The Nine-Peak Challenge

The Nine-Peak Challenge is a really intense route that took two SoCal hikers up nine (yes, NINE) peaks including San Gorgonio -- the highest in Southern California -- in one really long day hike. Thanks to Jen and Dave for sharing their photos and this epic trip report. In the aftermath of the Lake fire, sections San Gorgonio Wilderness have been closed, including some of … [Read More]

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Crystal Lake is a perfect day hike in Mammoth Lakes

Hike to Crystal Lake in Mammoth

Crystal Crag looms above beautiful Crystal Lake, surrounded by steep granite peaks and dotted with pines. And this short hike to Crystal Lake in the town of Mammoth Lakes gives you a taste of the Sierra Mountains without the long miles or an overnight … [Read More]

Rainbow Falls in Devils Postpile National Monument

Hiking to Devils Postpile and Rainbow Falls

I've been to the unique geologic formation known as Devils Postpile several times, including on my thru-hikes of the John Muir Trail. Last time, we didn't take the trip up to the top, nor did we visit the impressive Rainbow Falls, so when we were up in Mammoth … [Read More]

Take the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge

Take the Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge

Five years ago I was training for my second thru-hike of the 211-mile John Muir Trail. I hiked after-work conditioning hikes, but knew I needed bigger challenges to prepare for the altitude, the distance and the elevation gain I'd see over the course of my … [Read More]

The shortest route to hike to the Griffith Park Team House

Hike to the Griffith Park Teahouse

A collective of artists serruptitiously erect a teahouse on the side of an obscure peak in Griffith Park, and you get the zen moment. The Griffith Park Teahouse was assembled on the side of Taco Peak at the end of June. The teahouse was constructed from … [Read More]

Hike to Skull Rock on the Temescal Loop Trail

Skull Rock and Temescal Loop

The Temescal Loop trail is one of my favorite hikes on days when the sun dips low. This variation includes a side trip further up the ridge to Skull Rock. And yes, it really does look like a skull (with a little imagination). With the addition of a small … [Read More]

Simmering Ramen Plus

Cheap Eats for the Trail: Ramen Plus

Tired of eating that freeze-dried glop they call backpacking food?  Oh, and how about paying for that stuff?  I mean they charge outrageous prices for that stuff – stuff that really isn't all that good.  How come there isn't a good tasting, reasonably priced … [Read More]

DeLorme InReach Explorer review

SoCalHiker Tech: DeLorme inReach Explorer Review

My first experience using the DeLorme inReach Explorer was along the John Muir Trail last summer. Not only was it reassuring to know that if I needed emergency care or evacuation, I would have dependable communication with search-and-rescue (SAR) but it proved … [Read More]

Somewhere between South Fork and Whitney

Re-Mapping the Sierra Mountains

The iconic Sierra mountains are one of the true treasures of California. Thousands of people hike and backpack in these rugged, beautiful mountains every year. The growing popularity of trails like the John Muir Trail and Pacific Crest Trail put a strain on a … [Read More]


SoCalHiker Tech: How I Use Tile in the Backcountry

Most of the areas I backpack in the Sierras require a bear canister. This rule not only protects you and your food, but also protects the bears. All your food and anything scented goes in the canister, and the canister is placed at least 50 yards away from … [Read More]