Sespe Wilderness Loop

The Gene Marshall – Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail, Johnston Ridge and the Sespe River Trail

It’s been about 6 years since we lived near the southern Los Padres National Forest. We were overdue for a vacation, so we decided to take a few days off work and pay a visit to one of our favorite hiking destinations: the Sespe Wilderness. The trail was pretty rough – not sure this was the most relaxing vacation – but it was good to get out. Continue reading “Sespe Wilderness Loop”

Pleasants Ridge – Putah Creek Wildlife Area

Pleasants Ridge is one of those trails I’ve passed by and ignored on many occasions.  We are frequent visitors to the Stebbins Cold Canyon Loop, but we rarely branch out to any of the other trails in the area. The Pleasants Ridge hike starts at the same trailhead – just off of Highway 128 in the Putah Creek Wildlife Area. Roundtrip distance is about 2 or 3 miles, depending on how far you want to go. We followed the trail to the end of the ridge. The last half mile or so is very overgrown and does not see a lot of visitors. Continue reading “Pleasants Ridge – Putah Creek Wildlife Area”

Artist Point from Bridalveil Fall Trailhead


I feel like I shouldn’t be writing about this hike. Hiking in California can be so crowded sometimes, especially in a place like Yosemite. It’s great that so many people can come see this natural wonder in our backyard, but sometimes it would be nice if the trails weren’t so busy. When you discover a trail with as much solitude as this one, it’s tempting to keep it to yourself. On the one hand, this trail isn’t a big secret – you can actually see it from the highway. And as far as my feelings on crowds go, I’m just lucky to have such easy access to an amazing place that many people travel halfway around the world to see.

Continue reading “Artist Point from Bridalveil Fall Trailhead”

Ropi Lake via Horsetail Falls – Desolation Wilderness

This hike is 6-ish difficult miles beginning at the Pyramid Creek trailhead on Highway 50, with about 1900 feet of elevation gain. The unmaintained trail goes past Horsetail Falls (a neat destination itself) up to several beautiful lakes in Desolation Wilderness.


I’ve been wanting to hike up Pyramid Peak for quite some time, but it just hasn’t happened (yet). On the occasions I have planned to do this hike, I’ve been stopped by major thunderstorms or crazy gusts of wind. This weekend, the weather was looking pretty perfect, but with a late start and the days already getting shorter, we didn’t make it up the peak. I will get there eventually.  Instead, we hiked up to some high alpine lakes and enjoyed a beautiful and relaxing October day in Desolation Wilderness. Continue reading “Ropi Lake via Horsetail Falls – Desolation Wilderness”

Peak 4864

Peak 4864 is the highest point in the Santa Ynez range (the range of peaks closest to the coast, from northern Ventura County up to Goleta). So naturally, I decided we should climb it. According to Wikipedia, this is one of the few east-west trending mountain ranges in the U.S. – makes sense since the “west coast” for this part of California is really to the South. Continue reading “Peak 4864”

Blue Ridge – Fiske Peak Loop Trail

Basics: This 17+ mile loop on BLM land travels along Blue Ridge, then descends and winds through Fiske Creek’s riparian canyon. This trail would be difficult on a hot summer day, but it is a great winter hike with expansive views. Continue reading “Blue Ridge – Fiske Peak Loop Trail”