Thursday, September 29, 2011

Irvine Ranch Celebrates Five Years as a National Natural Landmark



The following is a press release announcing that the Irvine Ranch is celebrating 5 years as a National Natural Landmark. More information on special events is to come soon! Congratulations to the Irvine Ranch on a great 5 years!

Open Space on Irvine Ranch Celebrates Five Years as a
National Natural Landmark
Five years of connecting with wild open spaces from the mountains to the sea…

(Irvine, CA)— October marks the fifth anniversary of the designation of 40,000 acres of open space on the historic Irvine Ranch as a National Natural Landmark (NNL) by the U.S. Department of the Interior. This permanently protected land received the prestigious distinction because of its rare biological and geological features. The Irvine Ranch NNL is one of only 600 Natural Landmarks in the United States and was the first designated in California in nearly 30 years. 

To celebrate this milestone the Orange County Board of Supervisors, along with the cities of Irvine and Newport Beach, have proclaimed October as “Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks Month.” Special fifth Anniversary public programs will be conducted will be conducted throughout the month by organizations involved with the land including OC Parks, the non-profit Irvine Ranch Conservancy, California State Parks, and many others. These programs are in addition to more than 350 regularly-scheduled activities.

Anniversary events include hikes with special guests such as OC Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman John Moorlach and Crystal Cove State Park Superintendent Todd Lewis.  Other NNL programs will include naturalist-led hikes and mountain bike rides to visit unique features of the land that led to the Landmark designation and stewardship days allowing visitors to get involved in managing rare natural resources. For a full list of programs and to sign up online, visit www.irlandmarks.org/activities.

“The National Natural Landmark designation has been a powerful rallying point for everyone who shares the vision of excellent stewardship on these lands and wants to experience them,” says Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director Michael O’Connell. “It shows people that we have the equivalent of a national park right in our own backyard.”

The open spaces of the Natural Landmark are all publicly owned and managed. Last summer, the County of Orange accepted a donation of the last 20,000 acres of private open space in the Landmark from Irvine Company Chairman Donald Bren. This brought the total to more than 40,000 acres protected forever for residents and visitors to enjoy. The City of Irvine, California State Parks and the City of Newport Beach also own parks and open space in the Landmark.

Areas designated as Natural Landmarks undergo exhaustive review by the National Park Service, and must meet high scientific standards. The preserved open space of the historic Irvine Ranch – also designated California’s first State Natural Landmark in 2008 – is part of a global “hot-spot” of biological diversity. It contains an abundance of rare habitats and species, along with rock formations and fossils that clearly illustrate Earth’s history for the last 80 million years. There are more than 250 miles of hiking, biking and riding trails to experience along with beaches, shady oak canyons, rare native grasslands, and incredible views. Visitors may catch a glimpse of a soaring hawk, a shy bobcat or a gentle mule deer.

To learn more about the landscape, plants and animals that live on the Natural Landmark, visit http://www.irlandmarks.org.  For more information about special events in October to celebrate the Landmark’s fifth Anniversary, go to http://www.irlandmarks.org/activities . Become a friend of the Landmarks at www.facebook.com/irlandmarks and stay current on all the latest happenings in the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mt. Whitney Belt (Product Review)

Recently, the folks over at C6 Brands sent us a Mt. Whitney Belt to review. When the belt arrived in the mail, I was impressed with how the belt looked and the general feel and quality of the belt. Visually, it is a very impressive belt. The following is a little information about the belt itself.

Each belt made by C6 Brands is hand dyed, pressed and burnished using traditional saddle making techniques. The belt itself is 1.5 inches wide and the buckle is slightly over 2.5 inches in diameter. Each belt is custom made to order. The belt is inspired by the Mountaineers Route to the top of Mt. Whitney. The belt's topographic design is hand-pressed into the leather belt and is complemented by the Mt. Whitney Benchmark buckle. C6 uses only the finest quality English Bridle Leather to ensure their belts are well constructed and built to last. C6 also takes pride in keeping all of their suppliers in the US.

This review is different from our other reviews because we are not reviewing the belt for its use while out on the hiking trail, but as something that you would wear to display your enthusiasm for hiking/backpacking/mountaineering, or to show off that you have made it to the summit of Mt. Whitney. The concept itself is a great idea and hopefully the folks at C6 could custom make belts for local mountains such as Mt. San Gorgonio or Mt. Baldy. Currently, there is a special price for the belt at $125, which to some might be a little high, but is comparable to other handmade quality belts. I received several compliments on the belt already. The belt is unique and is a great memento to show that you have climbed Mt. Whitney.

If you are looking for a high quality belt that shows off your enthusiasm for the outdoors, or displays in a bold unique manner the fact that you have climbed Mt. Whitney, then you should check out the Mt. Whitney Belt by clicking Here. The Mt. Whitney Belt also makes a great gift if you are looking to get someone something unique. It is truly outdoor inspired fashion. You won't be disappointed!

California King Snake at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve

Here, is a picture of a California King Snake that I saw today while hiking at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Once a week I try and get out and visit the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. Sorry for the poor quality of the picture, but it was taken on my cell phone camera which does take the same quality pictures that my normal camera does. The California King Snake was about 3 feet long and his stripes were black/dark brown and yellow. If you have not visited/hiked at the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, it is a great Orange County nature preserve to go hiking and bird watching at, and you can find our trail write-up Here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mt. Whitney (2011 Recap)

Mt. Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 and it draws a crowd of hikers and climbers every year who seek to reach its high summit. Ashley and I had hoped to be among the number of people who made it to the top of Mt. Whitney this year, but unfortunately we did not get the chance to set out on the trail. We had put in for our permit and were one of the lucky ones that got a permit to climb to the Summit of Mt. Whitney. When Ashley and I got our permits in the mail that is when the excitement and reality of climbing Whitney set it. We were diligent and began our training locally in Orange County and then by hiking Cucamonga Peak in our local San Gabriels and Mt. San Gorgonio via the Vivian Creek Trail and the South Fork Trail.

