The hubs and I have hiked over 100 hikes in the bay area with total stats of 592 miles with a total elevation gain of 85,259 feet over 862 hours in the past 2 years. Impressive stats? Maybe. We are still finding places to explore and add to these stats! The hubs and I like to find new places to hike every weekend. Living in beautiful northern California allows for us to do a different hike almost every time! Many of our friends that have lived here there entire lives wonder how we keep finding new ones to go to. I’ll let you in on a little secret, it’s called the internet. 🙂
Favorite Sites to Find Hikes
- The number one favorite site we go to regularly is Bay Area Hiker (www.bahiker.com). We have never gotten lost when following Jane’s instructions! She gives insightful information on the area including the plant and animal life you will see and even has an amazing interactive map to find hikes in your area.
- 600 Hikes in the Bay Area (gurmeet.net/hiking) has a great site grouped in what you would like to see on your hike from peaks, to waterfalls, to lighthouses, and so many more.
- We signed up for the Weekend Sherpa (weekendsherpa.com) email which we receive every Thursday morning with ideas on hikes in Northern California.
- The hubs and I like to volunteer and be involved in grassroots programs and the Bay Area Ridge Trail is one of them! Their interactive site (ridgetrail.org/trail-maps) helps me find which ones are part of the ridge trail project.
- Finally, which county to do you live in? We are on the email list and also volunteer for Sonoma County Parks (parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov). Check out your local county park website and join in on the fun in your neighborhood!
Start exploring your backyard and then head on out and start exploring all the parks around you! We have enjoyed exploring the bay area regional parks, the California state parks and all the hidden gems our beautiful northern California has to offer!
Research Your Hiking Destination
While I love surprises, I do really want to know what I am in for. The above sites will give you tons of information but I like to know what I am going to see. We often use Instagram as a way to research what is there and also what not to miss! Sometimes when we read the trail descriptions there are options to do extra side trails to see views or find a hidden waterfall and Instagram lets us know if it’s worth the extra energy!
Ask the ranger! If you go to a regional or state park where you check in, ask the ranger what is a MUST SEE at their park. They know the ins and outs of it and are best suited to give you this info. I love our rangers. We have always gained so much insightful information from them!
Check the Weather
I know this might be a given, but check the weather before going! During the rainy season we like to explore waterfalls but I don’t want to be slipping through muddy trails while it is pouring down rain to get there. 🙂 If the trail has little shade, maybe not go when it is a 90 degree day? Our favorite weather app is Weather Underground (www.wunderground.com).
Where to Eat
The bosslady has a ton of food sensitivities which makes us either pack a picnic or research places to eat in the area. We love trying new local restaurants and find that is a good reward after a beautiful hike! Yelp is a great way to see where to go near your hiking destination.
Now go get out there and explore! We look forward to seeing you on the trails!
Are you a Pinterest-aholic too? Feel free to use the pin below!