A day of solitude surrounded by miles of untouched wilderness and snow capped peaks, all contained in a Sunday hike in LA’s backyard. Even I didn’t think that was possible.
Hiking on the west side of Mount Whitney gives an entirely different perspective on a popular region dominated by the lower 48’s highest mountain. Jagged 14,000 foot peaks, crystal clear lakes, sprawling alpine meadows, and beautiful mountain basins dot a vast landscape that is seldom visited by hikers outside of the narrow confines of the JMT.
We concluded our family weekend in the Sierra with a day hike to the Treasure Lakes near Bishop. This is another short trail that gives hikers a great taste of the High Sierra without too much effort.
We returned to the mountains this past weekend for another taste of early summer in the High Sierra. This time, the whole family tagged along and we did some more family friendly dayhikes out of Owen’s Valley. Our first hike was in Little Lakes Valley, which is one of the easiest access points to the High Sierra and also one of the range’s flattest trails. It’s the perfect trail for someone’s first trip to the Sierra.
This trip was the two year anniversary of Callie’s first backpacking trip and the launch of CaliTrails. We celebrated the occasion by taking our first backpacking trip of the year on one of the Sierra’s best dog friendly trails.
The Sierra season is quickly approaching, so Callie and I took advantage of one last opportunity to get a big training hike in before the summer’s adventures begin. Our destination this time was the San Bernardino Peak trail, a first for both of us but definitely not our last. With gorgeous open views and very few hikers to contend with, this is a fantastic trail to hike with your dog.
With the suburban sprawl of the Inland Empire surrounding its west side and plush resorts in Palm Springs flanking the east, San Jacinto State Park provides a convenient refuge for Los Angeles hikers looking for an escape from the grid. Most visitors access the park via a tram that ascends from Palm Springs for close to a mile of elevation gain to an altitude of 8516 feet. On the opposite side of the mountain, a number of trails offer more ambitious and desolate routes to the summit. The Marion Mountain trail is probably the most popular of those routes, and with good reason. It’s a phenomenal hike that at times feels more like the Sierra than a local LA trail.
About an hour west of Los Angeles, Sandstone Peak features a dazzling vista of the Pacific that rivals any view that I’ve seen in Southern California.
Tucked away on the northern side of the San Gabriel mountains, the Devil’s Punchbowl is one of LA’s best kept secrets. The juxtaposition of mountain scenery with desert geology gives it the type of rich diversity that defines California’s landscape.