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Outdoor Staff Picks

“Go outside and play!”
Staff picks for seasonal adventures in southern California.

Sycamore Moon

Winter 2010

Mike says:

When we have brisk, clear conditions, I like to find a mountain trail with distant views along the way and from the top.

– San Juan Trail – Cleveland National Forest, Trabuco District. 
Trail Head at Blue Jay Campground near El Carrizo at the crest of Ortega Highway, Hwy74. (Orange County)

– Cuyamaca Peak or Stonewall Peak – Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
Trail Heads at Paso Picacho Campground Parking, Hwy79. (San Diego County)

– Garnet Peak – Cleveland National Forest, Descanso District. 
Trail Head at Penny Pines (near al bahr shrine camp), Hwy S1.  (San Diego County)

Laura Says:

Caspers Wilderness Park
Start at Bell Canyon, and take Sun Rise or Quail Run to the East Ridge, or Star Rise or Dick Loskorn to the West Ridge.  And beyond. (Orange County)

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness (in Cleveland National Forest) – “behind the candy store” off Ortega Highway
Bear Canyon loop and many more good trails back there.  Or take the easier San Juan Loop across the highway.  Then stop for a snack at the candy store afterwards. (Riverside County)

Laguna Coast Wilderness
Willow and Laurel Canyons are a good start

Crystal Cove State Park
Red route, green route, blue route – you pick your poison among 17 miles of hiking trails – it’s all gorgeous.

Gene Says:

– Quatal Canyon Rd between Rte 33 and Cerro Noroeste Rd (Mt Pinos).  Los Padres National Forest.
Juniper, manzanita, pines, rocks and canyons, 4WD makes it more fun. (Kern County)

– Carrizo Plain National Monument, Soda Lake Rd off the 166 on BLM land
Birds, spring wildflowers, rock art. About 15 minutes from Quatal Cyn Rd @ the 33 (San Luis Obispo County)

– Wind Wolves Preserve outside of Maricopa on the 166.
Grasslands, elk, bears and interesting geology, about 25 minutes from Carrizo Plain (Kern County)

Pat Says:

Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Preserve
Located at the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains in southwest Riverside. (Riverside County)

Daley Ranch
Located in the northeastern portion of the City of Escondido (San Diego County)

Torrey Pines State Reserve
Located within San Diego city limits and yet remains one of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast. (San Diego County)