Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hiking. Show all posts

Friday, October 21, 2016

I Spy . . . New Hiking Trails!

I spy with my little eye a new place in Hollister with trails for hiking, horses, and bicycles. Whooo-hooo!

The place is called Mudstone Ranch, which is part of the Hollister Hills State Vehicle Recreation Area. Not to worry. This section of the park is dedicated to non motorized activities, meaning you won't come across any dirt bikes, ATVs, or other motorized vehicles.

Having opened this summer, Mudstone Ranch is located on Cienega Road, a couple miles north of the main entrance to the Hollister Hills SVRA. If you're traveling from the north on Cienega Road, you'll find Mudstone Ranch soon after seeing the Hollister Hills Barn.

Happy trails to you.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

From the Archives -- The Pinnacles

Today is another post from the Take 25 to Hollister archives. It's the first one I wrote about the Pinnacles before it became the Pinnacles National Park.  FYI: The post is slightly edited for today.

Pinnacles National Monument
(originally published September 17, 2008)
My mom loves to visit the Pinnacles. It reminds her of the Philippines. I don’t know if it’s the starkness of the mountains, the smell of the air, the feel of the breeze, or the way the sun warms your body as you trample along the trails. She’s never said. I just know that besides her gardens, the Pinnacles National Monument provides her with a sense of calm.

The Pinnacles is about 30 miles south of Hollister. It generally takes us (the Husband and I) about 45 minutes, but that’s because we are old farts who like to rubberneck the scenery. Not to worry. The traffic is sparse, but you do need to pay attention to curves the nearer you get to the park. You head south out of town on Highway 25. Depending on the time of day, we may stop at Flapjack's Country Café in Tres Pinos for breakfast. That’ll be a story for another day.

According to the scientists, the Pinnacles is actually part of the Neenach Volcano that erupted waaaaay down south near Lancaster, California. The volcano was split by, yes, the San Andreas Fault. Over 23 million years, more or less, the Pinnacles was slowwwwwwwwly carried northwesterly to where it stands today. At the same time that it was inching up, wind and water carved out the spires and crags that someone in modern-day history decided to call the Pinnacles. Then President Theodore Roosevelt came along and established it as a national monument.

This year, the U.S. National Park Service celebrated the monument’s 100th anniversary. Since 1908, it has grown from 5,000 acres to approximately 26,000 acres. (Thank you ranchers and rancher descendents.) The park service is currently developing a general management plan for the next 15 to 20 years. Public input is appreciated.

You can do a lot of things at the Pinnacles. Depending on the time of year, you can scramble through talus caves, which are home to Townsend’s big-eared bats. But you can't go through 'em if the bats are there. You can bring your ropes and things and climb on the spires themselves. And of course you can hike easy paths and not-so-easy ones, which may make your hands sweat at certain HIGH points. If you’re lucky, you can see a California Condor or two circling above you. You can also hang out at a picnic table and enjoy the day, while the rest of your party are getting sweaty and tired.

There are actually two entrances to the Pinnacles National Monument. The west gate is off Highway 101, near Soledad. You can’t drive west to east through the park. But you can easily hike through it. Camping is on the Hollister side only.

Hmm, I think it's time to take out the hiking shoes.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Sunday at the Pinnacles National Park

We are so fortunate to have a national park in our backyard. The Husband and I met up with friends last Sunday at the Pinnacles National Park. The east side, of course. By 10 a.m., the parking lot at the Bear Gulch Nature Center was full, so we took the free shuttle from the Visitor's Center. Too bad, there isn't a shuttle or a bus from Hollister. It would be a great way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery to and from the park.

Here are a few photos of Pinnacles National Park from our hike. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

G is for . . .


The eastern gateway to the Pinnacles National Park, that is. It's a not-to-well-known park (yet) about 30 miles south of Hollister. Formerly the Pinnacles National Monument, which was established in 1908, it was redesignated a national park in January 2013.

Once upon a time, millions of years ago, the park was part of a volcano that once stood in present-day Lancaster in Southern California. The beautiful, towering rock formations in the Pinnacles National Park are what it was named after. Those who hike the High Peaks Trail find themselves weaving among some of those majestic spires.

The park has various easy to strenuous trails for hikers. Visitors also have the opportunity to hike through talus caves when they are open. Rangers close the caves when the bats that live there are roosting. One cave houses a colony of Townsend's Big-eared Bats, while the other is home to a colony of Western Mastiff Bats.

Want a chance to see a California Condor flying free in the sky? Head for this park. It's the only one in the National Park Service that participates in the California Condor Recovery Program.  More than 30 condors, which were born and raised in zoos, have been released into the wilds of the Pinnacles over the last decade.

