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Highway 1’s best hike / beer pairings

It’s been featured in works by Steinbeck and Kerouac (not to mention an ungodly number of car commercials), and it’s undeniably one of the most scenic roads in the United States.

But California’s Highway 1 is way more than just a pretty drive. It provides access to some of the coast’s best hiking, and to some of its coolest bars and restaurants. So this week, we rounded up our favorite opportunities to enjoy those things together around Big Sur. Just do so responsibly, of course.

The Fall Creek Trail / Santa Cruz Brewing

HenryCowell 640

The Fall Creek trail in Henry Cowell State Park is a densely wooded hike through redwoods and into a canyon near Ben Lomond Mountain. The descent in and out of the canyon is strenuous, and there are no bridges at the river crossings, making the 8.2 mile hike a great choice for more experienced hikers.

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Tramp around Las Trampas Wilderness


The trails in the 5,342-acre Las Trampas Regional Wilderness rank among the steepest and the most rugged in the East Bay. But steep climbs promise great views, and Las Trampas doesn’t disappoint.

Las Trampas offers more than enough for a full weekend of activity—the park contains a campsite, stables, and the Eugene O’Neill National Historical Site (that’s the guy who wrote “The Iceman Cometh”).

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Hike with the Medicine Buddha

Land of Medicine Buddha  - web
At Bootprints, we don’t presume to be your guide to anything but the great outdoors. So when we mention the Land of Medicine Buddha in the mountains outside Santa Cruz, know that the only inner peace we can promise is the sort you feel after a great hike.

But this hike is definitely for the “seeker” types. It begins at the temple pictured above, for which you’ll need to get a key from the healthy, beatific looking guy or gal behind the desk at the bookstore.

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Hike Rancho Corral de Tierra

Rancho 053 web

If you haven’t heard of Rancho Corral de Tierra, you’re not alone. Just inland from the beach north of Half Moon Bay, the 3,858-acre space wasn’t designated as a national park until 2011, and the word’s still not out.

The park is a work in progress—many of the park’s trails are unmarked, and some are steep, eroded, and rocky. But we dediced to take a chance on it this weekend, and we’re really, really glad we did.

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Fly like an eagle in the South Bay


You probably don’t hang glide. But if you do, no doubt you already know about Monument Peak. Thanks to its gentle slopes and a consistent updraft, the 2,594-foot peak is considered one of the best launch points in the Bay Area.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the area around the peak is also popular among thermal-surfing birds of prey like hawks, falcons, and golden eagles. So if you choose to tackle the 7.5-mile hike to the peak’s summit, expect to spend most of your day with your eyes on the clouds.

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Hike Windy Hill


In the spring and autumn, the peninsula’s 1,335-acre Windy Hill Open Space Preserve is bustling with hikers looking to see the area’s wildflowers or changing leaves. But in the winter months, the preserve is all but abandoned.

That’s not for a lack of scenery, of course. The preserve’s oak, bay and maple trees have an austere beauty without their leaves, and the view from the eponymous 1,905-foot summit is as expansive as ever.

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Hike Big Basin’s Waterfall Loop


In Northern California, there are a few things we consider staples for any adventure. We’re talking about things like big old-growth trees, the Pacific Ocean, waterfalls, and underground marijuana grow operations.

The 18,000-acre Big Basin Redwood State Park has three of those things (that’s our story and we’re sticking to it). So for this week’s tip, we’ve picked out the park’s challenging but beautiful 10.5-mile waterfall loop.

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Hike the East Bay’s Wilderness

Sunol Web

There is wilderness in the Bay Area. Sure, it’s not the sprawling, untrammeled sort of wilderness protected under our favorite piece of federal legislation. But the 6,859-acre Sunol Regional Wilderness is still nothing to sneeze at.

Our favorite hike in the park is a moderate 5.9-mile lollipop loop around the Maguire Peaks: a grassy massif that tops out 1,688 feet above sea level. The circuit climbs 1,400 feet in one of the more secluded corners of the park.

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The East Bay’s best long hike


Sure, Pleasanton Ridge sounds like the name of a subdivision—and it probably is, somewhere. But it’s also a 5,271-acre East Bay regional park, and home toone of the best long hikes in the Bay Area. 

This 12.3-mile loop tours the length of the park, gaining 3,000 feet and offering stunning views of Mt. Diablo, Mission Peak, and the Sunol/Ohlone Wilderness. It’s one of the toughest hikes in the area, and follows almost every trail in the park.

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3 one-day Bay Area loop hikes

Sure, city life can be a drag. But we’re not always feeling so keen on driving three hours for a two-hour hike, either. So the next time we need short break from concrete and car horns, you’ll find us on one of these three nearby loop trails.

Castle Park to Cinderella Loop

Castle Park Trail web

This easy 2.5-mile loop through the heart of Oakland’s Joaquin Miller Park is for brunch-stuffed bellies that need a light walk-off. The Castle Park trailhead starts under shedding, shady Eucalyptus. The path curves, snaking through the hills, and you’ll catch glimpses of bright bay water far below.

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