Death Valley NP- Titus Canyon to Dante’s View

The Quick and Dirty:
 Death Valley National Park
Itinerary: Rhyolite (ghost town), Titus Road/Titus Canyon, LeadField (ghost town), Zebriski’s Point and Dante’s View  
Hiking Distance: about 5 miles
Driving Distance: 150 miles roundtrip to Texas Springs campground
Good to know: Check the weather before driving into Titus Road, a high clearance vehicle is recommended for driving through Titus Road.

View from the drive on Titus Road

View from the drive on Titus Road

Continue reading

Death Valley NP – Badwater Basin to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

The Quick and Dirty:
 Death Valley National Park
Itinerary: Badwater Basin, Natural Bridge Canyon, Artist Drive, Red Cathedral and Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes 
Hiking Distance: 10 miles
Driving Distance: 120 miles roundtrip back to Texas Springs campground
Good to know: We thought the food at the 49ers restaurant was low quality and overpriced. It’s a much better idea to prepare your own meal at the campsite.  Continue reading

Death Valley National Park Overview

We try to take advantage of the 4-day weekend during Thanksgiving every year by going on a trip. This year, we decided to stay close to home and visit Death Valley National Park. Located in eastern California within a couple hours of drive to Mount Whitney (the highest peak in the lower 48 states), it is also known as the hottest, driest and lowest point in the U.S. This would be our first time visiting the national park. Our plan is to car camp and drive each day to our planned destinations.

Mesquite sand dunes

Mesquite sand dunes, Death Valley National Park

Continue reading

Oak Glen Preserve, Yucaipa, CA

I woke up last Sunday realizing it was a gorgeous day in Southern California. After a long hot summer, it finally felt like fall has arrived in Southern California. With temperature dipping below 80 degrees, we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather by visiting the Oak Glen Preserve in Yucaipa, California.

Located 80 miles from Orange County, the drive to Oak Glen Preserve took about an hour and half without any heavy traffic. We arrived at the preserve at 10:30 and the place was  getting crowded. The entrance to the preserve is free but they do encourage donations at the end of the hike.

The main loop of the hike consist of 2-miles of flat walking. The trail started out at Children’s Forest, I was delighted to find tons of California native plants blooming in the area. Next, we stopped by a large area shaded by giant sequoias. Although these sequoias are young compared to their counter parts in the north, it felt a little surreal to be looking up at giant sequoias in San Bernardino County. Nonetheless, it was a great way to experience the sequoias locally without having to travel too far.

Giant sequoia trees

Giant sequoia trees

Next we hopped onto the chaparral loop and decided to extend our hike up the spurs trail. The spurs trail was definitely a good cardio workout, it is 0.9 miles of steep single-track uphill, we were definitely out of breath by the time we got to the top of the hill. The view at the high elevation is definitely worth the hike if you have the time.

view at the top of spurs trail

This was the view at the top of spurs trail. Since it was a clear day, we were able to see the Saddleback Mtns near our house from the high point.

We finished our 5 mile hike around 1:30PM and noticed the picnic areas near the entrance of the preserve was now packed with lots of young families. We initially wanted to stop by the Los Rios Rancho, a shop next door to the preserve, however, seeing how long the lines were for a seasonal pie, we quickly changed our minds.

The Oak Glen preserve is open daily from 8AM to 4:30PM. It’s a great place to take family and friends and spend a day outside. The main loop trail is easy to do for people of all ages and if you are looking for something a little more challenging, the spurs trail is a good one to try. The preserve is also dog friendly, so take your pup with you to enjoy this amazing open space!



Click to access OGP_BotanicGarden_TrailMap_Oct2014.pdf

Trail Report- Matilija Creek, Ojai, California

The Quick and Dirty:
 Matilija Creek trail located 30 minutes north of Ojai, California inside the Los Padres National Forest
Distance: about 12 miles round trip to Upper Matilija Creek Campground. 
Difficulty: Easy however the short switchback from Middle Matilija Creek to Upper Matilija Creek is not very well maintained. I would avoid this area during the rainy season as the integrity of the trail is questionable and looks prone to landslides.
Permits: Permits are not required for this trail, however we used an Adventure Pass to park at the trail head.
Dogs Allowed: Dogs are allowed within Los Padres National Forest.

This summer has been an exceptionally warm one in Southern California. With the weather still in the high 90s, we were hoping to catch another backpacking trip to the Eastern Sierras before winter hit. We planned a trip with our group of friends to Cottonwood Lakes inside the John Muir Wilderness area but decided to cancel the day before due to thunderstorm warnings. As a backup, the group decided to check out Matilija Creek trail because it is one of the few places in Southern California where there is still a reliable water source. Located 30 minutes north of Ojai, California, inside Los Padres National Forest, it took us 2.5 hours to get to the trail head from South Orange County Saturday morning.


Fall foliage in Matilija Creek, Los Padres National Forest

Continue reading