The allure of Mt. Whitney as well as other mountains is something that most hikers understand. It is the sense of a challenge and adventure that calls. You ultimately never know what you are going to encounter when setting out to train for a hard climb. The unknown challenges, whether physical, mental, or something totally out of your control, are something that hikers face when trying to accomplish a goal. Both Ashley and I will agree, it is these challenges that confront you when hiking that have continued to strengthen our relationship and one of the many reasons why we hike together.

In training for Whitney, Ashley and I had the opportunity to climb Cucamonga Peak for the first time. Cucamonga Peak offered spectacular views from its summit (Picture Above) as well as rewarding us with the chance to see a herd of 10 Bighorn Sheep. We were both truly amazed at the beauty this hike had to offer and the rugged terrain that it presented. It was definitely more physically challenging than we both thought it would be, but physical challenges are all a part of the training process for Mt. Whitney. It was a good physically demanding hike.

Our next big hike was to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio. Mt. San Gorgonio is a mountain that both Ashley and I have been on several times. Ashley and I knew, going into our second big hike, that the Vivian Creek Trail was probably going to be the hardest hike in our training process because we were throwing in the element of higher altitude. We were both pleasantly surprised at the quick time we made on the beginning of this hike. However, once we got to around the 10,000 foot mark the altitude began to take its toll and our pace slowed. This mental and physical challenge of hitting a wall is something that every hiker faces. It is moments like these when you can turn around (and rightfully so if you are suffering from acute mountain sickness or don't believe you can safely get to the top) or push through the challenge and head to the top. Both Ashley and I pushed through this mental and physical challenge and made it to the top for some of the best views I have ever seen on top of Mt. San Gorgonio (Picture above).

The following weekend we did Mt. San Gorgonio via the South Fork Trail. We were amazed at how quickly our bodies had gotten into climbing shape. The hike from the trailhead to Dry Lake only took us a little over 2 hours. It was at this point that both Ashley and I knew that we were ready for Mt. Whitney as we continued our climb on Mt. San Gorgonio. Unfortunately, we did not reach the top of Mt. San Gorgonio on this hike because of a beautiful summer thunderstorm that developed. We heeded the warnings of the developing clouds and turned around on this hike before we got above the treeline (About 10,000 feet). The thunderstorm provided Ashley and I with a free firework show for a couple hours on our way down the trail. A mountain thunderstorm is one of those challenges that you don't have any control over, but it was really nice to enjoy a lunch in the mountains and listen to the thunderstorm. Most importantly, it was at this point that Ashley and I knew were physically ready to climb Mt. Whitney the following weekend.

The weekend arrived to climb Mt. Whitney and we had all our things ready to go for the trip. Our campground was reserved, we had all the supplies we needed, and we were physically ready for the one day hike to the summit. However, one of those challenges, the type that is totally out of your control, happened when Ashley's small head cold took a turn for the worst the day before the hike. We were both disappointed that we were unable to climb Mt. Whitney, especially since we had put in all the hard work and were right there at the Whitney Portal. However, the unexpected is part of hiking. You never have any guarantees that you will have success in reaching a summit or goal. Looking back on our training for Mt. Whitney the whole experience reinforces my belief that the exciting part of hiking is not in the destination or goal that you choose. The exiting part of hiking to me is the sense of adventure, friendship, and the unknown. Sure, you may have temporary disappointments and not be able to reach a destination or goal, but the stories you share with people from the trip are of the adventure you had and the unknown you faced.

This blog post contains some pictures of our trip to Mt. Whitney. Both Ashley and I look forward to putting our name in next years lottery. As someone that has been to the top of Mt. Whitney, it is an amazing hike and I look forward to going back sometime in the future. For those of you that want some motivational pictures the picture above this paragraph and below are from my 2010 trip to Mt. Whitney, all other pictures are from this years trip and training hikes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WrightSock CoolMesh II Sock Review

Recently, the folks at WrightSock sent us some socks to try on the trail. Ashley and I had a chance to try their CoolMesh II Socks, which we gave high marks. We had the chance to test them on our recent Tideland Trail hike as well as our Cox Mountain Trail hike in the Eno River State Park. The CoolMesh II Socks are great lightweight socks to use when hiking and they have an anti-blister system that works exceptionally well. Click Here to find a store near you that sells WrightSocks. You can also purchase the socks through WrightSock's Website. They are perfect for short hikes, long hikes, backpacking, workouts and general wear.


General Information from the Manufacture: Here, is some general information about the CoolMesh II Socks. They have Dri-WRIGHT II™, a Stabilizer Zone™ to help lock the sock in place, and a mesh panel for breathability. Here is the fiber content of the sock: Inner Layer: 70% Dri-WRIGHT II™ Polyester, 27% Nylon, 3% Lycra®. Outer Layer: 71% Dri-WRIGHT II™ Polyester, 22% Nylon, 7% Lycra®. The socks come in the following sizes: S, M, L, XL. Additionally, the socks come in a number of colors and different styles.

Ashley' Review: This lightweight sock is definitely one to purchase whether you run, hike, walk, or wear to bed! It is so soft, and lightweight. I had no blisters after hiking in them on our hikes, and today I ran 3.1 miles around Lake Mission Viejo in them. They were friction-free, they never caused my feet to slide around in my shoe, and my feet were not not sweaty when I removed my sock because the socks wicked the sweat. They are supportive in the arch, cushioned--much like the other WrightSocks I've tried. One thing I love about these socks is the double layer--like the other socks I've tried as well--they make the sock so much more comfortable. The double layer completely protected my feet from blisters. Honestly, this brand of sock is the best I've ever worn, I cannot say enough good things about WrightSock. They look good, feel awesome, and leave me pain-free. I used to buy my socks for hiking at Target, or got whatever was the cheapest wool sock, but I now see the value in investing in a good pair of socks like WrightSock. They are socks for optimum performance.

Brian's Review: I had the opportunity to try these socks on more than just the two hikes listed above. I really enjoyed these socks as they are lightweight and still have the double layer anti-blister system. I found that they are great at wicking moisture away from your foot. The best thing about these socks was that they stayed in place during the hikes and did not slide around. In addition to being the type of socks that you can use on a long hike, they also have the feel of a sock that you would wear just around the house. The CoolMesh II Socks are very versatile and I would recommend them to others. Overall, I have been extremely impressed with how the WrightSock brand has performed. You could not go wrong with one of their socks. Additionally, the price of the CoolMesh II Sock is comparable with other high end socks.

