Friday, March 30, 2012

Valencia Peak Trail

Photos: To view all of the pictures from this hike click here to go to the photo gallery.
Videos: To view the videos from this hike click here to go to YouTube.

Date:
March 21, 2012

Nearby City:
Los Osos, CA

Driving Directions:
Valencia Peak is located in the heart of Montana de Oro State Park, located just south of Morro Bay and northwest of San Luis Obispo. To get to the trailhead take the US-101 North, Exit Los Osos Valley Road and turn left onto Los Osos Valley Road. Follow for 11.3 miles and continue onto Pecho Valley Road and follow that for 3.8 miles. The road will eventually pass a small parking area on the right for Spooner's Cove and campgrounds on the left side of the road. Shortly after passing both the road goes through the parking area for both Valencia Peak Trail and Bluff Trail. To see the exact location of the parking area and to get driving directions view the google map below.

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset- Campgrounds near trailhead

Difficulty:
Mild- Strenuous

Why?
The trail has a steady incline the whole way to the peak. Make sure to bring plenty of water and wear sun block, even on overcast/ cloudy days.

Elevation:
Trailhead- 50'
Peak- 1347'

Season:
Year around- This trail is near the ocean and is subject to rain for parts of the year, always make sure to check current weather conditions for the area you will be hiking in.

Parking/ Entrance Fee:
None

Cell Service:
T-Mobile- I got service along the whole trail.

Trails:
Valencia Peak Trail- 4.1 Miles round trip

**Given the abundance of great hiking in this park, there are numerous ways to approach this peak**

-Oats Peak Trail
This trail begins behind the ranger station near the main park campground. It leads over the ridge to the summit of Oats Peak, which is slightly higher than Valencia but with an inferior view. Prior to cresting the ridge are two link trails to the Valencia peak trail. The trail then plunges into Coon Creek Canyon and links with the Coon Creek Trail.

-Rattlesnake Flats Trail
This trail parallels the park road and can be accessed through any of the pull-outs between the Valencia peak trailhead and the Coon Creek trailhead. To get to the summit, simply follow the Rattlesnake Flats Trail north until it links with the Valencia Peak Trail, then follow the Valencia Peak Trail to the summit.

-Badger Trail
Beginning from a pullout a quarter mile south of Spooners cove, The Badger Trail links the Rattlesnake Flats trail with the Valencia Peak trail.

-Coon Creek Trail
This option follows the riparian habitat along Coon Creek before linking up with the rattlesnake trail and the oats peak trail. This is a good option for a loop.

Trail Condition:
The trail is in excellent condition, it has been a very long time since I have been to a park that has been so well taken care of. There are signs at every trailhead along the road so if you pull off at the wrong trailhead like we did you will know.

Trail Directions:
From the parking area take the Valencia Peak Trail, theres a sign at the trailhead. This trail is very well marked and extremely easy to follow. Please stay on the trail and don't take any of the shortcut trails, you are only destroying the area by using them. Once near the top there will a wall of slanted rock (see picture to left) and a fork in the trail, stay right. If there is no shade and you would like to rest at this pint, head left a few feet around the large rock to a nice shaded area. Once at the top there is a sign with a box attached with paper inside to write your name. Once at the sign head to your left and up a very short distance to the actual top of the mountain.


Other Activities:
Hiking
Swimming (Ocean)
Bird Watching
Camping


Links:
Facebook (Photos)
YouTube (Videos)
Etsy (Store)
Weather.com
Maps

Jessie's Thoughts:
Great trail! This very short trail offers a stunning 360 degree view of the ocean and surrounding mountains. The trail itself has a steady incline the whole way to the top, 2miles, that offers a great workout but is not to difficult that families with small children would be discouraged. There are no dogs allowed on trails, we noticed signs at a few of the trailheads while driving around. If this hike seems a little tough try the Bluff Trail, only 2 miles long but there is no elevation gain, just amazing views of the ocean.

Map:


View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bridge to Nowhere

Photos: To view all of the pictures from this hike click here to go to the photo gallery.
Videos: To view the videos from this hike click here to go to YouTube.

Date:
March 12, 2012
Nearby City:
Azusa, CA
Driving Directions:
From the 210 East Freeway Exit Azusa Ave/ CA-39, at the light make a left onto South Azusa Ave. ( West: Left onto East 1st Street and Right onto North Azusa Ave.) Continue up the road, soon there will be a fork in the road, go to the left- slight Left onto CA-39 N/N San Gabriel Canyon Road. Follow for 10 miles into the mountains, Make a right onto East Fork Road (Its a long bridge going over the mostly dry river below) Follow for 5 miles and make a weird Left onto Camp Bonita Road ( Here the road make a sharp almost U-Turn, keep an eye out the turn is very easy to miss. Once you make the Left onto Camp Bonita Road follow it till it dead ends at a parking lot. An Adventure Pass is needed to park.

