Sunday, March 28, 2010

Windy Near Bedford Peak

Below are two videos taken yesterday when we were on the trail going to Bedford Peak. There were probably 20 - 30mph sustained winds. Bedford Peak stands at 3,800 feet tall in the Santa Ana Mountains.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Bedford Peak (Cleveland National Forest)

The hike to the top of Bedford Peak in the Cleveland National Forest is a fun rewarding hike with great views of Southern California. Bedford Peak is located almost on the border line between Orange County and Riverside County, in the Santa Ana Mountain Range. The hike to Bedford Peak is a fun hike in Southern California as it offers sweeping views of the Santa Ana Mountains and the greater Southern California area. Bedford Peak sits at an elevation of approximately 3,800 feet.

Directions to Trailhead: To get to the Trailhead to hike to Bedford Peak, if you are coming from South Orange County, exit the 5 freeway at El Toro Road. Take El Toro Road all the way until it becomes Santiago Canyon Road past Saddleback Church. Follow the road for several miles and you will eventually make a right onto Silverado Canyon Road. Follow Silverado Canyon Road for approximately 5.5 miles all the way to the Maple Springs Trailhead where the hike begins. Note: you can also take the toll road to get this location. If you are coming from North Orange County, you can exit the 5 freeway at Jamboree Road. Take Jamboree Road and make a right onto Santiago Canyon Road, followed by a left onto Silverado Canyon Road. A Google map is provided below.

Description of Hike: The hike to Bedford Peak and back will take you around 3.5 hours depending on your pace. This is an out and back hike to one of the Santa Ana Mountains notable peaks. The trail was in great shape when we went and has some impressive elevation gain from the trailhead to the peak. Be prepared for a workout from the elevation gain you will find with this hike. There is very little shade once you get off of Maple Springs Road, so make sure to have plenty of water, a hat, and sunscreen on a hot day.

The peak is at an elevation of 3,800 feet. To get to Bedford Peak, from the Maple Springs Trailhead, head up Maple Springs Road for about a quarter mile and there on your left is the turn out for the Silverado Motorway. There is not a sign indicating the turn off of the Maple Springs Road onto the Silverado Motorway, but there are metal railings indicating the trail. It is approximately 3 miles of uphill hiking from this point to the Main Divide Road. Take the Silverado Motorway to the Main Divide Road. Once you get to the Main Divide Road, Bedford Peak is about a quarter to half a mile to the right. There are no signs indicating which way to go at the top, but you want to go to the right. You will also need a Forest Adventure Pass to park at the Maple Springs Trailhead.

Further Thoughts: The hike to the top of Bedford Peak is a beautiful hike in Orange County. It is also a great training hike if you are looking to hike bigger peaks in the Santa Ana Mountains or other tall peaks in Southern California. The trail virtually goes straight up the canyon walls, so you begin having breathtaking views early on in the hike. If you attempt this hike during a hot summer day, make sure to bring plenty of water as there is very little shade and you are exposed to the elements along a majority of this hike.

When we did this hike, it was very windy at the top. There were 20 - 30 mph sustained winds at the top because a low pressure system had just moved through Southern California. We made two small videos showing the power of the wind which will give you a feel for the exposure while on this hike, to see them click Here. At the beginning of the hike, you follow along the Silverado Stream that follows the Maple Springs Road. This stream had plenty of water in it when we went and you can expect to see water in the stream during the rainy season in Southern California.

Once you reach the Main Divide Road, the hike to Bedford Peak levels out a bit. This is also where you have sweeping views of all of Southern California. You can see Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Gorgonio, and the entire inland empire while at the top of Bedford Peak. Bedford Peak is not a very prominent peak in the Santa Ana Mountains, and thus not highly visible from the Los Angeles Basin. Even though it is not a very prominent peak in the Santa Ana Mountain Range, the views from up top are spectacular. This hike is also know for its wildflowers during wet rainy seasons in Southern California. There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom when we did this hike as we had an above average rainfall total during the 2010 rainy season.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 1,900 ft. (Moderate - Strenuous), Distance: 7 Miles Roundtrip (Moderate - Strenuous).

Time to Complete Hike: 3 - 4.5 hours.


