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I am a second generation Angeleno, and an avid hiker, backpacker and adventurer.

Living in the megalopolis that is Southern California, many people have no idea how many great hikes are available right here in our backyard. One of my goals for SoCalHiker is to correct that misunderstanding. But my primary goal is selfish-service. I use SoCalHiker to document my favorite hikes and backpack trips, complete with advice, tips, trip reports, checklists and “how-to.” I create the trail guides that I provide the kind of information I’d like to have when I explore a trail for the first time.

I started SoCal Hiker back in early 2010, with a goal to collect all the information pertaining to thru-hiking the John Muir Trail. At the time, there weren’t a lot of good online resources, so I took the extra step to document my training, gear lists, menu planning, scheduling, permit information and all the other details. I needed to do this for myself anyway, and figured that others might be able to leverage this knowledge as well. And SoCalHiker was born.

Since then, I’ve created guides to numerous trails in and around Southern California – and often far beyond. Most of the trails are day hikes, but others are multi-day backpacking trips like the Trans-Catalina Trail, the Lost Coast Trail, or the Theodore Solomons Trail. And a core part of my training regimen for the John Muir Trail – the Six-Pack of Peaks – is now an annual hiking challenge in SoCal, Colorado, Oregon and Northern California.

It’s my hope that sharing these guides will whet your appetite for outdoor adventure, and help you take the next step outside of your comfort zone and into the wild, wonderful outdoors.

If you have feedback, ideas or suggestions for SoCal Hiker, please leave me a comment.

53 Responses

  1. Hi,
    Congratulations on hiking the JMT. My daughter (19) and my husband started to hike the JMT last year from Toluemene meadows and are planning to finish where they left off this August. May be they will run to you on the trail. I may come in part of the way to resupply them. Great website.

    1. Thanks Julielani! Tell your husband and daughter to just yell “Jeff!” There will be two “Jeff’s” in our group, so odds are good they’ll bend our ear. Hope they have a great trip!

  2. Is it legal to take a dog through all parts of the JMT (including national parks parts)? Is it feasible to hike the JMT with her? I’m not exactly sure what the terrain and rivers bring, but am hoping to find a trip that she can come along on.


    1. Marne, unfortunately you won’t be able to take a dog down the entire JMT. While some parts do allow it (the National Forest jurisdictions, I believe) the National Parks do not. It’s both for the safety of the dogs and the “keeping the wildlife wild” mantra of the NPS. Not a bad thing at all.

      Having said that, they do allow pack animals (horses, mules, even llamas). And on my JMT thru-hike back in August I saw one dog (part of a pack train) just south of Silver Pass. It might be legal there, or they may have been wagging more than their tail at the law.

  3. Jeff,
    I’m planning on hiking the JMT in August as well. How many days do you hike after your last resupply? That is my concern having never done it and not sure if I can rely on anyone to bring supplies in for me.

    1. We completed our JMT in August 2010 (my second time). You can see our itinerary here:

      From our last resupply point at Muir Trail Ranch, we had 9 nights — 10 days of hiking. Some of the other JMT thru-hikers we ran into had friends hiking in over Kearsarge Pass to meet them with resupply packages, but you can do it from MTR. Another option is pack service (see my reply to Larry below).

      Good luck with your trip, and let me know if I can help!

  4. Ray, I also am planning to hike the JMT starting Aug 20th from Yosemite Valley. I am planning on taking 19 days with resupplies at Red’s Meadows and Muir Trail Ranch. It will mean packing 9 days of food from Muir Trail Ranch though. I noticed that Muir Trail Ranch provides a service of delivering your pack to Evolution Lake for a fee but I am not sure how much it costs.


    1. Larry, we carried 10 days of food from MTR out to Whitney Portal. The hard part was getting it all to fit in a bear canister. We ended up hanging some food for a couple of nights (there are places in Kings Canyon where bear canisters are not required), and managed fine.

      That said, here’s what the Muir Trail Ranch website says about their pack service:

      Pack service to Backpackers

      After topping off with a resupply at Muir Trail Ranch, your pack just got up to 25 pounds heavier, and for the next seven to nine miles, there will be a whole lot of steep trail. To ease the pain, we offer to haul your pack for you to either Heart Lake near Selden Pass going north, a gain of 2,800 feet, or Evolution Creek at Evolution Meadow going south, a gain of 1,500 feet.

