All in Northern CA

  1. Wild Weather Adventures

    1) Go With the Flow In winter, Mount Tam’s Cataract Falls transforms into a fast-charging flow, churning and tumbling with such spectacular force. The roar of the falls fills Cataract Canyon, an ideal place to hike, especially when it’s raining. Make Tracks in Tahoe Get an amazing view of Lake Tahoe’s big blue beauty on a 3.6-mile (round-trip) snow-shoe adventure offering 360-degree views. Walk with the Devil The multi-use Devil’s Slide section of the California Coastal Trail just south of Pacifica is usually much less crowded when gray skies and rain are around, and it’s a prime spot for viewing all that’s wild about the weather and the sea. Sink Right In Heat things up at Sierra Hot Springs in Sierraville. Open 24 hours, the property sits on the edge of a golden meadow and 700 acres of National Forest land. Light Up Your Life The 115-foot Lighthouse Tower at Point Arena Light Station in Mendocino County is one of the few lighthouses you can climb to the top of for a brilliant balcony panorama of the Pacific Coast (and possible gray whale sightings)! Wine About It When all else fails, wine-taste in a pretty place! Amador County’s Shenandoah Valley is fast becoming the go-to region, with a down-to-earth vibe and inexpensive tasting fees, even as the awards keep rolling in. The loping sun-drenched vineyards are absolutely stunning (and less crowded!) in winter.

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  2. Hidden Redwoods

    The awe-inspiring redwoods in Muir Woods and Big Basin rightfully draw a following, but you can experience the tallest living things on earth in lesser-known spots, too. Here are three hidden redwood groves whose roots run deep in the Bay Area.

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  3. Welcome to the New Weekend Sherpa

    Kirby Calling Just west of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin is one of the bay's most secluded beaches for barbecuing and beach lounging.   Peak of the Devil At 2,369 feet, Mount Diablo's Eagle Peak is not as high as its main peak, but the 3-mile (one-way) adventure to reach it is much more enticing.   Whale a Minute! Mori's got mojo for whale watching! Thanks to its exposed promontory, Pacifica's Mori Point is an ideal spot for spying gray whales during migrations.   Nice Ride Ready to stop spinning your wheels with the same old routine in Sonoma and Napa? Shift gears by taking this leisurely 30-mile road ride through the Carneros region.   Hot Tomales! The 9-mile (round-trip) hike to Tomales Point in Point Reyes is a classic, and one of California's best, with outstanding views, wildlife sightings, and an oceanfront setting.   Yes Sur! A hidden coastal hike in Big Sur, a beautiful beach, and maybe a little wine-tasting afterwards? Here's the plan.   Hike & Bike an Island Car-free Angel Island State Park has a rich history, hidden south-facing beach, and ridiculously scenic picnic and campsites. Experience it in a nutshell on an 8-mile bike-and-hike adventure.

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  4. Sponsored
    2022-11-09

    Hidden Gems of San Ramon

    Slow down, get rejuvenated, and find some cheer (make that “cheers!”) in San Ramon.

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  5. Chasing Waterfalls

    The reservoirs are reaching their peak, the hills are electric green, and the waterfalls are in show-off mode. Hit the trail and chase these waterfalls!

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  6. H2 Flows!

    With all this wild weather, you've just gotta go with the flow. And go to the flow! Here are three waterfalls to check out after winter rains. H2-Oh!

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  7. Spring Classics

  8. Romancing the Snow

    Make some snow hearts with your sweetheart in Tahoe this weekend. Here are three snowshoe hikes worth swooning over. Ready, set, snowshoe!

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  9. SLO Jam

    Ahhh, winter on the Central Coast. Fewer crowds, amazing outdoors, and some wine to top it all off. Adventure, unwind, and take it SLO.

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  10. SLO Jam

    Ahhh, winter on the Central Coast. Fewer crowds, amazing outdoors, and some wine to top it all off. Adventure, unwind, and take it SLO.

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  11. Backdoor Marin

    So close, so wild, and sometimes so popular! Marin packs plenty of secrets, you just have to know which door to open. Here are a few less traveled hikes. Knock, knock!

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  12. Storm Troopers!

    When El Niño's storms are pounding the coast, don't run for shelter, run for the trails! Here are three trails that offer great vantages of the approaching storms, and are short enough to retreat if there’s a downpour!

