Jef's page /
Alamere Falls trail, Palomarin trailhead near Bolinas.
Through rolling hills, past lakes, to a waterfall that drops right onto
Sky Trail loop, Bear Valley trailhead at Point Reyes.
Up Mount Wittenberg, down a long ridge to the ocean, check out
Arch Rock, back via the (boring) Bear Valley fire road.
Do this during August/September and you can probably find ripe
huckleberries along the ridgetop.
Steep Ravine loop, from the Palomarin ranger station at Mount Tam.
Out the Old Mine Trail to the Dipsea, down into Steep Ravine,
and up. Spectacular views on the Dipsea segment; Steep Ravine is
a pleasant cool canyon with a year-round creek. You can do the loop
in an hour if you're energetic.
Cataract Creek, from Alpine Dam on the Bolinas/Fairfax road.
Steep climb up a redwood/fern canyon, with spectacular waterfalls.
In the summer it's a cool relief, in the winter it often gets
cold enough for ice. At the top of the canyon you can head off
in any direction; one good loop goes out to High Marsh and
down the Helen Markt trail to the Alpine Lake shoreline.
There are some excellent huckleberry patches on Helen Markt, in season,
and a drinkable spring where the shoreline trail starts up again.
Tennessee Valley, at the end of Tennessee Valley Road between
Sausalito and Mill Valley. Nice easy walk down to the beach and back.
Suitable for infants. You can still see wreckage from the steamship
Tennessee on the beach.
Little Yosemite, in Sunol Regional Park east of Fremont.
Alameda Creek plunges through a maze of serpentine boulders.
Very nice in early summer when there's still some water flowing - there
are a bunch of swimming holes to cool off in.
You can do a loop up to Cerro Este and down past Indian Joe Cave Rocks,
which are fun to explore.
Mission Peak, in Fremont.
Trailhead at Ohlone College.
A nice steep climb to a great view of the south bay.
Watch for hang gliders and feral goats.
Ocean Shore right-of-way in Daly City.
Starting at the west end of John Daly Blvd, you can hike on what used to
be the right-of-way of the old
Ocean Shore Railroad,
and then for a while was Highway 1.
Now it's just a ledge halfway up the cliff, mostly overgrown
or slid away, but with a few bits of asphalt peeking through the weeds.
Check out an
old Usenet posting of mine about this walk.
Abbott's Lagoon at Point Reyes.
Easy two mile stroll past the lagoons to the beach and back.
Lots of birds. Great with small kids.
Unknown Coast, from Kehoe Beach to McClure's Beach at Point Reyes.
You can only do this during a minus tide. Furthermore, minus tides
only last a couple of hours, and it's three miles including some
rock scrambling so you have to hustle. It's worth it, though:
you go through three sea caves and past a waterfall, and you see
some coastline that very few people ever see.
Pierce Point, a.k.a. Tomales Point. Trailhead at Upper
Pierce Ranch near the end of Pierce Point Road at Point Reyes.
A nice windswept ramble out and back. The scenery all the way at the
end is pretty spectacular.
Flagpole Peak at Echo Lakes, near Echo Pass on CA 50.
This is a cross-country class-4 rock scramble up to an 8000'
peak. It's traditional to tie some sort of flag to the pole on top.
If you didn't bring anything else, you have to use a garment.
After the peak you can do a loop by continuing west along the ridgeline
until you're about even with the strait between Lower and Upper Echo Lakes.
There's a trail down to the lakes there. If you know where to look,
you can find a year-round spring gushing icy clear water out of the rocks.
Fern Canyon in Redwood National Park.
Well-known and heavily used, but still spectacular enough to merit a
side trip if you're in the area.
You can drive right to the canyon if you don't mind gravel roads,
but the nine-mile roundtrip walk from park headquarters through
the redwood forest is just as wonderful as the canyon itself.
Badwater in Death Valley.
It's fun to just walk out into
the valley for a few miles. In the winter there's usually a few inches
of water; in the summer, the water is gone and it's just flat salt
with weird squiggley ridges. Very eerie.
Mist Trail, Yosemite Valley.
One of the world's great short hikes. Up from Happy Isles along the Merced,
through the mists below Vernal Falls.
Kilauea Iki, Volcanos National Park.
A nifty stroll through two recently-active craters in Hawaii.