Viewing entries tagged
Trail

8 Comments

Go Outside: 5 Places to Take a Walk in Sacramento, California

We all know that exercise is important. Yet, as a nation we've become pretty darn unhealthy. Just take a look at the number of us who have already ditched our health-related New Year's resolutions! I have the hardest time sticking to my goals because I often try to do too much right out of the gate.Enter: walking.

It's a simple activity that doesn't require much gear and, as studies have shown, walking has numerous physical and psychological benefits. While I don't always get in as much exercise as I'd like, I often trick myself into working out by exploring different places throughout the greater Sacramento region. Hey... whatever works, right?

Here are a few of my favorite places to get my walk on in the Sacramento area:

1.) Effie Yeaw Nature Center - Ancil Hoffman Park {map it}

attachment-5188fba6e4b0921527f9819f

The Effie Yeaw Nature Center has been a fantastic place to explore and learn about the natural environment for decades. The 77-arce preserve located in Ancil Hoffman Park consists of interpretive trails, a nature center with educational activities and more. I love walking the trails (pictured), but I also remember taking school field trips to the center when I was young. It's a fun place for people of all ages.

2.) American River Trail {map it}

attachment-5188fba6e4b0921527f98199

While this trail is often referred to as a bike trail, it is full of walkers, joggers and long-distance runners. My favorite access point is William B. Pond Park (pictured). In all, there are over 50 access points along the 30 or so miles of trail stretching from Sacramento to Folsom. The Sacramento Bee published a great interactive map of the trail a few years ago. You can also download a map of the trail right here (pdf).

3.) UC Davis Arboretum {map it}

attachment-5188fba6e4b0921527f981a2

I know, it's not actually in Sacramento, but the UC Davis Arboretum is an old favorite and is only a short drive away. My husband and I lived in Davis during college and used to take walks there all the time. The arboretum offers nature lovers beautiful gardens to stroll through, ducks to watch and some very fearless squirrels to fend off. The best part? It's open year-round and it doesn't cost a dime!

4.) Capitol Park {map it}

attachment-5188fba6e4b0921527f9819c

As California's capital city, Sacramento has a lot going for it. I love walking around Downtown and Midtown Sacramento (as you'll see below), but when I need a little nature fix in the midst of highrise buildings and bustling streets, I duck into Capitol Park. The park surrounds our stunning State Capitol Building and is meticulously maintained. Also on the grounds, you'll find numerous monuments and memorials and a beautiful rose garden, which is where my husband and I got engaged!

5.) Sacramento's Central City {map it}

attachment-5188fba6e4b0921527f981a8
attachment-5188fba6e4b0921527f981a5

Shops, restaurants, fantastic displays of architecture and public art... who wouldn't want to take a walk in a place with all of that? Look no further than Sacramento's Central City, my friends. The area includes Old Sacramento, Downtown and Midtown (pictured) and is one of the more interesting places to walk in the region. There's so much to see and do! All of you nature lovers out there will also be happy to hear that Sacramento recently garnered attention as one of the "10 best U.S. cities for urban forests." There's nothing better than the shade of a lovely tree canopy on a 100° day. Am I right?

Your turn! Where is your favorite place to walk in your city or town?

8 Comments

5 Comments

Featured: Remembering Summer in Castle Crags State Park

I'm happy to report that I'm back in action over on the California State Parks Foundation blog today with a guest post about one of my favorite hikes from last summer. After weeks of frosty mornings here in the Sacramento Valley, pictures of bright blue skies and memories of the hot morning sun on our faces are really making my day.

Here's a little snippet:

Northern California winters tend to come on quickly and bring winds, rain and yes – snow – to the region. When the days are damp and dreary, I like to look back and remind myself of fun, warm weather hikes.

For example, this past summer my husband and I decided to hike the Crags Trail at Castle Crags State Park. We visit the area every summer and it had been a few years since we had tackled the challenging trail.

attachment-5188fba6e4b0921527f98112

Check out the full post here: Remembering Summer in Castle Crags State Park

Many thanks to the folks at the California State Parks Foundation for allowing me to share some of my favorite park memories!

5 Comments

5 Comments

A Day Date with Myself to the Marin Headlands

I absolutely love exploring places with other people. More often than not, I'll convince my husband or call upon friends to come with me when I get the urge to just go and see and do.Not long ago, however, I discovered the complete joy of exploring places alone. As in, by myself. With no one else. Just me, myself and I. It's lovely.

That's not to say I'll ever stop exploring and traveling with others. I love that too much. Yet, I find myself drawn to the convenience of the occasional solo journey, where I can move at my own pace, have little need for compromise and can listen to whatever music I choose on the way there (and back).

Several weeks ago, I ventured out on a solo date -- a day date with myself, if you will -- to the Marin Headlands located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area just north of San Francisco.

This was the same trip during which I was able to spend time admiring the Golden Gate Bridge and the day was filled with all of the things I wanted to experience.

I started at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center, which I highly recommend if you've never been to the park before:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f02

The helpful docents told me about a few short trails and I opted for the Rodeo Lagoon Trail, which starts at the parking lot and ends at the ocean. It's a fairly easy trail and since I had my sights set on the Point Bonita Lighthouse (which I'll get to shortly) and the Golden Gate Bridge, it sounded like the perfect way to start the day.

The trail takes you through wetland areas and under fantastic tree canopies like this:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f05

There is also a giant tree along the trail that creaks and cracks in the breeze:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f08

Once you're out from under the trees, you'll start getting a glimpse of the trails' namesake lagoon and Fort Cronkhite beyond.

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f11
attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f0b

Then you'll catch a breathtaking (at least to me) view of Rodeo Beach:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f0e

I sat for a bit at the edge of the lagoon:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f14

Again, lovely. I took in the sites:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f17
attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f1a

Perfect. And decided to explore the beach a bit:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f23
attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f28
attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f20

The beach was blustery at best, but the sights and sounds were just what I needed.

I knew that I wanted to have plenty of time to explore the lighthouse and the bridge, so I headed back along the trail to the parking lot. Once in the car, the trail head for Point Bonita Lighthouse was a short drive up the hill. If I'm not mistaken, you can hike from Rodeo Beach to Point Bonita Lighthouse, but that wasn't in the cards during this visit.

When I reached the trail head, my first thought was, "what lighthouse?"

The tricky headlands have her hidden from view:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f1d

You'll head down the short, steep trail and end up at the entrance to a tunnel:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f2b

The tunnel is open only part of the day, so be sure to check the schedule at the visitor center before you head toward the lighthouse.

Once you exit the tunnel, you'll walk a skinny path that hugs a cliff. After a few bends and curves, the small lighthouse will come into view:

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f37

While it's not a grand structure, Point Bonita Lighthouse is the only known lighthouse reachable just by suspension bridge. We all know how much I love a cool bridge, so naturally, I was impressed.

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f34
attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f31

Because of where the lighthouse is situated, it offers great views from the platform toward the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. Can you imagine being a docent? Talk about a corner office!

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f3a

Back on solid ground (yes, my friends, the bridge sways in the breeze wind), you can catch a glimpse of just how amazing this structure really is. It's perched on the very last bit of land and has been in that spot since 1877.

attachment-5188fba3e4b0921527f97f3d

Amazing.

As I mentioned, I wrapped up my perfect little solo excursion with a healthy dose of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can read more about that here.

Anyone else enjoy the occasional solo adventure? What do you find rewarding about traveling, exploring or sight seeing alone?

Link up in the comment section if you'd care to share!

----------------

Happy Tuesday, all!

5 Comments