Black Mountain

Santa Ysabel Road - Black Mountain Truck TrailDistance: 14.2 MilesElevation Gain: 3100'Difficulty: StrenuousTime: 4:50Critters: A bobcat, a flock of quail, hawks, a momma duck protecting her nest, squirrelsPros:- Unique views of east San Diego County mountains, including Palomar, Volcan, Cuyamaca, Woodson, and Hot Springs Mountain.- Great early spring wildflower display- gentle incline for much of …

Backpacking in Santa Anita Canyon

First Water Trail - Gabrielino Trail - Rim Trail - Sturtevant Trail - Lower Winter Creek TrailDistance: Day 1 - 5.2 Miles               Day 2 - 13.5 MilesElevation Gain: 4,100' totalDifficulty: StrenuousCritters: A thriving grey squirrel populationPros: - Easily accessible from Los Angeles- Beautiful forest set along a stream- A sense of being a world apart …

Mt. Lukens

Haines Canyon Road/Motorway/Trail - Rim of the Valley RoadDistance: 11.8 Miles (11.4 if you don't go the wrong way.)Elevation gain: 3,200'Difficulty: Moderately StrenuousTime: 4 hours, 34 minutesCritters: quailHow to Get There: Take the 405 north to the 118 East. Transition to the 210 East. Exit Sunland Ave, and make a left on Foothill Blvd. Make …

Laguna Mountains

Big Laguna Trail - Pacific Crest Trail - Noble Canyon Trail - Sunrise TrailDistance: 12 Miles (approximately)Elevation gain: 900 feetDifficulty: Moderately StrenuousTime: 4 hours, 45 minutesCritters: hawks, rabbits, squirrels, bluebirdsYou Should Know: The Lagunas are part of Cleveland National Forest, and you will need an Adventure Pass to park here. Pros: Expansive desert viewsRelatively flat as …

Palomar Mountain State Park

Boucher Hill - Cedar Trail - Doane Pond and Lower Doane Valley - Chimney Flat.Difficulty: EasyDistance: 5 Miles (approximate)Critters Spotted: 15 mule deerTo kick off 2012, Kelly and I headed up to Palomar Mountain State Park for the fledgling tradition of a New Year's Day hike. We arrived at Silvercrest Picnic area  around 11:something in …