large, lone oak tree secluded on top of a hill high above Poly Canyon. Reaching it requires hiking up to one of the most (yes) serene settings on the…

    View
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    Sister Act

    Nine sisters makes a big family, and it’s even better when they’re all good looking! San Luis Obispo is surrounded by nine ancient volcanoes known as morros, and affectionately called the Nine Sisters. For one of the best views of this family portrait, go on a challenging 5-mile…

    View
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    Best Supporting Background

    The acclaimed movie Wild cast a big Hollywood spotlight on the Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,660-mile route up the western states between the Mexican and Canadian borders. Hike a fantastic local slice (0.12%, to be precise) of the epic journey on a challenging 6.4-mile (round-trip…

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    Hero's Welcome

    If you’re looking for solitude at Runyon Canyon Park, you’re in the wrong place. With a central location, knock-out views of Los Angeles, off-leash hiking areas for dogs, and trails to tone the thighs, the park is popular. But if you’re more into a workout and less into the…

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    Solitary Solstice

    Malibu’s Solstice Canyon often teems with visitors, and for good reason: its leafy ravine leads to a year-round waterfall and the captivating ruins of a home lost to a 1982 wildfire. See the sights but lose the crowds on a 3.2-mile out-and-back hike. Five hundred feet above the…

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    Undercover Wilacre

    Wilacre Park’s Betty B. Dearing Trail is almost always packed. But there’s an unnamed path paralleling it that feels near empty in comparison. Instead of battling the masses at the Laurel Canyon trailhead, park for free at Tree People, an environmental nonprofit off Mulholland…

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    Gray Area

    Honking, quacking, whistling … we’re not talking about a raucous night in the city. We’re talking about an absolute bonanza of bird species when you visit Gray Lodge Wildlife Area, 50 miles north of Sacramento in the heart of the Pacific Flyway. Every winter more than a million…

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    Aye Aye Capitan

    It’s the world’s largest granite monolith: gray and hulking and a spectacle for visitors who marvel at its massiveness (3,000 vertical feet of sheer rock!) and at the pro climbers who conquer it. El Capitan has been in the headlines a lot recently since Tommy Caldwell and Kevin…

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    Ocean Sunrise

    Catch a sunrise at Point Dume Nature Preserve's vantage in Malibu. Watch the sky and ocean's transformation from grey to pink.

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    Top of the Morning

    Secluded at 1,500 feet in the Santa Monica Mountains, Tuna Canyon Park in Malibu is quiet even on a gorgeous Saturday afternon, its stunning ocean views shared by few hikers. But visit at sunrise and the park feels truly wild: Rustling trees, singing birds, and scampering animals…

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    Echo Friendly

    Music, art, hills, and hipsters. Get in on the scene—and the scenery—with an urban hike in Echo Park. This casual stroll features the Clinton Street Stairway, a stately mural-cloaked set of concrete steps leading you from Glendale Avenue up to Belmont Avenue. The din of traffic…

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    Urban Gone Wild

    A cardio climb up a mountain. Check. Stunning views. Check. And located right in LA? How very chic! Urban hiking has a wild side and the proof is on Mount Washington just northeast of downtown LA. This 4-mile loop traverses Mount Washington and its up-and-coming neighborhood…

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    Coast Is Crystal Clear

    Captivating coastline, charming cottages, clear waters, and quaint wooden staircases: It’s just another day at the beach on this  6-mile (round-trip) seaside stroll in Crystal Cove State Park. Located between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach, this wild and beautiful state park has…

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