MORE WRIGHTSOCK REVIEWS

Merino Trail Sock (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, and Backpacking)

SCL Sock (Good for Workouts, Walks, Shorter Hikes, and General Wear)

Cushioned DLX Sock (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, Backpacking, and Rocky Conditions)

SLX Sock (Good for Short Hikes, Long Hikes, Workouts, and General Wear)

CoolMesh II (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, Backpacking, Workouts, and General Wear)(This Post)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some Local State Parks are Cutting Back Hours

Here, is an article from the Orange County Register, in case you missed it. Several local state parks hours are changing due to state budget cuts. The following is the majority of the Orange County Register Article. For the full article click Here.
State parks will be cutting back hours and days they are open as part of state budget cuts. Parks will remain open during high-use times around the weekends and holidays and will be closed in the middle of the week, when parks have fewer visitors, said Ron Krueper, Inland Empire District Superintendent. “The cost to operate and staff a state park on a non-peak week day is significant,” he said. “And that cost will not be offset by the minimal amount of fees collected at park entrances for day use and Camping.” These state parks will be open fewer hours and days starting Oct. 1: 
Lake Perris State Recreation Area: The park will be closed for day use and camping Tuesdays and Wednesdays through April 30. The park will be open Thursdays through Mondays and on holidays through April 30. Park day-use hours will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The park has stayed open until 8 p.m. From May 1, to Sept. 30, the park will again be open seven days a week with day-use hours changed to 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. On Oct. 1, 2012, the park will return to the same weekday service reduction cycle for 2012/13. 
Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area: The park will be closed for day use and camping Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 30. The park will be open for day use and camping Fridays through Tuesdays and holidays until April 30. Park day-use hours will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The park has stayed open until 7p.m. From May 1, to Sept. 30, the park will again be open seven days a week with day-use hours changed to changed to 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Oct. 1, 2012, the park will return to the same weekday service reduction cycle for 2012/13. 
California Citrus State Historic Park: The park will be closed for day use Tuesday through Thursday until further notice. The park will be open Fridays through Mondays. Day-use hours will remain from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends. Winter day-use hours will remain from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weddings and Sunkist Building rentals will still be available seven days a week through the California Citrus Non-Profit Management Corporation. School tours will also still be accommodated by park volunteers on a case-by-case basis. 
Chino Hills State Park: The park will be closed for day use and camping Tuesdays through Thursdays until further notice. The park will be open Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays. Hours remain from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Winter hours will remain from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
Mount San Jacinto State Park: The Idyllwild campground, day-use and sector office will be closed Wednesdays and Thursdays until April 30. It will be open Fridays through Tuesdays. From May 1 to Sept. 30, the park will again be open seven days a week. On Oct. 1, 2012, the park will return to the same weekday service reduction cycle for fiscal year 2012/13. Stone Creek Campground near Idyllwild is normally closed for the winter season and will be open during the summer season. Mount San Jacinto Wilderness Area and Long Valley Ranger Station (Palm Springs Tram area) will remain open year-round as usual. 
San Timoteo and Wildwood Canyon: There will be no changes in hours and no service reductions.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Saturday Thunderstorm In Orange County

This past Saturday, we had some pretty neat weather with a couple of Thunderstorms moving through Southern California. As most everyone in Southern California knows Thunderstorms are a pretty rare event in the Los Angeles basin. I watched this one on Saturday morning this past weekend and it started to hail. I went and got my camera out and snapped this video of the last part of this Thunderstorm. You can see some of the hail on the ground, but it stopped hailing by the time I began the video. This video has nothing to do with hiking, but I figured readers in Southern California might enjoy watching since Thunderstorms are so rare and I am sure the storms this past weekend interfered with some of our readers hiking plans.


Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association Events

Here, are a couple of upcoming events in the Chino Hills State Park for those of you that are looking for things to do that are outdoor related. The events are hosted/done by the Chino Hills State Park Interpretive Association.

Open House at the Discovery Center
Saturday, October 1st 9:00 - 11:30 AM
Location: 4500 Carbon Canyon Road (Brea)
Cost: FREE
Though the interpretive displays are in development, visitors can get a tour of the Center, its Community Room, amphitheater, and take a stroll on a handicap accessible trail. Light refreshments will be provided for attendees! Interpretive sale items will be available. To download the complete flyer click Here.

Evening Program:
"Whoo, whoo" is in your neighborhood? (Part 1)
Saturday, October 8th 7:00 - 8:00 PM
Location: Rolling M Ranch in Chino Hills State Park
Cost: Event is FREE, Entrance to the Park $4
Join the State Park’s Interpretive Association to learn about guardians of the night – owls. It is always amazing to see these silent flyers or hear their eerie calls at night. We invite you to learn about owls, owl behavior, and their special hunting techniques. Arrive early with blankets to get a good seat! To download the complete flyer click Here.

CampOut:
Saturday, October 8th 4:00 PM - Sunday, October 9th 9:00 AM (Part 2)
Location: Group Camp Area
Cost: $10 per person or $8 per person for groups of four or more
Join us for an overnight adventure in the State Park to learn about the owls of Chino Hills State Park and to enjoy the yipping of coyotes in the distance. Camping reservations are required and can be made through our website. Campers must bring all of their own equipment and supplies. We highly recommend carpooling, arriving early to set up camp, and enjoying the sunset. We will camp at the Group Camp area. Note: There are no fires allowed. The fee covers the cost to camp in the Park and enjoy apple cider and popcorn before the Campfire program. To download the complete flyer click Here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Fall Haunts and Happenings at OC Parks

Here are some Fall events that are happening at several OC Parks, for those of you that are looking for Fall activities to do with the family. 
This fall OC Parks presents a full calendar of seasonal special events, educational programs and Halloween activities at Irvine Regional Park and Heritage Hill Historical Park that are perfect for families and friends.