      We can haul up to three packs on a single pack horse, totaling 150 pounds, and a packer can lead as many as five pack horses. You can get together with other hikers to split the cost, too.

      This service is limited to backpacks only, no riders, and is only offered when we have a packer available and U.S. Government-allocated permission to be on the trail with pack stock. Besides your payment, we will need your Wilderness Permit number.

      The fees: Packer and horse $250 per day, Pack horse/mule $125 per day


  5. Hello SoCal Hiker,

    I’d like to use some of your photos in a report I’m producing on green access in San Bernardino County for a nonprofit called The City Project. Here’s a link to see our last report on Los Angeles County:
    I’d be happy to credit your photos however you’d like and will give you an opportunity to review/approve photo placement and credit before we release the report. Let me know if you’re interested!


  6. jeff let me know if u r interested in doing any multi day trips into sierra this year i am looking for someone to go with my schedule is wide open thanks frank

  7. Hi,

    My name is Cameron. I am with We are helping find advertisers for a few intermediate size hiking, backpacking websites. Could we discuss you joining us? Would be happy to talk about who we are working with and how our relationships are arranged.

    May I give you a call?


    206-491-5207 Please delete this post after you read it. Thanks

  8. As a fellow avid hiker, I would love if you posted a blog post to help me out!

    Adidas is holding a photo contest, called “all in moment”. I went “all in” during a trip to Montana, (which I had never visited before), and was fortunate enough to do some beautiful hiking and see the Gallatin valley, Beartooths Mountains, and Crazy Mountains! I am looking for someone to help me win by voting for my picture! If I win, I could get an all-expenses-paid trip to switzerland! I’ll be sure to bring you back some chocolate if I win!

    please do me a favor and share this link by any means you know how!

    Thanks a million. Karma will treat you well, friend.

  9. My name is Mark Clements and I represent McCampbell Enterprises ( ), a rainwear company that has been around for 28 years. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, so I’ll get right to the two questions I have for you regarding your website.

    1). I notice that you have a section titled gear and tips, and I was curious how you decided how to select products to go into that section. As I mentioned, we’ve sold rain ponchos and umbrellas for almost 30 years. Considering how hikers get caught out in the rain from time to time, I would think our products would benefit your readers/customers.

    2). I’m really interested in seeing if we could write a guest article about the benefits and importance of bringing rainwear to protect yourself from the weather while hiking. We are trying to build our online reputation, and having an article/link on your website would be a big step for us gain exposure. I’m from Crawfordsville Indiana, so if you would like me to take a different spin on things and write about the numerous hiking trails near there, I could do that as well. Really anything you would like for us to write about would be fine. Like I said we’ve been around a long time, and we have plenty of stories to tell.

    Let me know if either of these options interest you. I’m really thrilled with the thought of working together, and I’m eagerly waiting on your response. Thanks for your time!

    -Mark Clements

  10. Hi,

    Coming from Switzerland, i will be spending a few days in the area of Anaheim. I was wondering if you could send me information about the hiking possibilities in this area as i would very much like to discover your nice region walking.
    I can walk for 15 miles with no problems and going uphill does not frighten me! I am looking for hiking tours in some of your nice parks in this region and would like to get from you a few nice proposals for me to organize my stay there.

    Many thanks in advance for your answer,

    Best regards,

  11. Any JMT plans for 2014? While looking for hiking groups, I have heard lots of good things about your trips. It’s November now, and I am dreaming already next spring and summer’s hiking trips.

  12. Any JMT plans for 2014?

    Not for me… but maybe in 2015. 🙂
    We are thinking about our big trip for 2014 and pointing towards either the Lost Coast in NorCal or the Coast-to-Coast walk in England. I have been itching to lead some hikes again — so stay tuned!

  13. Jeff,

    I recently moved here to SoCal early this fall from upstate New York. I’m an experienced four season backpacker/camper with basic experience in light mountaineering. I left my entire social network (including outdoor recreation friends) back east and am looking to meet like minded individuals to bag some peaks in and around the San Bernardino / Antonio ranges this winter. I’m geared up and psyched to get out there… just need a partner or two. Any thoughts on where to turn to find hiking buddies without getting involved in in organizations and academic programs (unless there are some dynamite ones worth checking out)?