March 27, 2010 (This Post)

View Bedford Peak in a larger map

Friday, March 26, 2010

Whitney Hike

For those of you who sent out your applications to get permits to go to the top of Mt. Whitney, they should be arriving soon if you got one. Ours just arrived in the mail yesterday so we are set to go. Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet. I am extremely excited to be going this year. If anyone has any tips, please feel free to share! We have a day permit.  The map above is from the Inyo National Forest website.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Riley Wilderness Park (Green after Rains)

Riley Wilderness Park is one of OC Parks gems and offers some of the best hiking in Orange County. This weekend, Ashley and I had the chance to get out and visit Riley Wilderness Park. This is one of our favorite parks to visit. The park has come alive after all the rain we have received this season. The hills are green and the wildflowers are in bloom. A good time to visit Riley Wilderness Park is in the Spring after a good rainy season in Southern California.

Directions to Trailhead: A map of the area can be found below with the Google map. To get to Riley Wilderness Park, coming from the 5 freeway, exit at OSO parkway and head toward the Santa Ana Mountains going through MissionViejo. Take OSO parkway through Ladera Ranch and pass the end of the 241 toll road. Just before you reach the entrance to Coto De Caza, the entrance to Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park is on the right hand side. Remember to bring 3 dollars for parking. Also, they have machines that accept credit cards. There is ample parking at this OC Parks parking area.

Description of Hike: Riley Wilderness Park is always in great shape and the trails in the park are well maintained by the people at OC Parks. It is one of the smaller wilderness parks at only 523 acres but it packs a punch. We hiked a loop using the Wagon Wheel Canyon Trail to the Oak Canyon Trail to the Mule Deer Trail to the Pheasant Run Trail back to the Wagon Wheel Canyon trail which is approximately a 3.5 mile loop. The elevation gain is minimal, approximately 300 ft. There are several trails at Riley Wilderness Park which means you can tailor your hike to how easy or difficult you want to make it. Park maps are also available at the trailheads. For a printable map of the hiking trails at Riley Wilderness Park click Here. Riley Wilderness Park also has a great Nature Center that is opening primarily on the weekends. They have a lot of interactive exhibits for hikers of all age to enjoy. For the Riley Wilderness Park brochure, click Here.

Further Thoughts: It was absolutely great to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather we have been having lately. Riley Wilderness Park has totally changed after all the rain we have got this season in Southern California. Hopefully we get one more storm before spring really gets here.

For the first time since Ashley and I have been going to Riley Wilderness Park, the pond had water in it. It was amazing to see what it looked like with water and we could tell that there had been a lot more water in there. I would imagine the water will still be there for another month.

Riley Wilderness Park has had a bumper crop of Woolly Bear caterpillars this year. We saw many of these caterpillars while out on the trail. They will all turn into Tiger moths soon. We also located a bee hive while we were hiking in the park. We saw 3 deer, several hawks, and several turkey vultures. This is a great park to view wildlife.

Since we went on the weekend, we visited the nature center since it was open. If you are there while on the weekend a trip to the nature center is a great idea.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 300 ft. (Easy), Distance: 3.5 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.


March 21, 2010 (This Post)

August 6, 2010

November 28, 2010

August 7, 2011

View Riley Wilderness Park Hike in a larger map

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wildflowers & Green Hills

This is a great time of year to get out and see the wildflowers that are blooming all over Southern California. We have had above average rain so far this year and all the hills are green. The wildflowers are blooming with the recent warm weather we have been having. We went to Riley Wilderness Park today, the post will soon follow, and it was absolutely amazing. If you have a chance to get out within the next couple of weeks to see what lots of rain does to Southern California, we highly recommend it. Here are a couple of pictures from today.
The Pond Had Water in it.

Plenty of Wildflowers.
Great Time to go Hiking.

Mirror Lake (Winter)

Ashley and I did an evening hike from Curry Village to Mirror Lake. It was absolutely spectacular as it was snowing part of the way. Halfway to Mirror Lake the clouds started to clear and we got spectacular views of Half Dome.