Beginning September 17, Irvine Park Railroad at Irvine Regional Park in Orange welcomes the sixth annual Pumpkin Patch! While picking out the perfect pumpkins, kids can enjoy activities including train rides, the haunted house, hay mazes, pony rides, carnival games, tractor races, face painting and panning for gold. Admission to the Pumpkin Patch is free and open weekdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through October 31. 
Just across Irvine Regional Park, the OC Zoo will be offering Halloween themed Toddler Programs throughout October. Children ages 3 to 4 years of age can learn all about the animals of the zoo through hands on learning with special creepy crawling spooky themed classes and crafts. 
Saturday, October 29, the OC Zoo presents the annual Halloween Zoo-tacular! Families can enjoy trick-or-treating, a scavenger hunt, themed crafts, face painting and watching the zoo animals receive treat-filled pumpkins! Children wearing costumes will receive a free takeaway gift.
Heritage Hill Historical Park in Lake Forest is known for its seasonally inspired festivities throughout the fall and winter seasons. On October 21, beware of the annual Haunt at Heritage Hill. Dare to enter the “Back Woods” Scare Zone, the Haunted School House and the treacherous Maze. Families can watch cult classic fright movies on the big screen in the Wagon Wheel Corral and enjoy seasonal live music and entertainment. 
The following day, October 22, OC Parks and the City of Lake Forest present the annual Autumn Harvest Festival at Heritage Hill. A full evening of Halloween-inspired family activities is planned to include a costume parade, trick-or-treating throughout the park and live entertainment.
Enjoy this fall season with family, friends and OC Parks at Irvine Regional Park and Heritage Hill Historical Park.
Irvine Regional Park
1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
http://www.ocparks.com/irvinepark/
(714) 973-6835 or (714) 973-3173

September 17 – October 31 – Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch (Address Above)
Weekdays 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Weekends 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Cost: Free
Parking: $3 per vehicle on weekdays and $5 per vehicle on weekends
Contact: (714) 997-3968; http://www.irvineparkrailroad.com/ 

October 7, 13, 21, 25 – OC Zoo Bats, Cats & Spiders – Toddler Program (Address Above)
10 - 11 a.m.
Cost: $5 per child (includes one parent)
Parking: $3 per vehicle
(Ages 3-4)

October 29 – Halloween Zoo-tacular! (Address Above)
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Cost: Free with Zoo admission of $2
Parking: $5 per vehicle
(All ages)

Heritage Hill Historical Park
25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest, CA 92630
http://www.ocparks.com/heritagehill/
(949) 923-2230 or (949) 461-3450

October 21 – Haunt at Heritage Hill (Address Above)
5 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Cost: $4 Adults, $3 kids ages 3-12
Parking: FREE
(Recommended for 12 years and up)
October 22 – Autumn Harvest Festival at Heritage Hill (Address Above)
5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Cost: $4 Adults, $3 kids ages 3-12
Parking: FREE

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sitton Peak (Cleveland National Forest)

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to hike to the top of Sitton Peak with one of my friends Steven. Unfortunately, Ashley could not joint because she was under the weather and we had to cancel our plans to climb Mt. Whitney. Sitton Peak is a great hike in the Santa Ana Mountains and this time we even got rained on from to some tropical moisture going through Southern California. For more pictures make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: To hike to the top of Sitton Peak Via the Bear Canyon Loop: Park across the street from the Ortega Oaks Candy Store off of Ortega Hwy (Coming from Orange County take the Ortega Highway going East). The trailhead is located right behind the candy store, indicated with a sign for the Bear Canyon Trailhead. You want to take the bear canyon loop to the 4 corners area (about 3.5 miles in where the Verdugo Trail, the Tenja Trail, Bear Ridge Trail and Bear Canyon Trail meet). At that point there is a marker for the trail to Sitton Peak. Once you hit the 4 corners area, you have a little over a mile and a half to go, it is mostly uphill from there. The last climb up sitton peak is a fun one, a nice little scramble of less than a quarter mile. A map of the area can be found below in the Google map. You will need a Forest Adventure Pass to park at the trailhead. One can be purchased at the Ortega Oaks Candy Store across Ortega Highway.

Description of Hike: The total Distance for our hike was 9.8 miles with an elevation gain of approximately 2,200 ft. The hike was a little shorter than others that we have done, because we didn't complete the full Bear Canyon Loop. The full loop is composed of the Bear Ridge Trail and the Bear Canyon Trail. The hike is shorter if you do not complete the full Bear Canyon Loop and use the Bear Canyon Trail both ways. The best thing about this hike is that the trails are well marked and mileage is posted on each trail marker. The trail was in great shape when we hiked here and normally you will see other hikers out on the trail because the climb to sitton peak is popular with Orange County Hikers. Sitton peak is just over 3,200 feet in elevation and the hike is about 10 miles round trip without doing the full loop. Remember to sign in at the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness register at the trailhead.

Further Thoughts: This was an escpessially fun hike to Sitton Peak in the Cleveland National Forest, because of all the tropical moisture that was in Southern California. On the drive to the trailhead, from Orange County, we could see rain falling from the clouds over portions of the Santa Ana Mountains. That rain left, by the time we began our hike, however, another set of showers moved in during our hike. We had about 10 - 15 minutes of rain at the 4 corners area on the way to Sitton Peak. A video of the rain from the summer monsoonal moisture we saw can be seen by clicking Here.

At the top of Sitton Peak, we had views of Catalina Island, San Clemente Island, the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Saddleback Mountain, San Gorgornio, and San Jacinto. We could even see the Palomar Observatory in the Palomar District of the Cleveland National Forrest and enjoyed sweeping views of the Trabuco District of the Cleveland National Forest. The hike to the top of Sitton Peak is a must do for any hiker. Additionally, we got an opportunity to see some wildlife while on this hike. We saw two horned lizzards, one of which was very young and quite small. We also saw an alligator lizzard as well.

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: 2,200 ft. (Moderate), Distance: 10.3 Miles Roundtrip with full Bear Canyon loop (Moderate), 9.8 Miles Roundtrip without loop, only going through the valley (Moderate).

