Spitler and Apache Peaks

Spitler and Apache Peaks are two prominent bumps standing at 7,500′ on the Desert Divide, which includes the southern portion of the San Jacinto Mountain range. This portion of the range gets its name from the fact that it separates two distinct desert environments contained in the Coachella Valley and the Anza Valley. Distance: 13.1 […]

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Cuyamaca Rancho State Park: Oakzanita Peak, Granite Springs, East Mesa, Dyar Springs

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park comprises one of the largest public parks in Southern California. It features mountains topping out at 6,500′, rolling meadows, shady canyons, rare cypresses, and a plethora of wildlife. There is a vast network of trails that can create easy hikes, masochistic hikes, and everything inbetween. Distance: 12 MilesElevation Gained: 1,600′Difficulty: Moderately […]

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Sitton Peak

This relatively modest peak in the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains features great views of the ocean, and, when it’s clear, the San Bernadino Mountains, Palomar Mountains, Los Angeles and Orange County Basins, and Catalina Island. Distance: 9.5 MilesElevation Gained: 2,150′Difficulty: Moderately StrenuousTime: 3:45Critters: Squirrels, birds, hawks Get there like this.  The Santa […]

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Relict Species: Giant Sequoia

Relict, n: a remnant or survivor.Species, n: a distinct sort or kind Giant Sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) There comes a point when using words to describe something becomes futile. There usually follows a point where one will try to make analogies or metaphors to try to get at the essence of a thing, while foregoing direct verbal description. When that […]

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Giant Forest Snowshoeing

Giant Forest is the heart of arguably the best Sequoia grove within what is one of the greatest forests of North America. The mixed-conifer forests in the middle elevations of the Sierras feature some of the largest and most beautiful trees in the country, and this more apparent here than anywhere else. Drop several feet […]

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Marble Falls Trail

The Marble Falls Trail leads to the cascading Marble Fork of the Kaweah River in a deep gorge just west from Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. While the park is famous for the big trees and the high country, this trail features the foothills, which include chaparral, riparian, and oak woodland ecosystems. Distance: 4.8Elevation […]

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Batiquitos Lagoon

Batiquitos Lagoon is an easily accessible, well-maintained, and extremely popular trail that runs along the northern side of the tidal lagoon and adjacent salt marsh ecosystem. While you will never get a true sense of solitude here, it has great value as a convenient, relaxing respite from urban noise and stress. Distance: 3.5 Miles Elevation […]

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Whale Peak

Whale Peak stands as a botanical island in the sky amidst the scorched, barren wastelands of the Anza-Borrego desert. Representing the high point of the Vallecito Mountains, Whale Peak supports a thriving pinyon-juniper woodland, which is more common to the higher elevations of the Mojave Desert and eastern sides of the Sierra Nevadas. Flora aside, […]

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