Rockbound Pass: Desolation’s Desolate Side

Desolation Wilderness is one of the most heavily used wilderness areas in the country. It can be difficult to find solitude, especially if you’re hiking to Lake Aloha or up Pyramid Peak on a summer weekend. The hike over Rockbound Pass is far less crowded than many of the trails on the eastern side of the wilderness. This 24-mile loop offers some of Desolation’s best scenery with numerous alpine lakes and stunning views of the Crystal Range. Continue reading “Rockbound Pass: Desolation’s Desolate Side”

Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Loop

On August 21st at about 10 in the morning, the moon cast its shadow across northern Oregon. In the weeks leading up to this solar eclipse, several unfortunate events caused the closure of virtually all designated wilderness areas along the PCT in the path of totality. (The excuse was fire danger, but it was most likely due to the hysteria surrounding the apocalyptic amount of visitors Oregon was predicting for the eclipse.) We had originally planned to be somewhere on the PCT, but in a short amount of time we needed to come up with an alternative. With the help of Google Maps, we randomly settled on the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. Continue reading “Strawberry Mountain Wilderness Loop”

Carson Pass to Lost Lakes

The area surrounding Carson Pass is beautiful and far less crowded than the neighboring Lake Tahoe basin. This hike follows the Pacific Crest Trail, climbing the ridge under Elephants Back, through the Mokelumne Wilderness and into the heart of Toiyabe National Forest. In late summer, it’s possible to reach the Lost Lakes with an OHV. If you’re on foot, it’s best to visit when snow still covers the dirt road. We planned our hike for July 4th weekend- when Tahoe is overrun with visitors- and we found plenty of solitude. Continue reading “Carson Pass to Lost Lakes”

Murietta Falls

Murietta Falls. Other hiking blogs have referred to it as a “regional gem.” That might be true, but it’s certainly no Yosemite Falls. While the waterfall itself might leave a little to be desired, the hike is appealing: it’s incredibly steep (a good challenge!) and it provides nice views of the East Bay. Continue reading “Murietta Falls”

Western States Trail: Michigan Bluff to Deadwood

This hike is a workout. And if you want more of a challenge, try running it. The route follows a section of the Western States Trail: home to the Western States 100 Endurance Run. In addition to hosting the world’s oldest 100-mile ultramarathon, the trail from Michigan Bluff to Deadwood is on the National Register of Historic Places. It follows the old supply route between the mining towns of Michigan Bluff, Deadwood and Last Chance. Continue reading “Western States Trail: Michigan Bluff to Deadwood”

Snowshoeing to the Peter Grubb Hut

April 1st marks the average maximum snowpack date for most years in the Sierra. In other words, if you want to see the most possible snow on the ground in California, early April is probably a good time to head to the mountains. The Peter Grubb hut is one of several old Sierra Club huts around the Tahoe region. It’s a relatively easy hike and in winter, it makes for a great ski or snowshoe trek. Continue reading “Snowshoeing to the Peter Grubb Hut”

Las Trampas Regional Wilderness: Rocky Ridge View Trail

It wouldn’t be an East Bay Regional Park if there weren’t cattle grazing alongside the trail. Despite the cows, Las Trampas¬†is a nice park. It offers easy access to a large network of trails in steep terrain. It’s particularly scenic in the winter when the grass is green.¬† Continue reading “Las Trampas Regional Wilderness: Rocky Ridge View Trail”

Death Valley: Charcoal Kilns to Bennett Peak

Camping in the winter? Yes! Death Valley National Park is the hottest and driest place in North America, making winter an ideal time to visit. While Bennett Peak (9980′) can be hiked year round, it is especially impressive on a clear winter day when there is snow on the ground. From the top, one can see the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States. Continue reading “Death Valley: Charcoal Kilns to Bennett Peak”

Dipsea, Steep Ravine and Matt Davis Trail Loop

A good friend of ours is moving back to the East Coast this week. She wanted to spend one of her last few weekends in California seeing some sights. It’s a long drive to Stinson Beach (from almost anywhere), but this hike was a great choice. It has redwoods, waterfalls and ocean views. All very California. Continue reading “Dipsea, Steep Ravine and Matt Davis Trail Loop”