Time to Complete Hike: 4.5 - 6 hours.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON SITTON PEAK




September 4, 2011 (This Post)

June 29, 2013

View Sitton Peak in a larger map

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mt. San Gorgonio Via the South Fork Trail

Ashley and I attempted to hike to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio via the South Fork Trail last weekend. Unfortunately, due to summer thunderstorms we were unable to reach the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio and had to turn back for safety reasons several miles from the summit. The hike to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio is a very strenuous hike, and only those fit enough to hike 23.6 miles roundtrip to the 11,502 foot summit should attempt this hike. Mt. San Gorgonio is the Tallest Mountain in Southern California at 11,502 feet and is a must do for any Southern California hiker. For more pictures of this hike, make sure to check out our Facebook Page.

Directions to Trailhead: To hike to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio via the South Fork Trailhead, going from Orange County, take the 91 freeway east towards Riverside. Stay on the 91 freeway which eventually becomes the 215 freeway. The 215 freeway eventually intersects with Interstate 10. At the 215 freeway and Interstate 10 interchange, take Interstate 10 going East toward Palm Springs. Exit from Interstate 10 on University which is in the City of Redlands. Make a left and follow University (You will pass through Redlands University) until you meet Highway 38. Take a right on Highway 38, going toward the San Bernardino Mountains. In several miles you will pass the Mill Creek Ranger Station (Where you obtain the additional wilderness permit if you have not gotten it early), continue on up into the San Bernardino National Forest. Highway 38 will take you to the trailhead. Exit highway 38 onto Jenks Lake Road (This road is located before Barton Flats). Take Jenks lake road a couple of miles and the trailhead is on your left hand side. It is a large parking lot with a big sign indicating the South Fork Trailhead. (A Forest Adventure Pass is needed as well as a free Wilderness Permit for the San Gorgonio Wilderness).

Description of Hike: To day hike or overnight backpack in the San Gorgonio Wilderness, you must have an additional wilderness permit (The Permit is Free), in addition to the Forest Adventure Pass. You can Follow this link for the permit. The link will direct you to the wilderness permit application. You can obtain the additional wilderness permit early from the Mill Creek Ranger Station which is the easiest way, or you will have to stop at the Mill Creek Ranger Station before you go hiking. Each trail in the San Gorgonio Wilderness has a set quota for the number of hikers allowed on each trail and once the quota is reached the Forest Service doesn't issue more wilderness permits for the trail. That is why I recommend you get your wilderness permit early for your hike to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio. You can obtain a permit 90 days before your hike.

Mt. San Gorgonio is located in the San Gorgonio Wilderness (approximately 58,969 Acres). The total length of the hike to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio via the south fork trail is 23.6 miles roundtrip with a 4,601 foot elevation gain. This is a very popular trail to hike to the summit and you will likely see people on the trail as well as in the campsites. The permit quota often fills up for this hike, especially during weekends during peak summer months, so get your free wilderness permits in advance. The trail is well maintained and is usually in good condition. All trails are well marked, except right by Dry Lake. This hike is very strenuous and only fit hikers should hike to the summit. It is a good idea to train on other hikes like Mt. Baden Powell or Mt. San Jacinto in preparation for this hike.

For this hike you take the South Fork Trail which passes Horse Meadows and then crosses into the San Gorgonio Wilderness. The South Fork Trail goes to the South Fork Meadow, where you take the trail to Dry Lake. There is camping available at Dry Lake (Water is available at Lodge Pole Springs) as well as further up at Trail Flats (No water available). The trail continues all the way to the summit. There are several other trails that go to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio (Vivian Creek and Fish Creek). The South Fork Trail is one of the most popular routes to the summit for hikers to use. In our opinion this is the most scenic rout to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio.

Further Thoughts: Ashley and I really enjoyed this hike in the San Bernardino Mountains. We started our hike to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio at about 8:15am, that way we would be able to make it back down to the car before it got dark. The weather to start the day was great. There was not a cloud in the sky when we began our hike, however both Ashley and I knew that there was a 40% chance of thunderstorms forecasted for the San Gorgonio Wilderness area. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Association gives weather forecasts, that are worth checking out before you hike in this area. Also you can view a live webcam of Mt. San Gorgonio by clicking Here, courtesy of BigBearWeather.com.

Throughout our hike, after the 10am mark, the clouds kept building. We knew from our history of hiking in this area that it was only a matter of time before it began to thunder and lightning. After continuing on for another mile past Dry Lake, we decided to turn around because we did not want to be above the tree line when it began to thunder and lightning. We had hope that the weather would clear from the mountain, but unfortunately that never happened. Our decision to turn back was correct because on our way back down, shortly after lunch time, it began to rain and thunder and lightning. The storm lasted for a couple of hours and we rode out the storm further down the mountain in the safety of one of the hills. Anytime you are hiking in the mountains and the weather looks bad it is always the smart move to not go up above the tree line. Despite the fact that the thunderstorm prevented us from reaching the summit, we really enjoyed this hike. Bottom-line is during the summer months always be on the watch for thunderstorms when hiking in the San Bernardino Mountains. Ashley and I both recommend that anyone thinking of hiking to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio do some training hikes because this is a challenging hike with significant altitude changes. Also, on the trail to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio, there is an airplane wreck from 1953, where a military plane crashed into the side of Mt. San Gorgonio during a snow storm. Most of the wreckage is still there. Sadly everyone on the plane was lost.

Along the South Fork Trail, Dry Lake is another notable spot along the hike to Mt. San Gorgonio. It has stellar views of the surrounding San Bernardino Mountains and during most of the year is filled with water. During the summer months and early fall it becomes a meadow until snow returns in the winter. During the winter this area gets a lot of snow. For those that do this hike in the winter always make sure to check the weather conditions and information provided by the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association's Bulletin Board. If you are doing this hike in the winter you will likely need crampons, snow shoes, and good winter gear. Remember, snow can be present for many months of the year on the trail to the summit of Mt. San Gorgonio so make sure to check the conditions if you are doing this hike in late fall, the winter, or the spring. If you do this hike during the cold winter months make sure you are prepared with proper gear as only experienced hikers should do this hike during the winter.

