Hikes

Not only do I love to run, but I also love to hike. I remember the first time I hiked, was back in high school. I thought it was the coolest thing! I went with a bunch of friends from the track team to Lake 22. I had no idea how much fun it would be. Ever since then, I've loved it. Who knew that following a dirt trail and hanging out in the woods, and getting to a certain destination like a lake, a lookout, or just to the top of a mountain was so fun? Hiking is a great way to get some exercise and take in some really cool scenery. Now that the kiddos are a bit older, they are joining in on the fun and as my 5 year old says "Hiking's cool!".

Adventures:
2016
Rockville Hills Regional Park, Fairfield, CA
Distance: Varies but we did 2.3 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Great for kids and there are different trail options depending on how far you want to go. There is a lake, pond, and even a cave on the trail map. It is also a popular place for mountain biking so watch out for bikers.
Red Rock Canyon Calico Tanks Trail, near Las Vegas, NV
Distance: 2.4 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Short hike, great for kids. Love the rocky terrain and the views of the Las Vegas strip at the end of the trail are awesome!
Stebbins Cold Canyon Blue Ridge Loop Trail, Winters, CA
Distance: 5.1 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Steep trail in parts. Very cool ridge trail and great views of Lake Berryessa!
Hike to Loch Leven Lakes, near Emigrant Gap, CA
Trail Distance: 6.8 miles roundtrip with high point
Highlights: Beautiful lakes and we explored a fun high point at the last lake. Love the rocky terrain!






Hike to Heybrook Lookout, near Goldbar, WA
Trail Distance: 2.38 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Great hike for beginners or families due to the short distance. Nice hike for hot days due to the trail being in the forest pretty much the whole way up to the lookout. View from the lookout are great!
Hike to Lake Valhalla & Mt. McCausland, near Stevens Pass, WA
Trail Distance: 8 miles total
Highlights: Beautiful lake with Mt. Lichtenburg in the background. Nice beach area and neat sites if you want to backpack. Awesome views at the summit of Mt. McCausland.
Backpacking to Dewey Point at Yosemite National Park
Trail Distance: ~8.4 miles roundtrip
Highlights: We saw a bear by the trail, avoided the crowds in the valley, and got amazing views at the point. Clear sky at night perfect for star gazing. 
Hiking Sentinel Dome at Yosemite National Park
Trail Distance: 2.2 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Great hike for kids. 360 degree views at the top. Awesome view of Yosemite Valley including Half Dome and El Capitan. Fun rocks to climb at the top.
Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Trip Day 4: Lake Aloha to Echo Lakes Chalet
Trail Distance: 7.22 miles according to my Garmin
Highlights: Great scenery throughout the hike back. Added more miles on the way back due to the water taxi not running because of high winds.
Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Trip Day 3: Hike to Gilmore Lake
Trail Distance: 9.67 miles according to my Garmin
Highlights: Great scenery along the way passing a couple of lakes (Heather & Suzy). Gilmore lake is nice. It is big, but not as cool as Lake Aloha. The trail to Mt. Tallac is right by the lake.

Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Trip Day 2: Tamarack Lake to Lake Aloha
Trail Distance: 3.46 miles according to my Garmin
Highlights: Lake Aloha is a beautiful lake, one of my favorites to date! Lots of neat pools to explore and if lucky fun patches of snow to play in for the kids. 
Desolation Wilderness Backpacking Trip Day 1: Echo Lakes to Tamarack Lake
Trail Distance: We took the water taxi that saved us some miles, so it was only 1.5 miles to the lake.
Highlights: Neat lake to backpack at and some fun places to explore nearby.
Horsetail Falls, South of Lake Tahoe, CA
Trail Distance: 3+ miles depending on high you go up the falls.
Highlights: Beautiful waterfall! Nice 1.5 mile hike to the base and lots of neat places along the way to soak your feet or splash around. We saw many people playing in the water. Crowded at the base but if you hike further up there is less people.
Shealor Lake Backpacking Trip near Kirkwood, CA 
Trail Distance: ~1.5 miles to lake
Highlights: Great first backpacking trip place! Short distance for first timers and a beautiful lake as the destination. Nice spots for campsites surround the lake. Cool short hikes up to the waterfall and even around the lake. Great views at the top of the waterfall and other high points.
Snow Mountain Backpacking Trip near Stonyford, CA
Trail Distance: We did 13+ miles.
Highlights: Great views along the trail. There is a cool box you can write something inside on East summit and a fun monument you can stand on, on West summit. There is actually snow on Snow Mountain (least when we went there was). :)
North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve in Oroville, CA
Trail Distance: We did 4.9 miles roundtrip but can be shorter depending on trails you take.
Highlights: Cool terrain with vernal pools and streams. We hiked to two neat waterfalls. Known for wildflowers early spring. A must do before dry season as the waterfalls are seasonal.
Valley Vista Trail hike in Rumsey, CA
Trail Distance: 4.2 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Awesome views once you get up on the ridge. If you hike to Rumsey Knob you can see Mt. Shasta!  
Cache Creek Ridge Trail Backpacking Trip in Clearlake Oaks, CA
Trail Distance: 6 miles roundtrip
Highlights: The beginning was the hardest part of the hike with a gradual climb and steeper climb until it flattened out. Awesome view where we camped. Hiking through the burned area was sad.
Effie Yeaw Nature Center in Carmichael, CA
Trail Distance: 1.63 mile loop but lots of different routes
Highlights: Really nice visitor center. Great for kids. Nice nature trails and you can get really close to the American River. It was fun to see the wildlife along the way.
Napa County North Shore Trail in Napa County, CA
Trail Distance: 1.6 miles+
Highlights: Cool views of Lake Berryessa. Fun to get close to the lake.
Mount Diablo via Juniper Trail in Clayton, CA
Trail distance: 5 miles including Moses Rock Ridge Trail
Highlights: Awesome views from the start and they get better as you hike up. A neat visitor center at the top. Great for kids. Without the Moses Rock Ridge Trail, hike is about 4 miles round trip.
Hidden Falls Regional Park in Auburn, CA
Trail Distance: Many possibilities due to the various trails. We did 5 miles total.
Highlights: Lots of things to see. There are bridges, waterfalls, viewing decks, and vista points. Great for families because of the trail options. Looks like it would be a fun place to take a dip in the summer but if crowded parking options can be limited.
Billy's Hill to Cortina Ridge in Colusa County, CA
Trail Distance: We did ~4 to Cortina Ridge. If you hiked to just Billy's Hill it is shorter.
Highlights: Steep hike in parts but definitely worth the climb. 360 degree views of neat mountains. Awesome scenery and lots of picture taking opportunities.
Cosumnes River Preserve in Galt, CA
Trail Distance: We did 2.68 miles on the River walk trail it can be up to 3.3 miles. 
Highlights: Hike through wetlands, riparian forest, grasslands, and to the Cosumnes River. Possibility of seeing wildlife and you can also check out the train tracks.



2015
Mt. Tamalpais Lookout in Mill Valley, CA and Golden Gate Bridge
Trail Distance: Mt. Tamalpais trail is .6 round trip from the parking lot. There is another trail you can take that is longer from lower.
Highlights: The short hike is perfect for kids and the views by the lookout are amazing. You see San Francisco and the Bay, East Bay and surrounding areas. It is awesome up there!


Muir Woods National Monument and Muir Beach Overlook in Mill Valley, CA
Trail Distance: Varies depending on how far you want to hike out and back.
Highlights: Awesome Redwood trees at Muir Woods National Monument. Great that it can be a short or long depending on how far out you want to go so it is great for families. Beautiful scenery and park is well kept. Muir Beach overlook is a great viewpoint. Cool to see out to the ocean.
Crystal Cove State Park - El Moro Ridge Trail loopLocated in Laguna Beach, CA
Trail Distance: Our hike was a 4 mile loop but you there are many other distances to choose from.
Highlights: Steep parts but great views along the way to the top. You can see Newport Beach, Long Beach, and Catalina Island. Good hike for kids.
Stairway to Heaven to Pinwheel Vista and AT Boardwalk - Located in Vernon Township, NJ
Trail Distance : Our hike was a little over 4 miles which included the boardwalk part. If you only do Stairway to Heaven the hike is 2.5 miles total.
Highlights: Rocks on Stairway to Heaven trail, great views at the top, challenging but great for kids. Boardwalk trail is nice and flat, and not far to get to the suspension bridge.
Hiking Mercer Meadows - Loop From Hunts House - Located in Pennington, NJ
Trail Distance: Varies depending on trail you take. We did 2.8 on this hike.
Highlights: Great for kids, flat, and lots of trail options. You can even hike to the playground.




