The average American consumes 3,000 to 4,500 calories in their Thanksgiving Day celebrations, according to the Calorie Control Council. So instead of diving into the madness that is Black Friday, get outside and take a hike! You’ll avoid the crowds and craziness, and you’ll feel better for it.
Jae suggested “good old Baldy” and with good reason. Mount Baldy has minimal red tape. You’ll need an Adventure Pass to park at the Manker Flats trailhead, but no permits are required. You can hike all the way to the summit, or just to the Ski Hut. And there are multiple routes you can take, depending on whether you want to make it longer or harder. My favorite route up Baldy is this loop, but in reverse, going up past the Sierra Club Ski Hut and back via Devil’s Backbone.
Hike Along the Coast in Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Our NorCal ambassador Karl likes to take out-of-town relatives for a classic Bay Area along the coast in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Check out the historic Cliff House and the ruins of the Sutro Baths, or visit the labyrinth at Land’s End.
Peak Bagging in Death Valley
Our Oregon ambassador Rebecca has a long history of camping in the desert for “Friendsgiving” and bagging an obscure desert peak on Friday. One of her favorites? Bat Mountain in eastern Death Valley. She says “this is a very distinctive looking peak as you drive towards Death Valley from Amargosa Junction. I had it on my list for years but couldn’t get good beta. Finally we just decided to go for it and found a nice desert hike.”
The Beach-Sky-Garden Hike on Catalina Island
Cecilia recommends heading to Catalina Island to hike what she calls the “Beach-Sky-Garden Hike.” She says: “It’s my post-Thanksgiving and birthday hike, since my birthday falls on Thanksgiving day every 4 years, like this year! I’ve been doing this hike for many years. It’s 11-miles with 2,800′ elevation gain. We start at Avalon Bay beach up towards Mt. Ada to the beginning of the old Trans-Catalina Trail, and end up through Wrigley Botanical Gardens.”
Our newest ambassador Richard suggests following up those mashed potatoes with a hike up Potato Mountain. This Inland Empire classic is “not too much, but enough to get the blood back to my legs after eating all that food.”
Don’t be surprised if you find a potato or two at the top. It’s an oddball tradition.
Located in Central Oregon at Smith Rock State Park, this loop takes you up the ominously named Misery Ridge, then down to the Crooked River. The views can be spectacular, extending to the Cascades. It’s like a smaller version of Zion National Park, and a mecca for rock climbers. Last year, we spied two bald eagles hiking here on the day after Thanksgiving.
Piestewa Peak in the Phoenix Mountains
Piestewa Peak is the second highest in the Phoenix Mountains, and part of the inaugural Arizona Winter Six-Pack of Peaks Challenge. It’s a short but steep 2.2 mile out-and-back, and a perfect way to burn off that pumpkin pie.
Hope you get a chance to join us tomorrow and #OptOutside. Tell us where you are hiking in the comments.