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset
Difficulty: 
Easy- Moderate
Why?
There is a small amount of elevation gain.

Elevation:
Bridge- 2770'
Total Gain/Loss- 1000'
Seasons:
Year around, in the summer months this area can get hot and the trail is very exposed to the sun, make sure to check weather conditions before leaving the house.

Parking/ Entrance Fee:
An adventure pass is needed to park at the Chantry Flats parking area. They can be bought online here or find a location near the trailhead here.

Cell Service:
T-Mobile - None
Trails:
Bridge to Nowhere (East Fork San Gabriel River)- 10 miles Round Trip
 
Trail Condition: 
The trail can be very easy to follow for large sections of the trail, but make sure to pay attention to where you are going, there are many "short cut" trails and you can easily take the wrong one. Some of these trails will go on for a while then end. There are also many stream crossings so make sure to bring water shoes.

Trail Directions:
From the parking area head down the road past the locked gate to Heaton Flats Trail junction (8W16). In about 30- 40 minutes the trail will go past some old cement bridge remnants with two logs tied together to cross over. Once across head up the trail, look up to the right a little, theres an old rock building with a tiny window. After one more river crossing the river bends right and looking up at the mountains ahead a small road can be seen, this is Shoemaker Road. Eventually the trail will go over a small wooden foot bridge leading you into Sheep Mountain Wilderness. From the bridge in about 10-15 minutes the first view of the Swan Rock can be seen. It is located ahead on the mountain side. (See picture) The trail is sort of hard to follow after this point, make sure to pay attention to the trail you are on and where it is headed. Eventually the trail will head up high away from the river and soon pass a white pole with a 4 on it marking 4 miles. Continue on for another half mile to a sign talking about private property, Head past this sign another half mile to another sign and a gated off area with large green bins. Bungee jumping off the bridge is offered on weekends by the company Bungee America  After hanging out on the bridge for a while head back the way you came or continue on past the bridge.
Other Activities:
Backpacking
Hiking
Camping
No Dogs Allowed

Jessie's Thoughts:
Bridge to nowhere is one of those must do hikes. Its a relatively easy hike, the hardest parts are following the trail, but very doable if you take your time. The 5 mile hike to the bridge seems like an eternity with a ton of stream crossings and a little confusion with the trail but once at the bridge and witnessing the oddity of a huge cement bridge out in the middle of nowhere you will be glad you made the trek.

Map:

View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

Chantry Flats/ Winter Creek Loop (overnight)


Photos: To view all of the pictures from this hike click here to go to the photo gallery.
Videos: To view the videos from this hike click here to go to YouTube.

Date:
March 5&6, 2012

Nearby City:
Sierra Madre, CA

Driving Directions:
From the 210 East Exit Santa Anita Ave toward Arcadia. (West: Exit Santa Anita Ave and make a Right onto North Santa Anita Ave.) Make a Left onto North Santa Anita Ave and continue onto Chantry Flats Rd. Follow this road all the way up into the mountains till it dead ends at Chantry Flats parking area.

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset (camping is allowed only at designated camp sites)

Difficulty:
Easy- Moderate

Why?
There is minor to strenuous elevation gain on sections of the trail, other than that this trail is very easy.

Seasons:
Year around, always make sure to check weather conditions where you will be hiking. The best time to view the falls would be after a good rain.

Parking/ Entrance Fee:
An adventure pass is needed to park at the Chantry Flats parking area. They can be bought online here or find a location near the trailhead here.

Cell Service:
T-Mobile- None

Trails:
In this area there are tons of trails leading in all directions and most link to other trails and those link to other trails and so on. Here is a site I found that made the most since and has all the trail names, miles, and a map. Trails from Chantry Flats. The list of trails below are the trails taken on our trip, in order.

Chantry Flats (start)
Sturtevant Falls Trail
Top of Falls on Lower Falls Trail
Falling sign Jct
Cascade Picnic Area
Spruce Grove Campground
Sturtevant Jct
Camp Sturtevant (Fill Water bottle here)
Zion Jct.
Mt. Zion Trail
Upper Winter Creek
Hoegee's Camp
Chantry Flats (End)

Trail Condition:
The trail is in excellent condition, its very well maintained and there are plenty of signs so it is very hard to get lost.

Trail Directions:
From the parking area at Chantry Flats head down the steep paved road past a sign with trails and miles on it. Continue down past Hermit Falls junction till the paved road ends and the dirt trail begins. Cross the bridge and follow the trail to the right. Soon there will be a sign for Top of Falls/ Lower Falls Trail, continue past to get to Sturtevant Falls then back track back to this sign. Take Top of Falls/ Lower Falls Trail to the Falling sign junction and from there continue on to Cascade Picnic Area. After a short rest at the lunch table continue to follow the trail up past a bathroom to Spruce Grove Campground.