There are two gateways to the park. No road connects the two. The eastern entrance is via Hollister, while the western entrance is via Soledad. Each side is gorgeous. I'm partial, of course, and like to go through the eastern gateway.

For more information about the Pinnacles National Park, visit its website.

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The West Side of the Anza Trail

Last week, the Husband and I went up the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail via the Salinas entrance. I read that the west entrance is a few hundred feet higher than the east entrance. That may be why the hike up to the summit is easier. It's also nearer—about 1.5 miles from the gate, as opposed to about 2.5 miles from the San Juan gate.

Looking east towards San Benito County from the summit.

Looking west towards Monterey Bay from the summit.

There is quite a difference in terrain between the two sides. On the east side, you steadily traverse upward on the trail. At one point, it seems like you could walk right into the sky. On the west side, the climb is gradual. Your attention is diverted by the meadow along the start of the trail, then the rounded hills on the north, and the now and then pass through overhanging oak branches.

How to Get to the West Entrance
Via San Juan Grade Road: At the intersection of San Juan Grade Road and Crazy Horse Canyon Road, turn left. At the end of the road, turn left. You're on Stage Coach Road. Drive a few miles to the end of that road.

Via South on Highway 101: Take the Crazy Horse Canyon/Echo Valley Road exit. Go to the left for Crazy Horse Canyon Road, and continue for several minutes until the road dead ends at Stage Coach Road. Turn left and drive to the end of the road.

The west entrance of the Anza Trail

Monday, March 30, 2015

Wildflowers on the Anza Trail

Yesterday, the Husband and I walked a bit of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail (pshew, that's a mouthful) in San Juan Bautista.  Butterflies and grasshoppers escorted us throughout the walk, bees serenaded us, and wildflowers greeted us as well. The flowers showed up in all sorts of places along the trail.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Mooooooo-ving View

"Moooove along," said this cow on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. "There's nothing to see here."

I took the photo anyway. Ha!

Come check out other black and white photos from bloggers around the world. Click here to go to The Weekend in Black and White.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cows and Horses

On Sunday, the Husband and I hiked up to the one-mile post on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. Eventually, we'll get strong enough again to reach the bench at the crest of the mountain, which is about another two miles. It was a great hike. The cows and horses were out that day. The cows looked to be enjoying the view as much as us.

Today is Our World Tuesday. That's where I'm hanging out, checking out posts by bloggers from around the world. Come join me by clicking here.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Heading Up to the Clouds

Yesterday was a gorgeous day to hike the Anza Trail, a mile or so south of the City of San Juan Bautista. The trail, formally known as the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail, is 1,200 miles long, stretching from Nogales, Arizona to the Carquinez Straits in Contra Costa, California.

The local segment of the trail used to be the Old Stage Road, on which once upon a time stage coaches ran between San Juan Bautista and Salinas. The first mile of the 4.5 trail is a rather steep climb that I wonder how often passengers had to get off the coach and walk.

Today, I'm hanging out at The Weekend in Black and White. Click here to see other black and white photos by bloggers around the world.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Hollister Hills Walk

The Husband and I finally checked out the nature area of the Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area. It's one of two places in the park where you can hike or ride mountain bikes without running into dirt bikes, all-terrain vehicles, and other off-road vehicles on the trail.

The nature area is a beautiful place. As we walked on the first bridge over Bird Creek, we thought how even more gorgeous the area must look in the Spring after a rain. A few feet from the bridge, we were greeted by quails, which rushed terrified into the bushes by us, humans.

The trails aren't marked so we guessed where we were from the map.  Reminder for next time: The area is not as big as it looks on the map. I say that because we came to the end of the trail, which had merged into a dirt road, sooner than we expected. But, then, the Husband thinks that was not the end of the trail shown on the map. Confused? Yeah, us, too.

We came upon a sign that stated
This Property is Owned 
by The University of Calif. Berkley 
Seismographic Stations
Sensitive Experiment in Progress
No Trespassing Please! 

Being law-abiding citizens, the Husband and I turned back.  I discovered later that the San Andreas Fault runs through the park. The Husband found out that we had not completely reached the farthest edge of the nature area.

As we were backtracking, we took what looked like a trail going up the hillside. A bit of zig and zag brought us up to another jeep road and to a sign that pointed us to locations that we thought we'd already been. Ha!

All in all, we enjoyed our meandering about in the Hollister Hills SRVA nature area. It just made me wish again there were more accessible hiking trails in Cienega Valley and other parts of San Benito County.