Rating: Elevation Gain: 4,601 ft. (Strenuous), Distance: 23.6 Miles Roundtrip (Strenuous), Note: be on the watch for Altitude sickness since the height of Mt. San Gorgonio is 11,502 ft.

Time to Complete Hike: 9 - 11 hours.

Good Training Hikes: Mt. Baden-Powell, Mt. San Jacinto, Saddleback MountainCucamonga Peak, Mt. Baldy.

MORE TRAIL WRITE-UPS ON MT. SAN GORGONIO






Mt San Gorgonio (Via the South Fork Trail, August 2011)(This Post)

Summer Rain on Sitton Peak

Yesterday I did a hike to Sitton Peak with my buddy Steven. Unfortunately, Ashley was unable to join because she has been sick for the past several days. She is on the road to getting better and has just started Antibiotics. Needless to say, we were unable to do our Whitney hike that we had permits for this past weekend, and will have to apply again next year for the Whitney Lottery. The hike to Sitton Peak, while no Mt. Whitney, was especially fun yesterday because of all the tropical moisture that has been coming into Southern California. Here, is a video of the rain that we ran into yesterday on our hike. It rained for about 15 minutes on the hike.


Helicopter in the San Bernardino National Forest

Here is a video that Ashley and I took last weekend when we were on our way home from our San Gorgonio hike via the south fork trail. We saw a helicopter searching the hillsides in the San Bernardino National Forest. We are assuming that they were searching for a lost hiker or possibly that they were doing a training mission.The helicopter hovered/circled the valley where we took this video and then continued over the ridge just north of the Forest Falls area.


Saturday, September 3, 2011

WrightSock Cushioned DLX Sock Review

Recently, the folks at WrightSock sent us some socks to try on the trail. Ashley and I had a chance to try their Cushioned DLX Sock's on one of our recent hikes. Ashley and I tested the Cushioned DLX Sock's on our recent San Gorgonio hikes via the Vivian Creek Trail. We both gave these cushioned socks high marks. Click Here to find a store near you that sells WrightSocks. You can also purchase the socks through WrightSock's Website. The Cushioned DLX Socks are good for both short and long hikes, backpacking, and anywhere that you expect rocky conditions that you might want a little extra cushion.

General Information from the Manufacture: The Cushioned DLX provides a light amount of cushion from heel to toe for added comfort. It has a Stabilizer Zone™ to help lock the sock in place, a Mesh Panel for breathability, and Improved moisture management. The information about the Fiber Content is as follows: Inner Layer: 66% Dri-WRIGHT II™ Polyester, 30% Nylon, 4% Lycra®; Outer Layer: 68% Dri-WRIGHT II™ Polyester, 24% Nylon, 8% Lycra®. The sock comes in the follow sizes: S, M, L, XL.

Ashley's Review: I used these socks on a 16 mile hike to the top of Mt. San Gorgonio (Southern California's tallest mountain at 11,502 feet). Ordinarily, I normally use a Dr. Scholl insert to provide padding for my feet on a hike as rocky as this one. I am happy to say these cushioned socks performed great on the Mt. San Gorgonio hike. Not one blister, no sliding in my shoe, moisture wicking, and most of all fully padded! So much support and cushion. Though the socks are more thick than previous ones I tested, it was necessary as they provide added cushion. The socks still breathed and my feet were not too insulated. I had the best support and I look forward to using these socks on Mt. Whitney.

Brian's Review: I enjoyed the feel of these socks and tested them out on our Mt San Gorgonio hike, which is a strenuous hike in our local mountains. These socks had excellent cushion to deal with the rocky terrain that we encountered high on the mountain. My feet breathed well in the sock and the double layer anti-blister system worked great as I had no blisters after this hike. Best of all the socks stayed in place during all 16 miles of the hike, the stabilizer zone really makes it so the socks don't slide around. Overall, I have been extremely impressed with how the WrightSock brand has performed. Additionally, the price of the Cushioned DLX Sock is comparable with other high end socks. These socks are perfect for when you want a little extra cushion on a hike.

MORE WRIGHTSOCK REVIEWS

Merino Trail Sock (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, and Backpacking)

SCL Sock (Good for Workouts, Walks, Shorter Hikes, and General Wear)

Cushioned DLX Sock (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, Backpacking, and Rocky Conditions)(This Post)

SLX Sock (Good for Short Hikes, Long Hikes, Workouts, and General Wear)

CoolMesh II (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, Backpacking, Workouts, and General Wear)

WrightSock SLX Sock Review

Recently, the folks at WrightSock sent us some socks to try on the trail. Ashley and I had a chance to try their SLX socks on our recent hike to Cucamonga Peak. We found that they were great socks for hiking and were very comfortable. You can find these socks in stores like REI. You can also purchase these socks through WrightSock's website. The SLX socks are perfect for short and long hikes as well as for backpacking.

General Information from the Manufacture: The SLX Sock has a dense terry cushion in key stress zones that provides exceptional comfort and shock absorption, a Seam Free technology that eliminates irritation, a Y Heel that promotes an anatomically correct fit, a Stabilizer Zone™ that enhances performance fit, and a Venting Channel that provides added breathability. The Fiber Content for the SLX Sock is as follows: 78% Dri-WRIGHT II™ Polyester, 16% Nylon, and 6% Lycra®. It comes in the following sizes: S, M, L, XL.

Ashley's Review: These socks are so soft and were great at wicking moisture away from my feet. They kept my feet cool on our hike and they had great arch support. Even though this was a longer hike at 12 miles roundtrip, the socks performed great and I had no blisters. Also, I love ankle socks because it prevents that awkward tan line, so these socks were perfect. These socks never scrunched down into my shoes, they stayed up above my ankles the entire time. Wrightsock makes a great sock!