Directions to Trailhead Day Hikes in Yosemite National Park. Here is a link to that Page of the National Park's Website. To get to the trailhead for Mirror Lake you are going want to use the parks shuttle system. The trailhead begins at shuttle stop #17. A Google map of the area is provided below. Click, Here to find the National Parks System Map for Yosemite Valley. The national parks map shows where shuttle stop #17 is and provides a good vantage point for where this hike begins. We have also provided a Google map below. Parking: Because the park's free shuttle buses stop at the trailhead, you can park anyplace in the valley where you can catch a bus. Curry Village is the closest to the trailhead of the parking lots that have bus stops. A slightly closer but bus free option is the trailhead parking lot, just past Curry Village, down a road marked "Service Vehicles Only". (It's not service vehicles only until you pass the parking lot.)

Description of Hike: From the shuttle stop, a paved trail leads directly to Mirror Lake. At the stone bridge, you can turn right to take the five-mile loop or remain on the paved trail to continue to Mirror Lake. Mirror Lake has little water much of the year, but in spring and early summer it can grow in size. When water is calm, the lake offers beautiful reflections of surrounding cliffs. Exhibits detail the story of the area's lake-to-meadow succession. This can be a good place to spot wildlife, so be ready with your camera. The trail is well maintained and is well marked. Parts of the trail are paved. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen with you on this hike if you are hiking during the summer. Of course, in the winter make sure you have warm cloths and you might need snowshoes.
Further Thoughts: Hiking in Yosemite National Park during the winter is a must do. It is very different from the summer months as it is less crowded. The best thing about this hike was we started when it was lightly snowing. The snow stopped midway through our hike and we were rewarded with spectacular views. It was amazing to see the colors of half dome when the sun was setting. One of the other neat things was we were the only ones on the trail. Ashley and I had the views of Mirror Lake to ourselves.
We brought our headlamps and night gear to be able to hike back in the dark, since we knew we would not be able to make it back to Curry Village before the sun set. It was great being the only ones on this trail and to enjoy such a great moment in Yosemite. Another plus about coming to Yosemite in the winter is the lodging is much cheaper than in the summer.
Rating: Elevation Gain: 100 ft. (Easy), Distance: 2.4 Miles round trip from the trailhead to Mirror Lake; 4 Miles Roundtrip to go all the way to the end of the trail in Tenaya Canyon and loop around. If you are hiking from Curry Village instead of riding the bus to the trailhead, add an extra 1.5 Miles Roundtrip.

Time to Complete Hike: 1 - 2 hours.


February 2010 (This Post)


Mirror Lake (This Post)

View Mirror Lake in a larger map

Bridalveil Fall Hike (Yosemite National Park)

Bridalveil Fall is a fun short hike that Ashley and I did while visiting Yosemite National Park. Bridalveil Fall is one of the most spectacular waterfall to see when you are visiting Yosemite National Park. Bridalveil Falls stands at 617 feet tall and is a very popular hiking destination for those visiting Yosemite National Park. This waterfall generally flows year round and falls from the shoulder of Cathedral Rocks down into the Yosemite Valley. When entering Yosemite Valley, you also have a great view of Bridalveil Fall from the Tunnel View.

Directions to trailhead: To get to Bridalveil Fall, coming from Orange County, take the 5 freeway heading north to Fresno, California, merge onto the 41 and head North to Yosemite National Park. Once inside Yosemite National Park, follow the 41 for about an hour to Yosemite Valley. Once you pass through the tunnel and see the tunnel view, the hiking trail to Bridalveil Fall is located just at the bottom of the hill. There are signs indicating the location of the parking area for the hike to Bridalveil Fall. The hiking trail to Bridalveil Fall begins at the end of the parking lot. During the busy summer season it can be hard to find a parking spot at this location.

Description of Hike: The hiking trail to Bridalveil Fall is a paved hiking trail that travels to a great viewing area located close to Bridalveil Fall. The hiking trail begins at the parking area and travels virtually to the base of the waterfall, which generally flows year-round. It is important to be careful as you get closer to Bridalveil Fall because the closer you get to Bridalveil Fall, the paved hiking trail can become slick. This is an out and back hike and you will return to the parking area via the same paved hiking trail. Anyone going to see Bridalveil Fall should expect to experience lots of water spray in the spring time and early summer, especially during years with large winter snow packs. While on this hike during the winter, you may encounter icy conditions. The hiking trail is part of a larger loop of the entire Yosemite Valley. This is a great hiking trail for the entire family to do together, because it paved, well marked and easy to follow.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I both enjoyed our time seeing Bridalveil Fall. It was absolutely spectacular because there was plenty of water flowing over the waterfall even in the winter. Both Ashley and I can only imagine what the Bridalveil Fall looks like in late spring when all of the snow in the higher elevations is melting. The spring is the best time to view this waterfall. The hiking trail system in Yosemite Valley and the greater Yosemite National Park is usually well maintained and marked by the National Park Service.