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  13. Make Your Winter Escape

    Bodega Sunset Sensation! Tiny Bodega Head has long lured visitors to its dramatic cliff-above-ocean setting and excellent vantages for spotting migrating gray whales. Hike here on a winter day right before sunset and you'll be treated to fewer crowds and a glorious technicolor dream show, powered by nature. National Treasure The 1,665-acre Point Arena–Stornetta Public Lands were last year designated as part of the California Coastal National Monument by President Barack Obama. This Mendocino County gem is a spectacular place to hike along bluffs overlooking small coves, sea caves, and offshore islands. It's also a prime whale-watching spot. Beach Stroll with Your Best Friend Long walks on the beach, in the East Bay? Indeed. Alameda's Crown Memorial Beach is a relaxing stretch of sand that's an impressive 2.5 miles long, and it's dog-friendly too! Nice and New Hike through some stunning canyons studded with ancient oaks and opening up to huge views at the newly opened Mindego Gateway trailhead in Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve. Warm Bath and a Waterfall Hike What's better than hiking to a waterfall? How about relaxing afterward in a warm mineral bath? Do both at Ukiah's Vichy Springs! BONUS: National Parks are waiving their entrance fees on Monday, January 18, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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  14. New Trails and Views

    Happy New Year! Out with the old, in with the new: Here are three adventures throughout the Bay Area that feature something all new, and ready for you!

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  15. Sponsored
    2022-11-09

    Hidden Gems of San Ramon

    Slow down, get rejuvenated, and find some cheer (make that “cheers!”) in San Ramon.

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  16. Best Adventures of 2015

    1) Master of Tam This 8-mile classic Mount Tam hike is one to return to year after year. There are multiple ways to start it, but it's kind of nice to get the uphill out of the way first. 2) Hidden Coastal Hike Big Sur's Garrapata State Park is a coast-hugging beauty with little-known trails leading to a Big Surplus of vistas. Do this 2-mile (round-trip) oceanside hike with nonstop views of epic coastline). 3) Light the Way to Whale Watching What's the secret for spying gray whales during winter's migration season? Location! And location doesn't get any better than from the top of the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast. 4) Strong, Rugged, Beautiful Jenner and the Sonoma Coast have big views, a beautiful hidden state beach, and sublime (beginner-friendly!) kayaking. 5) Viva Anderson Valley Just a few hours north of San Francisco, Anderson Valley packs in everything you'd want for a glorious weekend getaway: fabulous (affordable!) wineries, hiking in the redwoods, and a hilltop gem for spending the night. 6) Tree Swing Hikes The Central Coast adventureland of San Luis Obispo County is surrounded by ancient volcanoes, green hills, and dramatic coastline. Toss in some tree swings on hikes, and see SLO from new heights. 7) Yurts So Good Set high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with an entourage of spectacular redwood trees, Mount Madonna County Park is 3,200 acres of beautiful secluded land dominated by redwoods, with hiking trails, four campgrounds, and five awesome yurts! 8) Know Your ABCs ABC = Adventures in British Columbia! The westernmost Canadian province has a rainforest with a hidden hot springs, epic hiking in Whistler, and incredible lake and oceanside respites for eating, drinking, and sleeping. 9) Sierra Secret The quiet town of Sierraville is basecamp for adventure: Spend the night in spectacular fire lookout, take a dip in a nearby hot springs, and find glorious Sierra solitude on the trails. 10) Best in Beaches Three of California's top state beaches are located in Monterey County—do some sand hopping!

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  17. Merry in the Moment

    It's something dogs do really well. Live in the moment. Not worried about stuff in the past or dwelling on things to come. It's about what's right in front of you, right now. During the holidays, things can get a little stressful. One way to help deal with that stress is to get outside. It doesn't have to be a big hike—it could just be taking a walk down the street or hopping on your bike to go to the store. What's right in front of you? Take a breath, look around. You're alive! In California! That's pretty cool. We'll celebrate that. Enjoy the holidays, from all of us at Weekend Sherpa. PS - Next week is our annual Top 10 featuring some of your favorite adventures of the year. Make it merry!

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  18. Star Wars Adventures

    See Yoda in a National Park, You Will: It's the only Bay Area campus in a national park. George Lucas's Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco's Presidio is a great place for a winter afternoon walk among its 23 acres of open space, with postcard views of the Golden Gate Bridge and a chance for a selfie with Yoda, being Yoda, in front of Building B. Walk the Waterfront: The massive white cranes along Oakland's waterfront are known as the inspiration behind the "Imperial Walkers" in George Lucas's Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. But did you know there's a pristine 38-acre park tucked among these behemoths, with bird watching, beautiful views of the bay, lovely pathways, and restored wetlands? Hike to Blockbuster Views: Back in the '70s George Lucas was best known for making blockbuster movies. But he was also making some blockbuster real estate purchases. Marin's Lucas Valley is home to Skywalker Ranch. See the ranch, the San Francisco skyline—and a whole lot more—on a 5.75-mile loop hike to the high point on Loma Alta. Zipline the Big Reds: George Lucas had Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia flying through the redwoods on Imperial speeders for Star Wars: Return of the Jedi. Get that feeling ziplining on a canopy tour through a redwood forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Go Over to the Dark Side: Actually, it's only the name, Death Valley, that sounds dark. This national park is as golden as it gets, with varied desert terrain. As a film location for scenes from the original Star Wars, the entire park looks like a movie backdrop.