Zaitz Woods Nature Preserve - located in West Windsor, NJ
Trail Distance: We did a mile. There are parts where you can add on. Just check the map.
Highlights: Great for kids. Flat trails and there are geocaches nearby. Short trail and in the trees so shaded. 
Pulpit Rock - located in Hamburg, PA
Trail Distance: ~4.6 miles roundtrip add more mileage if going all the way to the Pinnacle
Highlights: Gradual climb. Awesome views at the Pulpit!

Angora Lakes Resort - located in South Lake Tahoe, CA
Trail Distance: 1/2 mile to the lake so only a mile roundtrip (if you only go to the lake)
Highlights: Short hike that is perfect for kids. Lots of fun things to do at the lake. There is a little beach area where you can swim, rent a boat, stand up paddle board, or if brave enough, jump from the cliffs by the lake.
Wyanokie High Point located in Ridgewood, NJ
Trail distance: 2.5 miles round trip but you can make it longer if you want.
Highlights: Great viewpoints along the way to the highpoint, rock slabs make the hike interesting and fun, and you can see the NYC skyline at the High Point. Awesome views!
Sourland Mountain Preserve Located in Hillsborough Township, NJ
Trail distance: 1-5 miles depending on trail routes you take
Highlights: Rocks along the trail the kids will like and the boulder area is fun. Some boardwalks along the trail on certain routes.
6 Mile Run Reservoir Hike in Somerset, NJ.
Trail Distance: varies on far you want to go out. we did 2 that day.
Highlights: Cool trail that was like a track, fitting since the trail is also popular for mountain bikers. The kids like how it was like a track and liked to run on it. Cool plank boardwalks for bikes in some parts.
Baldpate Mountain Hike in Hopewell, NJ.
Trail Distance: We did 2 miles but you can easily make it longer or shorter if need be with the various trails on site.
Highlights: Great hike for kids. Rocks along the way or logs to make it fun for kids. You can see Philly at the summit on a clear day!
Shenandoah National Park - Fox Hollow Trail - Fox Hollow Trail
Trail Distance: 1.2 miles total
Highlights: A fairly easy hike. It's perfect for kids as there are some interesting things along the route to see. 
Shenandoah National Park Day 3 - Stony Man Hike and Luray Caverns in Luray
Shenandoah National Park Day 2 - Our hikes to Dark Hallow Falls, Blackrock, and Miller's Head.
Shenandoah National Park Day 1 - Our hikes to Lower Hawksbill, Bearfence Scramble, and Blackrock Summit.
Institute Woods Trails Located in Princeton, NJ


