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Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Your Hiking Bucket List

Dec 26, 2019 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

Your Hiking Bucket List

January 2020
Story by The Enjoy Staff

DAYS MAY BE SHORTER in the winter, but it’s a perfect time to start making a list of places to explore when the weather lends itself to a hike. Here’s a cheat sheet for you to start with.

Three Rivers

Photo courtesy of Captured by Kasie

Skyline Trail: Skyline Loop and Salt Creek Falls is a 6.1-mile moderate loop near Three Rivers, accessible year-round with a waterfall certain times of year. The trail offers numerous offshoots and adventure possibilities, tree swings and scattered picnic tables throughout. Dogs and horses are able to use this trail. Approximately 45 minutes from Visalia before entering national parks, so no pass needed. Parking is limited but free. 

Mineral King to Eagle Lake Trail: This 6.5-mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail near Three Rivers features a lake and is rated as difficult. Beautiful views, used primarily for hiking and running and is best used from May to October. 

Sequoia National Park

Moro Rock: For the beginner looking to venture out, photographer Peter Amend recommends Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park. Enjoy a great start with a moderate trail and breathtaking views. Following Highway 198 all the way up, parking is across from the visitor’s center with a nice pathway that winds all the way to Moro Rock through the trees. If one is feeling brave, take the stairway to the top to see a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Sierra Nevada. 

Tokopah Falls Trail: The trailhead is out of Lodgepole Campground. It’s a relatively easy ramble up to the waterfall, about 4 miles round trip. Pack a picnic and make an afternoon of it; great for families. 


Photo Courtesy of Kori Friesen

Millerton Lake: Pincushion Trail is an 8.4-mile moderately trafficked loop near Friant. Features a lake and is particularly beautiful in the spring with the wildflowers. Moderate trails with beautiful vista lookouts and open year-round. 

Central Coast

Photo Courtesy of James Lester

San Luis Obispo: Bishop Peak Trail is a 3.4-mile heavily trafficked out-and-back trail located near San Luis Obispo. Features beautiful wildflowers. The moderate-rated trail offers a number of activity options (dogs included) and is accessible year-round. 

San Luis Obispo: Johnson Ranch Loop trail is a 3.2-mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near San Luis Obispo. Beautiful landscape, easy trail with a river and rated as moderate. Accessible year-round and dogs are welcome.

Los Osos: Montana De Oro offers 12 moderate trails ranging from 2.8 to 11.4 miles, with rugged cliffs, secluded beaches, tide pools, coastal plains, streams, canyons and hills. Backpackers, naturalists, mountain bikers and equestrians enjoy the freedom found on these coastal trails. The park’s name, “Mountain of Gold,” comes from the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring. Beautiful trails accessible year-round with a range of difficulty for everyone. 

Remember, whenever you head out for a hike, be sure to check the weather first, make sure someone knows where you’re going, pack a first aid kit, bring plenty of water and wear appropriate clothes and shoes. And don’t forget your camera!