  14. Jeff,

    I’m planning a 2014 JMT thru-hike and have been reading your trip log, which has been informative. I’m trying to navigate the permits right now, and just had a question about the backpacker’s campground you stayed at in Yosemite the first night. Do you need a reservation for that? Or does the wilderness permit one gets allow one to stay there? Thanks,

  15. Hi I’m 19 and doing the full JMT from start to finish this year. I enter at June 29th and exit my Whitney July 20th. Have myself 22 days to enjoy this amazing experience. I’m solo at the moments does anyone care to join me? Email me [email protected]
    Also Jeff my entry spot is devils postile, can I have take YART to Bally isles and start there? Or do I have to start where my entry place is? Considering the jmt permit allow’s you to trek the whole trail I’m not sure on what to do.

  16. Jesse I my self have just moved out to San Diego from upstate NY about a month ago. I could use a partner to climb and train with. I know of many spots already I’m sure you do as well. Please email me or text me. Email is [email protected] text me at 85-332-2005

  17. Awesome site Jeff. My son and I are planning the Trans-Catalina in June. I posted a question about bus service from Avalon to Two Harbors on the Trans-Cat blog as well…we need to hike in reverse (trailhead at Two Harbors and back to Avalon) and our ferry leaves us at Avalon, so we need a bus from Avalon to Two Harbors. I know there is a bus the other direction leaving Two Harbors at noon, but we need to go the other way. Suggestions?

    1. Patty, there is a link in the Black Star write-up to the trailhead (just below the section heading “Hiking to Beek’s Place”). That opens the trailhead in Google Maps. From there you can click the “pin” and then lookup directions from any location. Here’s a direct link to driving directions from Los Angeles:

  18. Love this blog! Thanks so much for your creation. Hiking the JMT SOBO starting 7/23. I gotta get my “six pack” done. Looking forward to it!

  19. Thanks for making this kick-ass website Jeff! Looking forward to my JMT trip and what you have assembled here is again, just awesome.

  20. Excellent, informative, well written, and inspiring. Your Lost Coast insight, day by day sections, and helpful hints and insights will be most helpful as we are planning our hike. Thank you many times over!

  21. I’m so excited to discover your site! Getting back to a childhood love (HIKING!!) will be a bit easier with all the amazing helps you provide here, THANK YOU Jeff 😉

  22. hey jeff, saw your great blogs covering the north section of the lost coast trail, and wondered if you had written anything that detailed on the southern section. i’m a socal/sierra hiker but just finished Usal to Shelter cove. great trail, one of the most difficult i’ve been on due to the steepness of the grades and the number of elevation changes

  23. California Assembly Bill 1096, currently on Governor Brown’s desk for signature, modifies the California Vehicle Code to better define and address the use of electric-motorized bicycles on California’s bike paths. Allowing electric-motorized bicycles on existing bike paths, where these vehicles are currently illegal to operate, could potentially reduce traffic congestion and pollution. That is a good thing for California. The problem with AB-1096 is that it reaches far beyond existing bike paths by opening California’s equestrian, hiking and recreational trails to electric-motorized bicycles. That is a very bad thing for California.            
    Electric-motorized bicycles are motorized vehicles that will change the dynamics of our hiking trails by adding a new user group that doubles the speed of the current fastest user group (mountain bikers). Hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers will encounter these silent-running motor vehicles at speeds up to 20 miles per hour. This creates a hazardous situation and ruins the sanctuary of a treasured California asset.
                Electric-motorized bicycles are already welcome on California’s Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails and riding areas where their use, as motorized vehicles, is appropriate. They are also permitted on any California dirt road where motor vehicle use is permitted.
                Please urge Governor Brown not to sign AB-1096 until the California Vehicle Code 21207.5 is changed to prohibit the use of any motorized bicycle on an equestrian, hiking and recreational trail unless a local authority or governing body of a public agency having jurisdiction on the trail deems use of an electric-motorized bicycle appropriate for the trail and its current users.

