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Rattlesnake Canyon Trail – Santa Barbara, California

Rattlesnake Canyon Trail near Santa Barbara, California

View of the cloud-covered Pacific Ocean from Rattlesnake Canyon Trail near Santa Barbara, California

Location: Foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara

Trail Length: 5.1 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1600 feet

Link: Rattlesnake Canyon Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Fairly strenuous trail heading up to Gibraltar Road. Some shade near the bottom of the trail, but exposed near the top. A good workout with great views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Barbara.

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San Ysidro Trail to Waterfall – Montecito, California

View of the waterfall at the end of San Ysidro Trail near Santa Barbara, California

View of the waterfall at the end of San Ysidro Trail near Santa Barbara, California

Location: Foothills of the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Montecito

Trail Length: 3.85 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1150 feet

Link: San Ysidro Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Gradual elevation gain spread over the length of the trail, waterfall at the end, which only had a trickle of water due to the drought in July 2016

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Red Rocks Trail – Santa Ynez Mountains, California

Swimming hole off the Red Rocks Trail north of Santa Barbara, California

Swimming hole off the Red Rocks Trail north of Santa Barbara, California

Location: Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Ynez Mountains north of Santa Barbara

Trail Length: 5.4 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: Less than 150 feet

AllTrails.com: Red Rocks Trail

Notable Features: Mostly flat trail that winds through some forest and meadow, several swimming holes to cool off, trail eventually reaches Gibraltar Dam

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Lake Gulch/Inner Canyon Trails – Castlewood Canyon State Park, Colorado

Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown, Colorado - Instagram

Lake Gulch and Inner Canyon trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park near Franktown, Colorado – Instagram

Location: Castlewood Canyon State Park in Franktown, southeast of Denver

Trail Length: My route: 1.8 miles

Elevation Gain: About 200 feet

Link: Lake Gulch Trail on AllTrails.com and Inner Canyon Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Relatively easy trail through rock formations, some pine trees and a rocky stream.

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Estes Cone Trail – Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Cone Trail near Estes Park, Colorado

Estes Cone Trail near Estes Park, Colorado

Location: Edge of Rocky Mountain National Park south of Estes Park

Trail Length: 6.2 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1600 feet

Link: Estes Cone Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Moderate trail at high elevation through forest for first half of trail. Second half is more strenuous and climbs to Estes Cone for a great view of the surrounding area.

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Lower Mohawk Lake Trail – Breckenridge, Colorado

Continental Falls on Lower Mohawk Lake Trail near Breckenridge

Continental Falls on Lower Mohawk Lake Trail near Breckenridge

Location: Off Highway 9 south of Breckenridge

Trail Length: About 5.0 miles, in and back trail

Elevation Gain: About 1,000 feet

Notable Features: This is a moderate trail that falls just below the strenuous level. At 5 miles and with 1,000 feet in elevation, it isn’t the most knee-busting trail out there, but the entire trail is above the 10,000-foot mark, making it harder for those not used to the altitude. The trail parallels Spruce Creek for part of the way, and the journey is worth it for the up-close view of Continental Falls. If you go a little further than I did, you’ll reach Mohawk Lake.

Hyperlapse video of Continental Falls feeding into Spruce Creek.

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