Libraries are a cornerstone of healthy and vibrant communities. They serve so many roles and meet the needs of so many people. Using data from all over California, the Panorama Project identified the state’s most requested book–that they didn’t have available–with the idea of “what are libraries and bookstores missing? What titles are their patrons really after?”
It should come as no surprise to anyone in the local library space that the title with the most unmet demand in libraries in California over the summer was a regionally focused travel guide: Tom Courtney’s Walkabout Northern California. Library patrons are looking for local travel books. They want to get out and explore their unique communities and skip the tourist traps. These are just a couple of reasons that people seek out books like Walkabout Northern California at their local library.
Published by Wilderness Press, Walkabout Northern California describes 14 walks in the wilds of Northern California, and each entry includes “a map, mile-by-mile details of the route, logistical tips on places to stay and eat, and inspirational ideas to simplify your travel and reconnect with nature’s rhythm.”
Saturday, February 22, is National California Day. The tradition of celebrating each state with its own day began in 2017. Starting on the week of Independence Day, each state was given a day by National Day Calendar®, based on the order in which it entered the union. As the 31st state (admitted September 9, 1850), California’s day falls in the 31st week after July 4. How does one celebrate? National Day Calendar suggests that you “take a tour of California and find something new to discover.” At AdventureKEEN, we think a fantastic way to do that is by tackling a few hiking trails!
Regardless of where you find yourself—or at what skill level of hiking—chances are good that there are beautiful hiking trails nearby, perfect for you. If you aren’t sure how to begin your National California Day outing, you’re in luck. AdventureKEEN has been helping people like you get outdoors and into nature for more than 50 years. The popular guidebooks 101 Hikes in Northern California and 101 Hikes in Southern California are great places to start.
Written by hiking expert Matt Heid, 101 Hikes in Northern California benefits readers by narrowing down the multitude of options for hiking in Northern California to the very best of the best adventures. It covers hiking trails in the northern two-thirds of the state, including nearly the entirety of the Sierra Nevada, south to Kings Canyon National Park, and the entire Big Sur region along the coast, south to Silver Peak Wilderness.
The southern portion of the state is covered in 101 Hikes in Southern California by Jerry Schad and David Money Harris. For National California Day, you can trek the diverse terrain—from desert to beach to mountaintop—on an easy stroll or overnight excursion. The guidebook covers the Santa Monica, San Gabriel, San Jacinto, and San Bernardino mountains; the Mojave and Colorado deserts; and many more iconic locales.
These guides are unique in the amount of natural history information they provide, and they include essential directions for completing a trip. Best of all, you can find hiking trails within a short drive of you; recommended outings are spread out across the entire state.
Now is a great time to get outdoors and celebrate National California Day.
Countless opportunities await. And if you aren’t in California, no problem. Find
a hike near you, and enjoy the Great Outdoors!
From short nature trails to difficult peak climbs, Los Angeles County is a hiker’s paradise. The diverse topography and geology yield a variety of localized climates, and these climates make for excellent hiking conditions any time of year.
Yet there remains a notion in Southern California that summer is hiking season, even though it tends to be hot and dry. While this belief might make sense in other parts of our vast and beautiful country, it does not hold true in the Los Angeles area. For Southland residents and visitors, prime hiking conditions begin in autumn.
“Late fall brings autumn color to the oak woodlands and wet canyons of the county,” says David Harris, coauthor of Afoot & Afield: Los Angeles County (November 2019, Wilderness Press). Harris adds, “This is a time when the marine layer over the coastline and basin often lies low, while the air above can be extraordinarily clean and dry.”
The region offers plenty of trails to explore. In the updated edition of his guidebook (originally written by Jerry Schad), Harris details 259 spectacular outings. This comprehensive collection of hiking adventures is for everyone from families with small children to experienced mountaineers seeking the ultimate challenge. The guide encompasses almost all public lands within the county, including Griffith Park and the Hollywood Hills, the San Gabriel Wilderness, Crystal Lake Recreation Area, and numerous county and city parks.
Complete descriptions and driving directions are paired with easy-to-read maps with GPS waypoints. At-a-glance essential information—including distance, hiking time, elevation gain, and ratings for difficulty—help readers choose the perfect trail to fit their interests. Plus, readers need not venture far into the wilderness to find the top routes.
“Many of the best hiking opportunities start right on the
edge of town, right off the freeway,” Harris says.
He would know. For the fourth edition of the book, Harris rehiked every open trail. In doing so, his field work involved more than 1,500 miles of walking and 20,000 miles of driving, over 2½ years.
Harris divides the trails into 33 regions and includes what he believes is “virtually every hike worth taking within an hour’s drive of the city.” The thoroughness of his approach makes Afoot & Afield: Los Angeles County an essential guide for anyone with an interest in experiencing Los Angeles County on foot.
With so many trails, it would be a challenge to explore them all. Luckily, Southern California’s hiking season lasts a very long time.
“More than 9 times out of 10, your outings in Los Angeles County are likely to coincide with dry weather and temperatures in a moderate register for at least part of the day,” says Harris. “Few other areas around the country, and probably no other great city in the world, can offer such good odds.”
Afoot & Afield: Los Angeles County ($24.95, paperback) is available wherever books are sold, including bookstores, gift shops, and online retailers.
About the Authors
David Harris is a professor of engineering at Harvey Mudd College. He is the author or coauthor of seven hiking guidebooks and five engineering textbooks. David grew up rambling about the Desolation Wilderness as a toddler in his father’s pack and later roamed the High Sierra as a Boy Scout. As a Sierra Club trip leader, he organized mountaineering trips throughout the Sierra Nevada. Since 1999, he has been exploring the mountains and deserts of Southern California. David is the father of three sons, with whom he loves sharing the outdoors.
Jerry Schad (1949–2011) was Southern California’s leading outdoors writer. His 16 guidebooks, including those in Wilderness Press’s popular and comprehensive Afoot & Afield series, along with his “Roam-O-Rama” column in the San Diego Reader, helped thousands of hikers discover the region’s diverse wild places. Jerry ran or hiked many thousands of miles of distinct trails throughout California, in the Southwest, and in Mexico. He was a sub-24-hour finisher of Northern California’s 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and served in a leadership capacity for outdoor excursions around the world. He taught astronomy and physical science at San Diego Mesa College and chaired its physical sciences department from 1999 until 2011. His sudden, untimely death from kidney cancer shocked and saddened the hiking community.