Oh glorious summer!
I want to spend most of your days eating great good, walking along the coastal bluffs and seeing the mountains from a long, wood pier. And, add to that ice cream in all the colors of the rainbow!
Nevertheless, as much I enjoy taking it easy, I need some sort of action once in a while. That is why summer is prime hiking time for me. In the blog, you can read about the hikes I have already done in Joshua Tree and Sequoia National Parks.
Things do not end up in there. Today, I want to share my hiking bucket list for the summer.
Channel Islands National Park
Cavern Point and Potato Harbor Hike in Santa Cruz Island
Length: 5 miles round trip
This National Park consists of five islands off the coast of California. Because of that, it is one of the less visited parks in the United States. However, the access difficulties should not scare away any true explorer.
Santa Cruz Island is the largest in the archipelago and can be reached in an hour by boat from Ventura or Oxnard.
Boats take visitors to Prisoner Harbor or Scorpion Anchorage (not very nice names, I know). The hike I am interested in doing starts at Scorpion Beach and offers spectacular coastal views. In addition, it is possible to encounter wildlife unique to the island such as the island fox or island scrub jay.
Hikers should carry food and water since there are no services on the site. Camp sites are available if you want to stay the night.
Pinnacles National Park
Moses Spring to Rim Trail Loop
Length: 2.2 miles round trip
Pinnacles is another National Park located not that far from where I live. The Park protects a mountainous area located east of the Salinas Valley (Central California). The park’s name refers to the eroded leftovers of an extinct volcano. The interesting thing is that the remains have moved 200 miles from its original location on the San Andreas Fault (?).
The trail I am interested in doing leads to the Bear Gulch Cave, one of the two Talus Caves located in the park. Talus caves are openings formed between boulders piled up on mountain slopes. Most of them are very small both in length and in cross section.
After reaching the cave, the hike takes visitors to a reservoir and to viewpoints from where the iconic rock formations (the pinnacles) are observable. Remember Pinnacles is one of the few places where condors in captivity have been released. Therefore, the possibility of observing one in the wild is higher than in other places.
Mount Woodson Trail
Length: 6.6 miles round trip
This hike offers breathtaking hikes from the top. But, the main reason people do it is because of a formation known as Potato Chip Rock (lots of people want to get a photo over it to post on Instagram). See the image below.
I am a sucker for rock formations, so, I have wanted to do this hike for quite some time.
Montaña de Oro State Park
Length: 2.1 miles one way, side trails allow for outings between one and five miles
Montaña de Oro State Park preserves 8,000 acres along the striking coast of San Luis Obispo County and it is without a doubt one of the most beautiful preserves in the state system. Many years ago, I did part of this trail under gray skies and heavy winds. I vowed to return under better weather conditions.
A hike of around three miles round trip with 90 feet of elevation change is the perfect way to see all the tide pools, beaches, rock islands, and natural bridges, along the superb coastline, hitting highlights like Corallina Cove, Quarry Cove, and Grotto Rock. You can observe everything from the bluffs but I suggest to descend to sea level to get a better perspective of this coastal environment.
To better appreciate what the park has to offer, go prepared to spend at least half a day on the perimeters (have a big breakfast in Morro Bay before hitting the trails).
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Length: 4.5 miles roundtrip
Many people stop by this park to take a look at the famous McWay Falls. However, the park offers old growth redwood forest, scrub landscapes, sweeping canyon and ocean views.
During my first visitor to Big Sur, I was guilty of only stopping by to see the waterfall. However, I recognize this area is more than its iconic locations. My dream is to camp in this park (or in nearby parks) and spend several days hiking around.
I have done some research about the best hikes in Big Sur and this one comes at the top most of the times. Because of that, I think I would like to start my deeper exploration by hiking along the McWay Creek and giant redwoods.
Where do you want to hike this summer? Please share your ideas in the comments section.
Gear up for summer hikes by visiting Runner Click.