Brian's Review: I really enjoyed the SLX Socks as they performed well on the 12 mile hike to Cucamonga Peak that Ashley and I did. They were very comfortable and breathed extremely well. The best feature of this sock and of all the Wrightsocks that we have tried is that they stayed in place and did not move during the hike. It is important for a hikers socks not get out of position during a hike, because that increases the risk of blisters and problems. These socks stayed in place and my feet were comfortable the whole hike. These socks are great for short or long hikes in addition to workouts and general wear as I have worn them several times while not hiking. Overall, I have been very impressed with how the WrightSock brand has performed. Additionally, the price is comparable with other high end socks.

MORE WRIGHTSOCK REVIEWS

Merino Trail Sock (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, and Backpacking)

SCL Sock (Good for Workouts, Walks, Shorter Hikes, and General Wear)

Cushioned DLX Sock (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, Backpacking, and Rocky Conditions)

SLX Sock (Good for Short Hikes, Long Hikes, Workouts, and General Wear)(This Post)

CoolMesh II (Good for Shorter Hikes, Longer Hikes, Backpacking, Workouts, and General Wear)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

OC Parks September Calendar of Events

Here are some highlights from the OC Parks September Calendar of events, if you are looking for hiking ideas or other outdoor events in the month of September.

September 1 – Fitness Hike at Dilley
8 – 10 a.m.
Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this strenuous, fast-paced, 4.8-mile hike over steep and uneven terrain (400-ft. elevation gain) with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just north of 73 Toll Road). 

September 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 – Tideland Tykes
10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Join Preserve staff for a fun-filled parent and child experience that may include arts and crafts, storytelling, hands-on activities or outdoor nature walks. Come prepared for an exciting outdoor experience! 
Location: Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Website: http://www.ocparks.com/unbic/
Cost: $5 per student Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2290
Special Instructions: 2 to 8 years.  Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call (949) 923-2275, or email unbic@ocparks.com to register. 

September 2, 16 – Morning Stroll to Barbara’s Lake
8 – 10:30 a.m.
Enjoy the outdoors and discover the diverse plant life on this leisurely paced, level, 2-mile hike with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions:  Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 8 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405).

September 3 – Fitness Hike at Big Bend
8 – 10 a.m.
Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this strenuous, fast-paced, 5-mile hike over steep and uneven terrain (1185-ft. elevation gain) with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html Ages 15 and up. Not for beginners. Please wear appropriate hiking shoes/hiking poles strongly recommended and be prepared for potential heat out in the canyon. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Big Bend Staging Area (ask for directions). 

September 3 – Mars and Stars: Overloading Our Celestial Circuits 
7 to 10 p.m.
OC Parks welcomes back NASA’s Jet Propulsions Laboratory (JPL) for a series of educational public programs showcasing various missions to Mars. The second event in the series takes place at Upper Newport Bay. JPL Solar System Ambassador John Hoot will explain how we communicate with, command, monitor, navigate and return science data from spacecraft over 100 million miles away. While we often marvel at the stunning images from the surface of Mars, Hoot will explain how that information gets here. 
Location: Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Website: http://www.ocparks.com/unbic/
Cost: Free Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2290
Special Instructions: All ages.  Registration is required. Please phone (949) 923-2290 or email unbic@ocparks.com to register. Some activities will be outdoors, please dress warmly. 

September 2, 16 – Morning Stroll to Barbara’s Lake
8 – 10:30 a.m.
Enjoy the outdoors and discover the diverse plant life on this leisurely paced, level, 2-mile hike with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions:  Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 8 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405).

September 3, 10, 17, 24 – Nature Walk
9 to 10:30 a.m.
Join our Naturalists on a nature walk and learn about Trabuco Canyon animals and nature. All ages are welcome including children. Light to moderate walk on mostly paved roads.
Location: O’Neill Regional Park. 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
Website: www.ocparks.com/oneillpark/
Cost: Free Parking: $5 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2260 or (949) 923 -2256
Special Instructions: Ages 7 and up. Meet at Nature Center just inside the main entrance to the Park.  Please be careful to wear appropriate clothing and shoes for outdoor trail activity and bring water and sunscreen as needed. 

September 3 – Mars and Stars: Overloading Our Celestial Circuits 
7 to 10 p.m.
OC Parks welcomes back NASA’s Jet Propulsions Laboratory (JPL) for a series of educational public programs showcasing various missions to Mars. The second event in the series takes place at Upper Newport Bay. JPL Solar System Ambassador John Hoot will explain how we communicate with, command, monitor, navigate and return science data from spacecraft over 100 million miles away. While we often marvel at the stunning images from the surface of Mars, Hoot will explain how that information gets here. 
Location: Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center. 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Website: http://www.ocparks.com/unbic/
Cost: Free Parking: Free
Contact: (949) 923-2290
Special Instructions: All ages.  Registration is required. Please phone (949) 923-2290 or email unbic@ocparks.com to register. Some activities will be outdoors, please dress warmly. 

September 3, 10, 17, 24 – Caspers Campfire Program
8– 9 p.m.
Come join a ranger for an hour of fun and learning about Caspers Wilderness Park. The campfire program may include a slide presentation, wilderness safety, games and activities for children, animal adaptations, skins and skulls, a live animal demonstration and a chance to visit the Nature Center. Topics vary weekly. 
Location: Caspers Wilderness Park.  33401 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Website: www.ocparks.com/caspers/
Donation: Free Parking: $5
Contact: (949) 923-2207 or (949) 923 - 2210
Special Instructions:  All ages. Camping is not required, parking fees do apply. For cancellations due to rain, please call (949) 923-2210.

September 3, 10, 17, 24 – O’Neill Campfire Program
8 to 9 p.m.
Join us each Saturday night as one of the Park Rangers will lead a family oriented talk on the local wildlife.
Location: O’Neill Regional Park. 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
Website: www.ocparks.com/oneillpark/
Cost: Free Parking: $5 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2260 or (949) 923 -2256
Special Instructions: for those camping at the park only. Meet in the Amphitheater directly behind the Nature Center.

September 4, 11, 18, 25 – Caspers Nature Hike
8 – 9 a.m.
Join our Park Rangers Sunday mornings for an easy 1-mile hike on the Nature Trail. The trail takes visitors through grassland, oak woodland, riparian and sandy cactus scrub communities. A wide variety of plant and animal life is found in these areas.
Location: Caspers Wilderness Park.  33401 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Website: www.ocparks.com/caspers/
Cost: Free Parking: $5 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2207 or (949) 923 - 2210
Special Instructions:  All ages. Comfortable clothing, hiking shoes, sunscreen, water and insect repellent are recommended. If cancellations due to rain, please call (949) 923-2210.