Thursday, January 9, 2014


I took this photo from the bench on the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. A beautiful landscape, but so very dry. Rain, please!

In January 2012 I wrote a post about the lack of rain we were having.  I can't recall last year at all. Maybe this dry season is a fluke. Maybe we're actually in a drought and the powers that be just don't want to tell us yet. Either way, it's time, if you haven't already, to start conservation practices. For water conservation tips, check out the Water Resources Association of San Benito County website.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Point Lobos

The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is another gem on the Pacific Coast that is near Hollister. It's only 48 miles away, just to the south of Carmel-by-the Sea off of Highway One. I suggest you turn off all your electronics when you visit the reserve so you can truly have a relaxing experience. Everything is magical, from watching the ocean waves to viewing the wildlife to seeing the different shapes of trees and rocks.

Point Lobos is the general name for the natural reserve and two adjoining marine protected areas. It's short for Punta de los Lobos Mariños, or the Point of the Sea Wolves. The sea wolves refer to the rocks off this point. Hmmm.

For more info about the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, check out these links:

The theme for this week, March 4 to March 10, on Take 25 to Hollister is the Pacific Coast

Sunday, April 22, 2012


This is another view from the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. If you can repeat that several times as you climb up the trail, without breathing too awful hard, you're in pretty good shape, I say.

I also say that every day is Earth Day.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

View from Old Stagecoach Road

Looking down the trail on the San Juan Bautista side. As you can tell it was
a beautiful day. Late afternoon. Few hikers. One bicyclist heading down.
Three equestrians heading up.

Taking Old Stagecoach Road was one of the ways that people could get between San Juan Bautista and Salinas. Today, the three mile stretch from San Juan Bautista to the Salinas side is now known as the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.

It's a wonderful hike. A bit (okay a lot) strenuous if you aren't used to walking steadily uphill for more than a mile. It's about another mile to the crest, although that climb isn't so harsh. Now, if you're in awesome shape, the hike up and down is nothing. Me, ouch, my aching knees on the way down. All worth it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

100 Things I Like: Fremont Peak State Park

This was taken in January 2011 from Fremont Peak State Park.
I'm looking towards the northwest.
That light stretch of blue beneath
the Santa Cruz mountains is Monterey Bay. For a look-see of the
southeast, click here.

From Fremont Peak, the Pacific Ocean looks like it's not so far away. Ha! Fremont Peak stands over 3,100 feet tall, one of the tallest mountains in San Benito County. It's so worth a drive up to this small state park, which is near San Juan Bautista. The hike up to the highest point is only half a mile from the parking lot. There are a few other trails to explore as well.

Before heading up, check out the Fremont Peak State Park web page to be sure it's open. California has been closing some of its parks due to lack of funds.

For more 100 Things I Like About Living in Hollister, click on that link.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

100 Things I Like: The Pinnacles National Monument

East side, west side. I like both sides of the Pinnacles National Monument. How can you not? You know it was once part of a volcano located in Southern California. Seriously.

This Saturday, entry into this national monument will be free, because it's National Public Lands Day. As part of the day's activities, the rangers will be releasing two California Condors. For more info, head over to here, the Pinnacles National Monument Web site.

For more 100 Things I Like About Living in Hollister, click on that link.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Fremont Peak State Park

This week, I shall be taking you over to San Juan Bautista, which is just a short hop from Highway 25, heading west on Highway 156. 

That high peak is in Fremont Peak State Park. The peak, also known as Gavilan Peak, is over 3,100 feet high. From up there, you can see the San Benito Valley, the Salinas Valley, and Monterey Bay. On a very, very clear day, you might see the Sierra Nevadas.

The park offers hiking, picnicking, and camping fun. It's also a great place to see the stars. The Fremont Peak Observatory Association gives evening and solar programs to the public throughout the year. For more about them, check out this link.

For more info about Fremont Peak State Park, click here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

This week, I shall be taking you over to San Juan Bautista, which is just a short hop from Highway 25, heading west on Highway 156. 

A three-mile segment of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail is a hiking trail in San Juan Bautista. The trail runs along the Old Stage Road, which is near the intersection of San Juan Canyon Road and San Juan Grade Road.

This national historic trail was the first overland trail from New Spain to San Francisco. It was named after Juan Bautista de Anza, of Spain, who led about 300 people—soldiers and their families—over 2,700 miles from Tubac, Sonora (now known as Nogales, Arizona) to San Francisco, California. Anza is also credited for choosing the sites for the Presidio of San Francisco  and Mission Dolores. The expedition started in October, 1775 and completed its journey in June, 1776.

For more information about this national historic trail, check out these Web sites:



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