Falls Trail Loop at Mount Diablo

For anyone who has hiked in Mount Diablo’s blistering summer heat, it seems almost impossible that there could be even a single waterfall on that mountain, much less an entire trail dedicated to numerous falls.  The Falls Trail is a 1.15 mile point-to-point trail located somewhere amongst the maze of paths on Mount Diablo’s north slope.  We hiked the Falls Trail as part of a 7-mile loop, beginning and ending at the Mitchell Canyon Visitor Center. Continue reading “Falls Trail Loop at Mount Diablo”

Mount Diablo’s Four Summits

This is probably one of, if not the most difficult day hike in the Bay Area. Reaching all four of Diablo’s summits requires a full day – it’s 15 strenuous miles with over 6000-ft of elevation gain. We knocked this out in 8 hours. And yes, my legs hurt the next day. Continue reading “Mount Diablo’s Four Summits”

Cataract Trail Loop

Cataract Falls is a mile long series of small cascades, tumbling through a steep redwood-lined gully in the Mount Tamalpais watershed.  The Cataract Trail loop is about 7 miles, beginning at the falls and ending at the falls.  This is the kind of trail that’s perfect for a rainy day when you’re itching to get outside. Continue reading “Cataract Trail Loop”

Stebbins Cold Canyon after the Wragg Fire

On a Wednesday afternoon last July, I had just gotten home from work when I noticed the sky to the west was filled with smoke. It didn’t take long to figure out that this was a wildfire somewhere near Lake Berryessa. The Wragg Fire would go on to burn more than 8000 acres in Napa and Solano Counties, including most of the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve. We’ve been hiking the trails in and around this area for several years, so we’ve become quite familiar with Cold Canyon. Today we had the opportunity to go behind the gates and see some of the fire damage. Continue reading “Stebbins Cold Canyon after the Wragg Fire”

Smittle Creek Trail

Smittle Creek might be the least exciting hike we’ve gone on this year. I think it has the potential to be really nice – if Lake Berryessa had more water in it and if the hills were green, things would look very different. Nevertheless, with Stebbins Cold Canyon still closed to the public after the Wragg Fire, we’ve been driving a little further to find new trails. Despite the somewhat drab landscape, I actually really enjoyed this trip. The soft dirt trail is perfect for running. We also found it to be incredibly quiet and peaceful: very few people visit Lake Berryessa this time of year. Continue reading “Smittle Creek Trail”

Hiking the Lost Coast Trail

The Lost Coast is the most rugged, undeveloped stretch of coastline in California. There are no highways or major roads in the area.  It was named the “Lost Coast” after the region experienced depopulation in the 1930’s, but the name still seems appropriate today considering the isolated nature of the place. Continue reading “Hiking the Lost Coast Trail”

Kings Creek Falls Trail

A waterfall hike might not be the first thing that comes to mind in the midst of a severe drought. Nevertheless, after hiking the Lassen Peak Trail, we decided to check out the nearby Kings Creek Falls and upper cascades.  We were pleasantly surprised by the amount of water in Kings Creek. Continue reading “Kings Creek Falls Trail”

Hiking Lassen Peak

Lassen Peak (10,457′)  is the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range.  It last erupted 100 years ago in 1915.  Despite spewing volcanic ash as far as 200 miles away, this most recent eruption is considered very small.  Fortunately for us, volcanoes don’t explode without warning and the USGS now monitors Lassen very closely.  The trail to the top of the peak is one of the more popular hikes in the park.  Most of the trail is above tree-line and the views are stunning. Continue reading “Hiking Lassen Peak”

Mount Agassiz & Mount Price – Desolation Wilderness

Pyramid Peak gets all the attention, but its two sisters in the Crystal Range are definitely worth a visit.  Mount Price (9975′) and Mount Agassiz (9967′) can easily be hiked in one day. The Lyons Creek trailhead offers a direct approach to both peaks from the west side.  The roundtrip hike is approximately 13 miles with over 3000-ft of elevation gain. Continue reading “Mount Agassiz & Mount Price – Desolation Wilderness”