I need a trail that won’t drive me crazy

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to this blog (or our tweets or Facebook updates), you know we like to hike, but we are far from experts. Neither of us really did any serious hiking until this past year when we decided to combine our mutual love of the outdoors with our mutual need to do something to get in shape. Since then, we’ve tried to go every weekend we have free, as well as many weekends when we have the kids.

Hiking Pose

While our first 3 mile hike 700 foot elevation hike up to Holy Jim Falls winded us severely when we started, we’ve gotten to the point to where we can do hikes up to about 12 miles and over 2000 feet of elevation.  And now that we have my new Delorme Earthmate PN-40 GPS unit, we feel like we can do some pretty remote trails as well without getting lost.  When we hike with the kids, we still try to choose hikes in the 2.5 to 4 mile range with some sort of interesting feature to keep their attention, such as waterfalls, or a creek, or sandstone cliffs, but when we’re alone, we’re slightly less picky about an “exciting” hike, but we still look for something interesting, whether it be the topography, views, flora and fauna, or local historical significance.

Because we’re still relative newcomers to the backcountry here, we subscribed to Trails.com for $50, which has been an invaluable resource.  We’ve found a lot of hikes in the area using this site, and they have very useful guides to keep us from getting lost.   In fact, I’m not sure if we’ve done any hikes without carrying a copy of one of their trail guides in our backpack.  Another favorite resource has been the Modern Hiker’s Blog, whose reviews are even more complete than trails.com, and offer a more personal description of the trails.  His site is free, and has many other articles of interest for local hikers as well.  Colleen and I both follow him on Twitter (@modernhiker), and check his site regularly.

So our preferred hike these days is now in the 7-12 mile range, with an elevation maximum somewhere just north of 2000 feet, but we’re running out of new trails, especially in the heat of the summer.  With the recent hot spells, we’ve had a few really uncomfortable hikes, with temperatures hovering around 100 degrees on several of our ventures, even when we’ve tried to stay within 15-20 miles of the coast.  Because we live in North Orange County, we do have access to the Chino Hills State Park, Cleveland National Forest, Angeles National Forest, and parts of the San Bernardino National Forest and San Diego County within day trip range, but when temperatures are as warm as they’ve been, we’ve been focusing on coastal hikes in Orange County and the Santa Monica Mountains, trying to beat the heat.

This weekend should be cooler than our last 100 degree trek, but since we’re going out to see Spamalot at the Orange County Performing Arts Center Saturday night, we’re looking for something relatively local again.  And with the west end of Angeles National Forest closed, and the Eastern third still on fire, we’re finding very few options in our range!  So the question I’m asking is, do you have a good local hike (within an hour of North Orange County) that is open and we’ve missed?

Here’s what we’ve done so far locally (complete blog posts on all of these will likely follow someday as time permits on this site):

  • Holy Jim Falls (Cleveland National Forest)*
  • Cooper Canyon Falls (Angeles National Forest)*
  • Borrego Palm Canyon (Anza-Borrego State Park)
  • Morteros (Anza-Borrego SP)
  • Yaqui Wells (Anza-Borrego SP)
  • Willow Canyon, Bommer Ridge, Water Tank Rd (Laguna Coast Wilderness Park)
  • El Moro Canyon, Red Tail Ridge, Rattlesnake, No Dogs loop (Crystal Cove State Park)
  • Silverado Canyon-Bedford Peak (Cleveland NF)
  • Trabuco Canyon-Horsethief Loop (Cleveland NF)
  • Suicide Rock (Mount San Jacinto State Park)*
  • Hurkey Creek (San Bernardino National Forest)*
  • Borrego and Red Rock Canyons (Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park)*
  • Telegraph Canyon-South Ridge Trail (Chino Hills State Park)
  • Aliso Canyon-Raptor Ridge-Hills for Everyone Loop (Chino Hills SP)
  • Paramount Ranch/M*A*S*H Set Hike (Malibu Canyon State Park)
  • Santiago Creek-Oak Trail-Robbers Roost-Anaheim Hills-Barham Ridge-Mountain Goat Loop (Santiago Oaks Regional Park)
  • Santiago Creek-Mountain Goat Trail-Barham Ridge-Roadrunner-Irvine Regional Park Loop-Egret-Pony Trails (Santiago Oaks and Irvine Regional Parks)
  • Bridge to Nowhere Hike (Angeles National Forest)

(“*” denotes hike done with the kids)

So what else can you suggest in our physical and geographical range?

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