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  19. Joy to the Wine

    'Tis the season … and a really good reason to visit wineries growing merrier and brighter by the vintage—and the outdoor activities! Here are three standouts not named Napa or Sonoma that are making their mark for outstanding wines and good times in the great outdoors.

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  20. Sunset Surprise

    Whether the air is crisp and clean, or cauliflower clouds crowd the skies, winter sunsets are simply beautiful in these three Bay Area spots. Take a breather this holiday season. Watch a sunset.

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  21. Good Gravy!

    Shake Your Giblets: Hike a hidden slice of open space with great views and autumn hues, at Mulholland Ridge Open Space Preserve, a little-known 250-acre open space area in the East Bay. Like your open space and trails? Check out the nonprofit Outdoor Voice, a coalition creating new parks, protecting farmlands, making over 1 million acres of parks publicly accessible, and ensuring thousands of miles of trails remain open for exploration. #FreshAirSaturday: Get swept up in iconic coastal scenery on this 5-mile (round-trip) classic dog-friendly hike in the Marin Headlands. Also here: the Marine Mammal Center (free admittance, closed Thanksgiving Day but open Black Friday and all weekend). The world's largest veterinarian hospital for marine mammals is currently rescuing a record number of northern fur seals stranded on beaches due to lack of food sources and abnormally warm ocean waters. Your visit can help send these seals home for the holidays! State Park Coastal Gems: As an official partner of California State Parks Foundation, we're pretty thankful for their commitment to keeping the parks open and accessible. One of our favorites? The hike-in and hidden Greenwood State Beach on the Mendocino Coast is absolutely beautiful. There's also this hidden coastal hike in Big Sur's Garrapata State Park ... and maybe a little wine-tasting afterwards…

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  22. #FreshAirSaturday

    Between Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, there’s a lot going on. Take a deep breath … it’s time to have a little fun outdoors. It’s time for #FreshAirSaturday.

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Trending Stories NorCal

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  1. Sebastopol Food & Wine Roll

    One apple farm, three charming towns, multiple wineries, and infinite natural beauty. Savor a perfect autumn day in Sonoma County by biking the West County Regional Trail from Sebastopol to Forestville via Graton. It’s a 17-mile (round-trip) adventure. 

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  2. Hiker taking a photo of sunset at Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve

    Sunshine and Skyline

    Head to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve for a 4-mile out-and-back hike on the Bay Area Ridge Trail that offers a front-row seat to spectacular sunsets.

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  3. Hike Los Trancos Open Space Preserve in the Santa Cruz Mountains

    Light of Los Trancos

    In autumn, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve lights up with orange-red maples, yellow hazelnut, and deciduous oaks, making this 2.5-mile hike in the Santa Cruz mountains a wonder-fall destination.

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  4. Sponsored

    Center of Attention

    Central Oregon is home to the craft beer capital of the US, the Deschutes River, and trails for every kind of outdoor adventure: hiking, skiing, paddling, biking, and—of course—relaxing at fire pits.

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Trending Stories SoCal

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  1. Secret Stair Master!

    Step up to a wonderful 2-mile, nearly 1000-step workout in peaceful Pasadena that is part leg labor, part suburban stroll, and all serene secret.

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  2. Hiker at Dos Picos County Park in San Diego County

    Dos Picos

    The 1.4-mile loop around Dos Picos County Park is a small yet mighty gem in northern San Diego County. It's gentle and packs a bunch of scenery.

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  3. U-pick and Hike

    Some of the most delicious anywhere grow on trees high up in the San Bernardino Mountains in the town of Oak Glen, where Los Rios Rancho, So Cal’s largest historic apple ranch, grows 32 varieties, all completely organic, and available as u-picks.

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  4. Hike to an epic vista in the San Gabriels via the Colby Trail in Glendora

    Do It for a Donut!

    Why bust your legs on this 2.25-mile hike in the San Gabriels? Two words: Donuts. Donuts. Okay, you’ll also get great views and a fine workout, but we guarantee that the treat alone merits the trek.

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