This was Ashley and I's first visit to Yosemite National Park in the winter time. The winter is a great time to visit Yosemite, because there are less people than during any other time of the year. That means that you don't have to deal with crowds when going to see sights like Bridalveil Fall. Bridalveil Fall is a fun little hike and will only take you about 20 minutes to complete. It is well worth the stop as you drive into Yosemite Valley. One interesting legend about Bridalveil Fall comes from Ahwahneechee tribe, who believed that inhaling the heavy mist at the bottom of the fall improves one's chances of getting married. So for those of you hoping to get married soon, make sure you go on this hike!
Rating: Elevation Gain: Less than 100 ft. (Very Easy), Distance: 0.5 Miles Roundtrip (Very Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 20 - 30 minutes.


Bridalveil Fall (This Post)

Half Dome

View Bridalveil Falls in a larger map

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Yosemite Falls Hike (Yosemite National Park)

A hike to Yosemite Falls is something the entire family can do together while visiting Yosemite National Park. Yosemite Falls is the 5th tallest waterfall in the world and it is an amazing sight to see when water is cascading over Yosemite Falls. Ashley and I really enjoyed this hike in Yosemite National Park and the best part is that it is a fun short hike on a paved hiking trail that the whole family can do together. The best part about this trip was Ashley and I got engaged on this trip!

Directions to trailhead: To get to Yosemite Falls, coming from Orange County, take the 5 freeway north to Fresno, California and merge onto the 41 and head north to Yosemite National Park. Once you are inside Yosemite National Park, follow the 41 for about an hour to Yosemite Valley. Follow the signs to the Yosemite Lodge and parking is available there. There is normally adequate parking available at Yosemite Lodge. The hiking trail to Yosemite Falls is just on the other side of Yosemite Lodge. If you are staying elsewhere in Yosemite National Park, there are several YART bus stops that are near this trailhead to hike to Yosemite Falls. The closest one is Shuttle Stop #6.

Description of Hike: This is an easy, must do hike, while in Yosemite National Park. There is virtually no elevation gain and roundtrip the hike is about a half a mile. This paved hiking trail will be a crowded spot during the summer months, because seeing Yosemite Falls is popular due to its spectacular stature. The falls are 2,425 feet tall and this hiking trail gives you a great view of Yosemite Falls final 400 foot drop. Yosemite Falls is the tallest waterfall in all of North America and is the 5th tallest waterfall in the world. The hiking trail is well marked and is well maintained by the National Parks Service. Yosemite Falls is visible from many points along the paved hiking trail, so make sure to have your camera with you. The hiking trail to Yosemite Falls is also a part of a larger hiking trail system within the valley floor of Yosemite National Park. You can hike much farther on the trails if you like, however, this hike should take about 20 - 30 minutes at a leisurely pace.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed our time on this hike to Yosemite Falls. The path was paved and hiking in Yosemite Valley we found was a breeze. Yosemite Falls had plenty of water in when we went during the winter time and Yosemite Falls only gets more spectacular as spring comes. The best time to see the waterfalls in Yosemite Valley is during the spring when all the snow is melting.

The hike to Yosemite Falls is a popular hiking trail and you should expect to see many people while hiking on this trail during most any time of the year. Make sure to bring your camera with you because this is one of the best places to take pictures of this waterfall. You also never know when you will run into wildlife in Yosemite National Park. The food court at the Yosemite Lodge is a great place to have lunch when you are done with the hike. Note: The top picture above was taken on a different day, when the weather cleared up and the snow moved out of the valley. You can make this hike as long as you wish, because the hiking trail can be taken to see many other sites within Yosemite Valley. For more information on Yosemite National Park, the park website can be found Here.

Rating: Elevation Gain: Less than 100 ft. (Very Easy), Distance: 1.2 Miles Roundtrip (Easy).

Time to Complete Hike: 30 minutes.


