Alta Peak – Sequoia National Park

Distance: 17 MilesElevation Gained: 4,500'Difficulty: StrenuousTime: 7:15Critters: Marmots, DeerPros:- Easily accessible peak and high country on the west side of the Sierras- Incredible views of the High Sierras and Great Western DivideCons:- Getting lost and not making it through Giant Forest sucked quite a bit- Finishing the hike lost and having to walk a mile …

Mt. San Antonio (Baldy)

Distance: 11.2 MilesElevation Gain: 3,900'Difficulty: StrenuousTime: 7:30Critters: chipmunks, squirrelsPros:- incredible mountain topography, including precarious drops, stellar views, mixed-conifer forest, alpine forest, waterfalls.- Highest peak in L.A. County- Flat-out awesome.- Wind!Cons:- WIND!!!- A lot of smog in the L.A. Basin Details:Mt. Baldy Fire Road - Devil's Backbone Trail - Baldy Bowl Trail Wow.Just wow. This phenomenal …

Cucamonga Peak

Distance: 13.8 MilesElevation gained: 4,400'Difficulty: StrenuousTime: 6:45Critters: Manic chipmunksPros:- Beautiful mountain riparian environment at Icehouse Canyon- Unique views of the San Gabriels- Views of the Inland Empire (sort of)- Challenging and rewarding hikeCons:- Air pollution spoils the view of the Inland Empire and neighboring mountain ranges- Chapman Trail could have been left out- Having to …

Mt. San Jacinto

Marion Mountain Trail - Pacific Crest Trail - Summit Trail - Fuller Ridge TrailDistance: 13.3 MilesElevation Gained: 4,800'Difficulty: StrenuousTime: 8:55Critters: Deer, squirrels, chipmunks, an owlPros:- Epic mountain scenery- Epic views- Epic, epic, epicCons:- Trails were frequently lost due to heavy snowDetails:I've never climbed a mountain before. Sure, I've climbed peaks. I've chugged up huge slopes. …

Berry Creek Falls Loop and Pine Mountain

Campground Connector Trail - Redwood Trail - Sunset Trail - Berry Creek Falls Trail - Skyline to the Sea Trail - Bubbs Creek Trail - Pine Mountain Trail.Distance: Berry Creek Falls Loop - 12 Miles               Pine Mountain - 5.2 MilesElevation Gained: 700', 1,200' Difficulty: Strenuous, ModerateTime: 6:15 (Berry Creek), 3:12 (Pine Mountain)Critters: NonePros: - Great trees, …

Backpacking on the Skyline to the Sea Trail

Skyline to the Sea Trail - Redwood Loop - Campground Connector TrailDistance: 13.8 Miles (Day 1)                13 Miles (Day 3)Elevation Gained: 1,300' (Day 1)                               300 (Day 3)Difficulty: StrenuousTime: 6:57 (Day 1)          6:17 (Day 2)Critters: 28 Newts, Banana SlugsPros: - Stunning scenery from the beach, the transition from beach to redwood forest, and a deep, old-growth …

Santiago Peak

Trabuco Creek Road - Holy Jim Trail - Main Divide Road - Holy Jim Falls TrailDistance: 18.8Elevation Gain: 4,100'Difficulty: Strenuous (but you should call a therapist about that masochistic streak)Time: 6:50Critters: A salamander, a gopher snake, hawks, rabbits, squirrels, teenagers.Pros:- From a central location in the SoCal area, you can experience epic views of every …

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 …

Mt. Wilson

Chantry Flats - Gabrieleno Trail - Sturtevant Trail - Sierra Madre Trail - Old Toll Road - Upper Winter Creek TrailDifficulty: StrenuousDistance: 14.6 MilesElevation gain: 4,000 feet.Critters seen: a thriving community of grey squirrelsEven though I've been hiking for years, I still don't really feel like I've been "hiking." Crazy to say since I've been all …