If you had told me a year ago that this girly girl who loves pink, hates being dirty and loves a good Sunday fun-day brunch with the girls would instead be hiking every Sunday, climbing over rocks, getting totally dirty and having the best time ever I would have never believed you! But that’s exactly what happened!
Being Bay Area born and raised, I felt like I had seen so much here. But man was I wrong.
The 52 Hike Challenge opened my eyes to a whole new world in the Bay Area!
And discovering so many gorgeous places so close to home has actually made me find a new respect and love for my area.
I am so grateful to have such beauty just a quick car ride away. Not to mention the fact that our weather allows us to hike most weeks out of the year. I have always been a beach girl but there is just something about the redwoods that is completely magical. And being in the Bay Area it is just such a blessing to not have to choose between them!
To pick a favorite hike from 2019’s 52 Hike Challenge would be a whole other challenge in itself. So I narrowed it down to my top 3 for you all!
Top 3 California Bay Area Hikes
#1. Castle Rock State Park
Castle Rock Trail to Saratoga Gap Trail and Ridge Trail Loop
This was absolutely unreal. I went with my younger brother and I swear we felt like kids again. Within about 5 minutes the trail you are on feels like you have stepped into a movie. We went early that morning and it was really foggy, dark and even cold in August. We had heard the views are incredible but due to the fog we couldn’t quite see all the way to the ocean.
This 5.5 mile loop trail was so fun! You would be going along and suddenly have no more trail only huge rock, which only meant one thing, you had to climb them. We climbed so many rocks and maneuvered through the forest like we were playing, talk about finding joy and your inner child!
This hike was challenging because it’s a bit technical at times. I wouldn’t attempt it if you are a total newbie. They do however have a really pretty loop that people rave about, so maybe give that a try first and work up to this one.
*Pro tip - Grab a map, It is a little confusing and no phone service. This was the only hike I actually got a little turned around on at one point. It was an easy fix but we were really happy we had the map.
#2. Point Lobos State Natural Park
This one is STUNNING!!! It combines all the things I love in one. It is right on the ocean, but yet in a forest, it’s the best of both worlds.
There are a few very tiny climbs but really any hiker could do this one. It is a really clear path and has a lot of stairs. This is only about a 5-mile hike but you want to allow plenty of time still because there are so many absolutely unreal stops along the way.
One of the beaches has the most beautiful green-blue ocean, you feel like you have left the Bay and are now in Hawaii! There is a super fun spot with tons of tidepools, a bunch of sea lions and tons of birds and flowers. It’s a nature photography lover’s dream!
*Pro tip - Get there early. The park opens at 8 am and there is a line starting at 7:30. Parking fills up really fast and it gets busy. I don’t know about you but I feel like places are way more magical with less people and traffic, so I like to beat that rush.
#3. The Forest of Nisene Marks State Park
This is the place I did my 52nd hike at. But I also did a fun little easy hike with my family here on Mother’s Day. So you really can do any level here.
The hike we did was really fun. It was also really, really technical for a girly girl like me. We were scaling rocks, crossing a creek back and forth, scrambling (I learned this term because of this hike) crossing over logs, and getting a bit dirtier than I am usually comfortable with. ;)
But the pay off at the end was a beautiful waterfall and totally Zen little oasis to relax at. We took the long way back that involved a few good climbs and made our total mileage about 8 miles total.
*Pro tip - There are few bathrooms here, and the ones that are here look like crime scenes. You may have to become one with nature, plan ahead.
I hope all you Bay Area peeps get out there and try these hikes! And for those of you visiting California also! When I am not hiking I am a Hairstylist, Whole 30 coach, and Healthy lifestyle blogger. And by the way, I still do love a good Sunday fun-day brunch, but now I do that after I am done hiking!
To read more about me as well as the locations of all my 52 hikes please visit my website @ http://www.mindbodysoulandsparkles.com/where-i-hiked-for-the-52-hike-challange-2019/
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