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”

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”

Tinker Knob in the Winter

When our friends booked out the Lost Trail Lodge for a weekend, we jumped at the opportunity to explore some new terrain. Apparently it’s called the Lost Trail because nobody goes there. I can confirm that very few people venture back in Coldstream Canyon, compared to other places in the Tahoe area. The only tracks we followed all day were from snowmobiles. Continue reading “Tinker Knob in the Winter”

Sykes Hot Springs

The shortest route to Sykes Hot Springs is a 10 mile trek along the Pine Ridge Trail. The springs are deep in the Ventana Wilderness, but a visit to Sykes is not much of a wilderness experience at all. On any given weekend, dozens (if not hundreds) of people are out on this trail with Sykes as their destination. Continue reading “Sykes Hot Springs”

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”