Yosemite Falls (This Post)

View Yosemite Falls in a larger map

Friday, March 12, 2010


I wanted to update our fellow blog readers on the fact that Ashley and I are now engaged. I popped the question 2 weekends ago while we were in Yosemite National Park. I had the blessing of her parents and my parents obviously knew as well as close family and friends when we went away on the trip. She was totally surprised and said YES! I would like to say thank you to Modern Hiker for posting about the great deals the park was having during the winter, as when we saw those deals advertized we booked our trip right away. We are both very happy and are beginning to plan the wedding. As always continue to enjoy those trails!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Adventure Day at Caspers Wilderness Park

This upcoming weekend, on Saturday March 13th, is Adventure Day at Caspers Wilderness Park.

The event last from 10am - 3pm (no pets). The day long events are free and include: music & entertainment, natural history tours, arts & crafts, wildlife exhibits, fun & games, food & beverages and hiking events.

There is a guide led, seven mile, intermediate level hike through Bell Canyon.

Directions to Caspers: From Orange County take the 5 freeway to San Juan Capistrano and exit at Ortega Highway (74). Take Ortega Highway, going toward the mountains, for about 7.5 miles and look for the entrance to Caspers Wilderness Park on your left hand side. You will see signs shortly before you arrive at the park entrance.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bear Canyon Loop (Cleveland National Forest)

This is a hike that Ashley and I have done in connection with hiking to Sitton Peak on a couple of occasions. However, doing the complete Bear Canyon Loop Hike is a great hike to do just standing alone. he Bear Canyon Loop is a great hike that offers amazing views of the Santa Ana Mountains. It is also a great place to see wildflowers during a wet rainy season in Southern California. If you are looking for a great hike in the Cleveland National Forest and the opportunity to see wildflowers after a rainy season this is the hike for you.

Directions to Trailhead:  To get to the Bear Canyon Loop Trailhead, coming from Orange County, take the 74 (Ortega Highway) going East toward Riverside. Park across the street from the Ortega Oaks Candy Store off of Ortega Hwy. The trailhead to hike the Bear Canyon Loop in the Cleveland National Forest is located right behind the Ortega Oaks Candy store. A map of the area can be found below in the Google map. You will need a Forest Adventure Pass to park at the Bear Canyon Loop Trailhead. One can be purchased at the Ortega Oaks Candy Store across Ortega Highway.

Description of Hike: The total distance of the Bear Canyon Loop Hike, is 6.8 miles roundtrip. The trail is well maintained and there is easy access to the trailhead as well as ample parking at the trailhead. From the trailhead you want to take the bear canyon trail to the 4 corners area (about 3.5 miles in where the Verdugo Trail, the Tenja Trail, Bear Ridge Trail and Bear Canyon Rrail meet). Once you hit the 4 corners area, you are halfway done and want to take the Bear Ridge Trail back to complete the loop. This is a popular entrance for hikers into the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness and you are likely to see others while out on this hike. The elevation gain is approximately 1,000 feet and it will take you between 2.5 - 4 hours to hike the Bear Canyon Loop depending on your pace. The trail is well marked with signs indicating the trail names.

Further Thoughts: The Bear Canyon Loop is a great trail to hike. Ashley and I have hiked in this area many times during our hikes to Sitton Peak. The San Mateo Canyon Wilderness in the Cleveland National Forest is one of our favorite hiking spots and we highly recommend this hiking here. The loop portion of the Bear Canyon Loop is absolutely beautiful. The canyon portion of the loop is spectacular and is a great place to capture amazing photographs of the scenery. Additionally, the Bear Canyon Ridge is a great place to observe spring wildflowers and an area where we have seen tarantulas in the fall.

The great thing about a hike in this area is that when you finish you can stop by the Ortega Oaks Candy Store and pick up a treat to celebrate a great hike in the Santa Ana Mountains. When starting out on the trail make sure to sign in at the trailhead registry. Also remember that this area has plenty of wildlife, make sure to bring your camera.

Note, if you are doing this hike in the summer make sure to bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen. Additionally, the bugs can get pretty bad after a wet rainy season, so throw in the bug spray as well.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 1,000 ft. (Moderate), Distance: 6.8 Miles Roundtrip (Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike: 2.5 - 4 hours.


March 7, 2010 (This Post)

View Bear Canyon Loop in a larger map