  24. Hello,
    My name is Golan Perry and I am currently running a KickStarter campaign
    called Horn & Purveyor that is for a backpack that charges any electronic device.
    I am writing you to ask if you could please share my project on your blog or share
    it with your audience because its innovative, smart, earth friendly and can possibly
    save lives in wilderness or emergency situations. The link to the KickStarter is:

    By backing Horn & Purveyor, you will not only be helping us meet our goal. But you will also be making history. We at Horn & Purveyor are the first e-backpack company in Philadelphia, PA USA that will donate backpacks to children throughout the city to make an impact on the way that children stay connected. Your backing will also help stimulate the economy because we are proud to use 100% U.S.A. labor. Your backpack will be designed, manufactured, quality controlled and shipped directly from Philadelphia, PA.

    Horn & Purveyor Backpacks are made with water resistant environment friendly materials that are durable and made to last a lifetime. Every backpack comes with a built-in hand fob that has a high output LED light and a USB charging port. Once you charge your hand fob your backpack will have hours of stand-by power that will keep any electronic device charged for hours.

    Horn & Purveyor is an innovator of modern and durable goods that are made with the environment in mind. We stand by every product made and ensure that everything that bears our signature woven patch is quality controlled to the utmost standards. ​ Organic fibers, soft to the touch materials & original designs are just some of the major attributes of Horn & Purveyor which places us as a forerunner in the modern age of wearable technology. We passion ourselves on making life lasting products & thank you for your interest and patronage with Horn & Purveyor.

    Never will you have a dead electronic device under the watch of Horn & Purveyor. Designed & Crafted in the Untied States of America.

    Golan Perry – Inventor

    Amber Taylor – Project Creator

    David Katz – Legal Partner

  25. Years ago…..1980… I worked on a project in ” Golden Trout Wilderness” South fork of the Kern river. We camped at Strawberry Meadows. JM trail went right by the camp. We road in on horse with pack mules from Whitney Portals….seemed like forever since we road from about 7:30am till about 3:00PM we would work 10 days come out for 4 We did 10 ten day spikes and a few of us went back for 4 days to erase our feet prints. We built at the time the worlds largest ‘Gabion’ making a dam so the German brown trout could not get up to the Golden trout spawning beds and eat all the hatchlings and eggs. I was just wondering if anybody has been through there recently and could describe it now. When we left the dam had backed up about a 2 mile lake. I am planning a trip back out that way and wanted to know if it was worth going back in there to see what had become of it after all these years. We were told that once everything settled out it would just become about a 21 foot waterfall and the lake would go away. Any help from anyone that has been there in recent years would be appreciated…Thanks in advance!

  26. Hey Jeff! I am an avid hiker too, a new transplant to SoCal. I hiked Baldy a few times last summer and am looking to check out more of these peaks this year. What’s the earliest you recommend tackling these hikes, so as to avoid snow and potential high winds? Thank ya!

    1. Welcome to SoCal–and to SoCal Hiker! On each of our hike guides we have an info box near the top of the page that shows the mileage, the difficulty level, the vertical gain, and the best time to hike. For the higher peaks these are usually free of snow during the months we’ve listed — but obviously we can’t predict with 100% certainty. That’s why we also include a 4-day weather forecast for the trail on the guide as well (down near the bottom of the guide). As for the wind? It’s USUALLY pretty windy when you get to the peaks, year round.

  27. Great site to read while planning my JMT through hike in Aug (27 from Tuolumne, arr Sept 12 MtW), from Norway. I might hike alone, and try to minimize my pack. How likely is there to be rain in this period, would it be possible to drop the outer tent? I did that in Yosemite Village camps, GC and Death Valley, but not sure about this height. And what water purification do most use? Some here hiking at the same time? Have fun dreaming!

  28. Mark Camou here from Corona in So. Cal. Jeff, I found your site after Googling Beeks Place. I hike the Cleveland Nat’l forest as I live in Corona. I have been by Beeks Place many times. I’m glad I found this. There are so many places that I would like to go, so many trails I would like to hike. Unfortunately, no money and no time now so anything far off that requires days or weeks will have to wait until i’m in a better position. I will definitely keep an eye on this site and check in for information when I can do something. I do plan to go up to Yosemite with my son hopefully this summer and do some fishing and hiking and will chime in to get advice on where to go. Also interested in hiking up to Half Dome and Mt. Whitney.

