Heart Rock Trail – Hiking to Escape

Heart Rock
Heart Rock

Located in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California is a short and easy hike to a beautiful overlook called “Heart Rock”.  To reach Heart Rock/Seely Creek Trail take CA-18 to CA-138 W in Crestline. The trail starts about ¼ mile south of the entrance to Camp Seely where you can find parking either before Camp Seeley or along the road past the entrance. No Adventure Pass is required for this part of the National Forest but it is recommended to always check if a pass is required before parking. The approximately one-mile round trip hike takes you along Seely Creek the majority of the distance with gorgeous views of the mountain forest. The leaves were changing colors and falling from the trees and it was not too cold yet, so November was a perfect time to visit here. Walking along the creek you will reach a fork in the trail. Steer to the right until reaching the rock landing area marking the trail’s end. There are markers along the trail to lead you in the right direction. Right below the landing is the famous heart-shaped hole in the cliff next to a waterfall. Even though there are ways to climb down into the heart, it is not recommended because the slippery rocks can cause easy falling. I highly recommend Heart Rock Trail for anyone in the area to take because it’s a quick and easy trail to explore the beauty of nature outdoor!


Annie’s Canyon Trail – Hiking to Escape

Annie's Canyon Trail
Looking Down Slot Canyon

Annie’s Canyon Trail is located within the San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy in San Diego’s coastal North County. It lies between the beach and Interstate 5 just north of the city of Solana Beach. The nonprofit land trust covers 1,000 acres of wetland and is home to numerous species of plants and animals. It is a great place for walking, running, and hiking on the seven miles of trails, walking dogs, and taking nature photography.

Annie’s Canyon Trail was named in honor of Annie, a conservancy supporter, who worked to help restore wild areas of the lagoon for nature and for people to enjoy. The trail is a quarter-mile loop that is moderate to strenuous. To enter San Elijo Lagoon we parked along Rios Avenue in Solano Beach. It is a beautiful walk through the winding paths of the lagoon full of natural trees and plants endemic to the area.  From the Rios Avenue trail we entered the trail to Annie’s Canyon. As I walked through the sandstone walls of this short but beautiful slot canyon, it reminded me of the those I have hiked through in Anza Borrego and Page, Arizona, just shorter in length.

If you plan to hike this trail, make sure to wear shoes with a good grip because the sand is loose and slippery while passing though the sometimes very narrow spaces. After the canyon hike we took a winding path to the overlook with a gorgeous view of the ocean and the lagoon. San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy is a beautiful place to escape from the chaos of the city and wrap yourself in peaceful nature.

Happy Halloween!!! Pumpkin Rock – Hiking to Escape

IMG_3277 2I grew up very close to this hidden gem named Pumpkin Rock and never knew of it’s existence until recently. It is about a 1-mile round trip hike from the trailhead. The best place to park is along Vandermolen Drive in Norco, but be respectful while parking because this is a residential area. The hike is steep in some places but fairly easy and quick. There is nothing spectacular to see on the way up but at the top of the trail is the Giant Pumpkin Rock and on a clear day, a nice view of Corona and Norco. 

Vernal Fall – Hiking to Escape

Vernal Fall
Vernal Fall, Yosemite

Recently I went on a quick two-day trip to Yosemite National Park. I had not been inside the park before even though I have passed by the area many times on the way to Northern California. We got up early in the morning and drove from San Diego to Yosemite to hit the Mist Trail before the crowds started since this is one of the most popular hikes at Yosemite. Vernal Fall is approximately a three-mile round trip hike but you can go further on Mist Trail to Nevada Fall which is a seven-mile round trip. The recent wildfires in the area were still active at the time and the smoke was causing some trouble breathing so we decided to just go as far as Vernal Fall. This is an absolutely beautiful hike with streams and mini waterfalls along the way and a giant stone staircase by the fall. Hiking in October provides you with an extra bonus of the leaves changing colors. The lush trees were covered in various shades of green, red, orange, and yellow. I took my Nikon SLR with me since I am currently taking a photography class with the attempt to “get off auto” and there was no shortage of beautiful subjects to practice taking pictures of. The moderately challenging trail is fairly steep in some parts but the hike is overall enjoyable and not that difficult. Depending on the season and rainfall, you will discover that the Mist Trail is appropriately named because the mountain water sprays on you while hiking. During the spring when the snowpack melts it is recommended to wear rain gear as you can get soaked. When I have more time available, my goal is to return to Yosemite and hike Half Dome. 

Big Horn Mine – Hiking to Escape

Big Horn Mine
Big Horn Mine

While working during the week to fund my outdoor escapes, I love to take a quick day hike in Southern California. Our local mountains, beaches, and deserts have numerous hikes with various levels of difficulty that can be done in one day. This past Sunday a group of my friends and I took the Big Horn Mine Trail to Big Horn Mine. It is located south-west of the city of Wrightwood off Highway 2 in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County. The start of the trail is at the Vincent Gap Parking lot. Make sure to buy an Adventure Pass from the Forest Service or you may get fined and/or towed. The passes are available from plenty of stores on the way through Wrightwood for $5 per day or $30 for a yearly pass.

The hike itself is about four miles to the mine and back. The gravel and rock lined trail is fairly narrow and in some places you will be right up against the side of the mountain. You will pass a mine outlet before reaching the actual mine. Keep walking a little further until you reach the old structure that is falling apart. You can carefully walk inside the dilapidated mine building by passing over the old wood planks to reach a gorgeous view of the valley below and take some beautiful panoramic photos.

The entrance to Big Horn Mine is a small climb to the right of the building. As you climb through, be careful of hitting your head on the wooden beams above or getting caught by any protruding metal. It’s a big step up to a wooden platform to see the entrance of the mine. You will see a small opening to the mine that is big enough to climb through. I’m not sure how far you can crawl into the mine, but I only went about 300 feet inside. Some people have left ribbons that they have used as a method of retracing their steps. Make sure to have a good flashlight with you, not just your phone light as that will not light up the dark mine well enough. There was water dripping from the ceiling of the mine creating big puddles along the way.

This is a fun adventure and a satisfying hike that I would highly recommend before it gets too cold in the mountains. I have been wanting to take this hike for a long time and glad I finally found the time for this hiking escape!