By

Mount Sanitas Loop Trail – Boulder, Colorado

View of Boulder from the peak of the Mount Sanitas Trail

View of Boulder from the peak of the Mount Sanitas Trail

Location: Off Mapleton Avenue, just west of Boulder

Trail Length: About 3.0 miles, loop trail that includes the Mount Sanitas, East Ridge and Sanitas Valley trails

Elevation Gain: Almost 1,300 feet

Notable Features: A strenuous trail that is very popular with the locals. Expect to share the trail with a lot of people and dogs, especially on the weekends. The peak offers great views of Boulder as well as the mountains to the west, and the descent down the East Ridge Trail is very steep and sometimes hard to follow (just follow the crowd). Once you reach the bottom, the Sanitas Valley Trail is a wide gravel path back to the trailhead.

Read More

By

Dale Ball Trails North – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dale Ball Trails North near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Dale Ball Trails North near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Location: Foothills east of Santa Fe

Trail Length: Lots of ways to go from short to long – my route was about 6 miles

Elevation Gain: Also varies but pretty flat unless you head into the canyon at the northern end of the trail system.

Notable Features: About 24 miles of trails are in this well-marked trail system maintained by the Santa Fe Conservation Trust. Heavily used by bikers and hikers with kids and dogs due to its convenience to town. Great views looking over Santa Fe.

Read More

By

Black Canyon Trail – Santa Fe, New Mexico

Black Canyon Trail near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Black Canyon Trail near Santa Fe, New Mexico

Location: At Black Canyon Campground, just outside Hyde Memorial State Park east of Santa Fe

Trail Length: About 2.0 miles, loop trail

Elevation Gain: Just under 500 feet, but trail starts at 8,300 feet in elevation

Notable Features: A fairly easy trail made moderate if you’re not used to the high elevation with lots of pine and aspen trees. The campground closes in winter, but there is a lot near the highway where you can park then walk through the campground to get to the trailhead.

Read More

By

Arthur’s Rock Trail – Fort Collins, Colorado

View of Horsetooth Reservoir from Arthur's Rock Trail, Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins, Colorado

View of Horsetooth Reservoir from Arthur’s Rock Trail, Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins, Colorado

Location: Lory State Park, west of Fort Collins

Trail Length: 3.8 miles, out and back

Elevation Gain: About 1150 feet

Link: Arthur’s Rock Trail on AllTrails.com

Notable Features: Well-marked trail with moderate elevation gain through forest with great views of Horsetooth Reservoir and the surrounding area at the top of the trail.

Read More

By

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.

Read More

By

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

Read More

By

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

Read More

By

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.

\

Read More

By

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.

Read More

By

Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail – Topanga State Park, California

Butterfly on the Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in Topanga State Park, California

Butterfly on the Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in Topanga State Park, California

The Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail, which is part of Topanga State Park, is a relatively flat (300 feet in elevation gain) and easy trail that starts above the town of Pacific Palisades and leads to the waterfall in the name, a trip of about 2.25 miles round trip.

It is a good trail for kids, but watch out for the plentiful patches of poison oak lining the trail, often very close to the walking path. There is a trail junction about half a mile from the trailhead. One path leads to the waterfall, while the other heads to Trippet Ranch and the Musch Trail to Eagle Rock, a steep strenuous hike of about 3.5 miles from this point.

Thanks to California’s ongoing drought, the waterfall was fairly disappointing as of Spring 2016. There is a trickle of water bouncing down the rocks, and at the base are several small pools that contain newts.

This is an out-and-back trail so once you’ve had your fill of the falls, simply turn around and head back to the trailhead via the same route (while continuing to watch out for all that poison oak).

  • Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in Topanga State Park, California
  • Butterfly on the Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in Topanga State Park, California
  • Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in Topanga State Park, California
  • Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in Topanga State Park, California
  • Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail in Topanga State Park, California

Read More