September 6, 20 – Bird Walk
8 to 9:30 a.m.
Join our Naturalists on a nature/bird walk and learn about Trabuco Canyon birds and nature. All levels of birders welcome including beginners. Moderate walk on mostly paved roads. Meet at the Nature Center. We meet the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month.
Location: O’Neill Regional Park. 30892 Trabuco Canyon Road, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678
Website: www.ocparks.com/oneillpark/
Cost: Free Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2260 or (949) 923 -2256
Special Instructions: Meet at the Nature Center.

September 8 – Fitness Hike at Little Sycamore
8 – 10 a.m.
Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this difficult, strenuous and fast-paced, up to 4.8-mile hike (700-ft elevation gain) over very steep, uneven terrain with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 15 and up. Not for beginners. Hiking poles suggested. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Little Sycamore Canyon Staging Area/Nix Nature Center (west wide of Laguna Canyon Road/SR-133, approximately 3.5 miles south of I-5/405).

September 10 – California Native Plant/Wildflower Hike
8 – 11 a.m.
Learn to identify native plans with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalist Nadine Nordstrom (author of the South Coast Wilderness Plant Identification Guide) on this moderate but very fast-paced, steep and rocky, 3.5-mile hike (1000-ft elevation gain)
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html.Ages 12 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Rd, just south of El Toro Rd intersection).

September 10 – Easy Early Evening Hike
3 – 5 p.m.
Start your weekend with an easy 2 to3 mile family hike over moderate but uneven terrain (100-ft elevation gain). Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers will lead you through a canopy of oaks and willows to Barbara’s Lake and back. 
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 7 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR – 133, just north of 73 Toll Road).

September 13 – Exploring Biodiversity Hike
9 – 11 a.m.
Explore the diversity of animal and plant species as you explore our ever-changing wilderness on a 1.5-mile, slow and easy hike over rocky and uneven terrain.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 12 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Rd/Sr-133, just north of the 73 Toll Road).

September 13 – Easy Early Evening Hike
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Come and enjoy a stress-free end to your day on a level and moderate 3 mile hike (100-ft elevation gain) through riparian landscape and open grass land. Along the way discover evidence of bobcat, coyote and deer. Led by Laguna Canyon Volunteers.
Location: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. 28373 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Website: www.ocparks.com/alisoandwoodcanyons/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2200
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html For ages 7 and older. Please park on the park side of the street or in the parking lot.  Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Ranger Headquarters, Gate 1.

September 17 - 30 – Irvine Park Railroad Pumpkin Patch
10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Weekdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Weekends
Irvine Park Railroad’s sixth annual pumpkin patch is fun for the entire family! Activities include train rides, hay rides, a haunted house, a hay maze, pony rides, a moon bounce, face painting (weekends only), picture stands, the OC Zoo and a lot more.
Location: Irvine Regional Park. 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869
Website: www.ocparks.com/irvinepark/
Cost: Entrance is free, all other activities vary. Parking: $3 per vehicle weekdays and $5 per vehicle weekends. 
Contact: (714) 997–3968 or (714) 973-3173
Special Instructions: All ages. For additional information and costs, please visit www.irvineparkrailroad.com

September 13 – Easy Early Evening Hike
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Come and enjoy a stress-free end to your day on a level and moderate 3 mile hike (100-ft elevation gain) through riparian landscape and open grass land. Along the way discover evidence of bobcat, coyote and deer. Led by Laguna Canyon Volunteers.
Location: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. 28373 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Website: www.ocparks.com/alisoandwoodcanyons/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2200
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html For ages 7 and older. Please park on the park side of the street or in the parking lot.  Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, Ranger Headquarters, Gate 1.

September 22 – Fitness Hike at Willow
8 – 10 a.m.
Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this strenuous, fast-paced, 3.5 mile hike over seep and uneven terrain (650-ft elevation gain) with Laguna Canyon Foundation Volunteers. 
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Willow Canyon Staging Area (20101 Laguna Canyon Road, just south of El Toro Road intersection).

September 25 – Birding Hike
8 – 11 a.m.
Spot the local native birds, including migratory summer residents, with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists on this moderate 2-mile hike over uneven terrain (up to 140-ft elevation gain) through one of the most diverse plant communities in the United States.  
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 12 and up. Bring your binoculars. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just north of the 73 Toll Road).

September 25 – Cultural Resource Hike
8 – 10:30 a.m.
Learn how Native Americans of this area used various plants on this rigorous, steep and uneven 2-mile hike (700-ft elevation gain) with Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteer naturalists.
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 15 and up.  

September 25 – Dilley Loop Hike
9 – 11 a.m.
Get close to nature on this leisurely 2 mile hike (370-ft elevation gain) over steep and uneven terrain as you spot plants, animals or maybe their tracks and signs along the way.   
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 12 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just north of the 73 Toll Road).

September 29 – Fitness Hike at Canyon View
8 – 10 a.m.
Raise your heart rate and your spirits on this strenuous, fast paced, 4.5 mile hike over steep and uneven terrain (100-ft elevation gain) with Laguna Canyon Foundation Volunteers.
Location: Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. 28373 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Website: www.ocparks.com/alisoandwoodcanyons/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2200
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html  

September 25 – Dilley Loop Hike
9 – 11 a.m.
Get close to nature on this leisurely 2 mile hike (370-ft elevation gain) over steep and uneven terrain as you spot plants, animals or maybe their tracks and signs along the way.   
Location: Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 18751 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Website: www.ocparks.com/lagunacoast/
Cost: $2 donation per person Parking: $3 per vehicle
Contact: (949) 923-2235 or (949) 923-3702
Special Instructions: Sign-up online: www.lagunacanyon.org/activities.html. Ages 12 and up. Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, James Dilley Preserve (east side of Laguna Canyon Rd/SR-133, just north of the 73 Toll Road).