Mountain Lakes Nature Preserve Located in Princeton, NJ







2014
Cheesequake State Park Located in Matawan, NJ
Trail Distance: 3 miles for the green trail, but there are other colors with different distances ranging from .75-3 miles.
Highlights: Great for kids. There is an interpretive center close to the start. Fun walking on boardwalks along the trail and hike is great in the fall with stunning fall foliage. The marshy area was interesting too. 
Watkins Glen State Park Located in Watkins Glen, NY
Trail Distance: Gorge trail is 1.5 miles one way with a shuttle at the end if you don't want to walk back, otherwise 3 miles total
Highlights: Great for kids, amazing sculpted rock with waves of layers, two waterfalls that you can go behind, many other waterfalls. Try to go early if you can as the crowds can get make your experience not as fun. A definite must see hike!
Hacklebarney State Park located in Long Valley, NJ
Trail distance: Varies depending on the trail you take
Highlights: Great for kids, 2 waterfalls, and lower trail takes you along the Black River. There is a playground close to the entrance so it is a nice incentive to get the kids moving for heading back while on the trail.
Castle Point Trail located in Ramapo Mountain State Forest, NJ
Trail Distance: 3.2 miles
Highlights: Great for kids. Includes a walk along Ramapo Lake, climb to an abandoned mansion, and a view of the Wanaque Reservoir and surrounding mountains. 
Bushkill Falls located in Bushkill, Pennsylvania
Trail distance: varies from 15 min walk to over 2 hours depending on the trail you want to take
Highlights: Great for all. Love the boardwalks and bridges and cool creek for kids to play and explore.
Torne Mountain/ Osio Rock located in Bloomingdale, NJ
Trail distance: 2.5 miles total
Highlights: Awesome views along the trail. You can even see the NYC skyline from various viewpoints on the trail. Best view is at Osio Rock as you get a 360 degree view of the Wanaque Reservoir, NYC skyline, and the Ramapos. Great hike for kids and I really liked the rock slabs along the trail. 
Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association located in Pennington, NJ.
Trail distance: Depends on the trail you take
Highlights: Great for kids. Short distance hikes. We took the Meadow-Pond trail and the pond is nice! It's big and the kids liked to throw rocks in it. Nice picnic area near the pond and many places on the trail to rest as there were benches and chairs all along the trail.  
Snoqualmie Falls located in Snoqualmie, WA.
Trail distance: 1.2 miles total
Highlights: Awesome views of the waterfall from both the top and bottom. Perfect distance for kids. There is also a lower falls parking area if you do not want to walk down the trail.
Red Top Mountain Lookout
Red Top Mountain Lookout located in Teanaway, WA.
Trail Distance: 2 miles total
Highlights: Perfect distance for kids and AMAZING views! The distance is very short and there is a cool lookout at the top. 

Rattlesnake Ledge located in North Bend, WA.
Trail Distance: 4 miles total
Highlights: Great for kids, cool views at the top (if nice weather). Nice lake at the trail head to hang out at.
Turkey Point Lighthouse Trail at Elk Neck State Park located in North East, MD. 
Trail Distance: 1.5 miles total
Highlights: Great for kids, the little private beach area is neat, views are nice, and of course the lighthouse is cool. You can even climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse, just make sure you go when it is open if you want to go up it.
Tripod Rock
Pyramid Mountain located in Boonton Township, NJ which is about an hour and 13 minute drive from Princeton.
Trail distance: 5 mile loop but can be shortened or lengthened depending on the trail routes you want to take
Highlights: Lucy's Overlook, Tripod rock (Three Pillar Rock), Whale Head rock, Bear Rock, and scenic overlooks where you can see the NYC skyline




Ricketts Glen Falls trail
Rickett's Glen Falls Trail located in Benton, PA which is about a 3 hour drive from Princeton.
Trail distance: We walked from our cabin which added about 1.2 miles, so our total came to about a 6 mile loop
Highlights: 21 waterfalls, all unique, and pretty amazing they are all on the same trail. It's exciting to see one waterfall and not too far later come across another. Tallest waterfall, Ganoga, is 94 feet tall.



Haycock Mountain
Haycock Mountain located in Quakertown, PA which is about an hour drive from Princeton. 
Trail distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Lots of rocks to climb on. However, with kids, be careful when going up. There were some tricky parts. Being a short hike, we took the kids afterwards to the Doylestown kids castle which they loved.




Point Mountain overlook
Point Mountain located in Lebanon Township, NJ which is about an hour and 10 minute drive from Princeton.
Trail distance: 3 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Alongside the river in the beginning, some rock scrambling, and nice view at the overlook.






Mt. Minsi from Mt. Tammany
Mt. Tammany located in Knowlton, Township, NJ which is about an hour and 30 minute drive from Princeton.
Trail distance: 3.5 miles roundtrip
Highlights: Some minor scrambling, great views of the Water "Gap" and can see Mt. Minsi right across the way.

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