Hiking

California poppies scatter the walking trail along Ring Mountain in San Francisco

Spring flowers may be the primary product of April showers according to conventional wisdom, and in the hills and green belt areas that ring the San Francisco Bay Area there are plenty of those. But another result of all that water is, well…. more water than most of us are used to. Which means certain types of wildflowers, particularly the delicate ones that like marshy meadows and moist crevices are blooming in abundance. It also means creeks and streams are running higher than usual — though sadly, that hasn’t brought the spawning salmon back — and waterfalls are absolutely spectacular.

When you’re cultured out and ready to take a break from San Francisco’s overwhelming wealth of arty neighborhoods and eclectic restaurants, all it takes is a quick spin north or east and you’re alone under big skies. Here are three of my favorite wildflower hikes, all within an hour’s drive of San Francisco. Read More »

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Hiking in Red Rock Canyon just 20 miles west of Las Vegas

It isn’t which slot machine pays off the most. It’s better than that. It’s not how to get a free buffet. It’s much better than that. So, what is it? You want something that’s exciting, fun, healthy and inexpensive, don’t you? I thought you did. The secret is the tremendous amount of outdoor activity just minutes from the Strip, specifically hiking and rock scrambling. Read More »

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Hiking in Red Rock Canyon just 20 miles west of Las Vegas

It isn’t which slot machine pays off the most. It’s better than that. It’s not how to get a free buffet. It’s much better than that. So, what is it? You want something that’s exciting, fun, healthy and inexpensive, don’t you? I thought you did. The secret is the tremendous amount of outdoor activity just minutes from the Strip, specifically hiking and rock scrambling. Read More »

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View of L.A. from the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park

View from the Griffith Observatory in Griffith Park, L.A.

[Flickr/Lucas Janin]

Encompassing over 4,107 acres of natural terrain covered with California oak trees, wild sage and manzanita, Griffith Park is the United States’ largest municipal park, and truly spectacular.  Famous for being featured in Rebel Without a Cause, Griffith Park is a favorite for both tourists and locals alike (which is a rarity in Los Angeles), and is home to the famous Hollywood sign that stand atop Mt. Lee. It’s close to both Downtown and Hollywood, and an especially easy trip from the Hollywood Roosevelt or Magic Castle hotels.There’s something for everyone at Griffith Park, and each is as unique as the next!

Griffith Observatory – Originally opened in 1935 and re-opened in 2005 after a four-year renovation, the Griffith Observatory features space-related exhibits, star shows in the planetarium (tickets required) and often hosts special events such as star parties. And as a bonus, admission is free! 2800 East Observatory Road

Sunset BBQ horse ride–Every second Friday in the month from April through October the Griffith Park Horse Rental outfit in Burbank hosts a 1 1/2-hour Sunset Trail Ride followed by a Western-style barbecue — all for only $40. For more information call  818-840-8401. Horseback riding and pony rides are also available year round.

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