  29. Hey Jeff!

    First time reader, loved going through your blog. As an avid hiker in up here in the Northwest I could relate with many of the experiences you shared. So Cal really came to life in your posts. I was there a year back but could not find a feasible hike which fit my schedule, wish I knew about this website.

    A few of my mates in Seattle got together after college and found that reaching nice hiking spots was challenging in the absence of a car. We tried using buses, but the planning was a pain in the neck. So being nerds in today’s age, we made an app:

    I am curious as to what you think of transit hiking and our initiative to facilitate it? Also if you are interested, we can send you a custom itinerary for your next hike.

    Love to hear back from you.


  30. Hi Jeff –

    Looking for some advice. I’m looking for a trip (potentially point to point, but loop would be ideal) that’s in the 40 – 60 mile range, and is accessible in mid-May or potentially as late as late June. I’m bringing my father, who is not particularly experienced, is ~65 years old, and I don’t want to have to carry water or deal with anything too crazy.


  31. I really appreciate your hiking info! It helped me when prepping my Sierra trips and when hiking around town. I would love to hear more about hiking through the Backbone Trail in Santa Monica. That’s my next plan and would to love to hear what you know. Thanks!

  32. Hello Jeff,
    Do you have any tips in a.k.a. mapshare for turning on a sound when a message is received or sent?
    I do not have an Inreach but many members of my mountain rescue team, West Elk Mountain Rescue (, in Paonia, CO do.
    I am not able to go out on missions and want to run comms from home where the WiFi and phone service are fairly reliable most of the time. They will send me messages on my laptop from their mapshare pages but I am not always in front of each page. It would be nice to get a tone to notify me when a message or other comms is received.
    Do you know how to do this?
    Cedar Keshet
    West Elk Mountain Rescue

  33. Hi Jeff –
    I just wanted to say thank you for writing such a great blog. I am not a “hiker” but was recently in LA visiting with a friend, and we were interested in doing hikes each day. I found your blog through a simple Google search, and your descriptions of the various hikes were fantastic. We ended up doing the Hollywood Sign & Bronson Caves hike, the Eagle Rock hike and while spending a weekend by the Angeles National Forest, we did part of the Mt Baden Powell hike and the San Gabriel Peak + 4 hike.
    The information you provided was fantastic and prepared us for what we were in for.
    Keep your blog posts coming. I can’t wait for my next trip to California to try some of your other hikes!!
    Thanks again!

  34. Where does the trailhead start? Are there lots of hikers too? I don’t know anyone else hiking there tomorrow. My concern is safety. Potential rock hazards, mountain lions, snakes. Yet, I would like to see the sheep.

  35. Hello I was wondering if there is anyway we could be added to your Trans Catalina Trail guide. Check out our website or social media pages. Especially during the summer months or for large groups we offer our gear haul services. If you would like to learn more and want to chat I would love to tell you what we offer for Trans Catalina Trail backpackers. We are a small locally owned company that has lived on the Island for multi generations. Thanks again! Look forward to hearing from you.

  36. Greetings Jeff! I have it on my “to do” list to make contact with you and it has been a pleasure looking at your site. Mark Sedenquist of Imbrifex Books pointed me your way. I am an avid Colorado hiker and author of “Base Camp Denver: 101 Hikes in Colorado’s Front Range” which is coming out in April. If you ever want to create a six peak challenge in Colorado, count me in! Or when I am in SoCal next, perhaps we could meet up and even bag a peak together. I love hiking and climbing and everything in between, especially the more obscure “thirteeners” that are all around here. But it’s all good.


    Pete KJ

  37. Hi Jeff! I am an experienced hiker coming to California end of January. Have heard a lot about the Six-Peaks from friends and wonder about your thoughts for doing all six of them in six consecutive days. Which order would your recommend to approach that? I am thinking one of the easier a day after the hardest etc. Thank you!

  38. Hi Jeff, Any ideas for hiking in possible rain tomorrow along the Palos Verdes coast? The Rim trail? Would that be safe in the rain? We are experienced hikers.


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