If you are camping, here is where you set up camp, there are shovels and water buckets behind one of the two bathrooms at the camp.To refill your water bottles take the trial through camp up a very short distance to Sturtevant Camp, at the mess hall there is a water fountain.

Hike through camp up the trail past Camp Sturtevant to the Mt. Zion junction. Here you can take the Mt. Zion trail to the top of Mt. Zion or continue on to Hoegees's Camp. Take the upper Winter Creek trail to Hoegee's Camp and from there continue on back to Chantry Flats.

Other Activities:
Mountain Bike
Hike
Walk
Waterfalls
Backpacking
Camping

Links:
Facebook (photos)
YouTube (Videos)
Etsy (Store)
Adventure Pass
Weather.com
Maps

Jessie's Thoughts:
This is a great hike, if you are taking the family to one of two waterfalls or hiking in a camping over night, the whole area offers all kinds of trails with various difficulties to choose from.

Map:

View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goldstrike Hot Springs trail (Nevada)

 Photos: To view all of the pictures from this hike click here to go to the photo gallery.
Videos: To view the videos from this hike click here to go to YouTube.

Date:
February 23, 2012

Nearby City:
Boulder City, NV

Driving Directions:
From Boulder City, NV take Highway 93 toward the Hoover Dam. About 0.3 miles past the Hacienda Casino (Also known as the Goldstrike Casino) Exit right at the first off ramp; #2 to Hoover Dam. At the end of the off ramp make a right and then a left onto a dirt road. Follow this all the way to the parking area.

Hours:
Sunrise to sunset

Difficulty:
Moderate- Challenging

Why?
This trail is not for anyone scared of heights, it involves a lot of climbing using fixed ropes and steps carved into the sides of large boulders.

Seasons:
Temperatures during summer months can be dangerous, always make sure to check current weather conditions before you get to a trailhead.

Parking/ Entrance Fee:
None

Cell Service:
T-Mobile - No service

Trails:
Goldstrike Hot Springs Trail to Colorado River- 6.5 miles round trip

Trail Condition:
The trail is extremely easy to follow, the trail runs along the canyon floor so there is always only one way to go and there are arrows painted in appropriate spots along the trail so make sure to keep an eye out for those. (NOTE: Never use anything other than surveyors tape to mark a trail!) Be aware that you will be required to use fixed ropes and steps carved into boulders to get through sections.

Trail Directions:
From the parking area head past a line of rocks into the canyon. Soon the trail goes right past the highway leading to Hoover Dam and Arizona, its massive you can't miss it. While in this section of the canyon keep an eye out for old cars and trucks that crashed off the old road. After a short distance the canyon walls start to get steeper and  eventually become vertical.

At almost 1.5 miles the canyon narrows again and an huge boulder blocks the path. To get past this boulder carefully use the steps carved in the rock to get down. Keep in mind I am TERRIFIED of heights, it looks a lot harder and scarier than it really is! After this the canyon walls give way to a large open area of the trail. Follow the trail and soon the steep canyon walls return presenting you with a few more boulders to navigate around, under, and over using fixed ropes and minor scrambling. Soon the trail takes you past a large boulder with a sign pined to it, read it. Shortly the trail hit the first of many hot springs, climb down to the canyon floor below with assistance from the fixed rope. This is upper Goldstrike Hot Springs. Continue down the canyon past a bunch more hot springs till the trail becomes blocked again by a large smooth boulder. Use the fixed rope to get down. This is lover Goldstrike Hot Springs, aka Cave of Wonders, here the pools are small but warm. From here the Colorado River is another 30-45 minutes.

Near the bottom of the canyon, a short distance from the Colorado River, the stream flows into the Nevada Hot Springs creating hot tubs. Theres even a waterfall coming off the side of the canyon that provides a hot shower. Once at the Colorado River, hang out, then ruturn the way you came. Make sure to pay attention to where you are going, some of the arrows are hard to spot and we would get a little turned around.

Other Activities:
Hiking
Mountain Bikes
Walking

Links:
Photos (Subscribe Only)
Videos
Facebook Page
Knot the Ordinary- Store
Rice Krispie Creations- Store
Weather.com
Leave No TraceMaps

Jessie's Thoughts:
My all time favorite hike! If you live in Nevada or don't, this trail is a must. It has everything an avid hiker would want and more! This trail has a great mix of site-seeing, hiking, and climbing that when combined makes a truly amazing trail.

Map:

View Jessie's Trails in a larger map

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