When the mercury rises, it’s time to hit the shady trails. Or of course you could just stay inside with the A/C running and play World of Witchcraft or whatever it’s called on your gaming console or personal computer. But let’s just assume you’re the type of man who can’t resist
when nature calls the call of the wild; the kind of man for whom a hot summer day simply means carrying more water as you head out to bag a summit or log some miles overland.
For while summertime might mean hot weather, it also means longer days ripe with opportunity for the hiker. And these great summertime hikes each come with a little fringe benefit, too: a little something to help cool you down.
HIKING AROUND LAKE TAHOE
Lake Tahoe is a great destination all year round: there’s great skiing in the winter, gambling just across the NV border, and when it’s warmer out, the mountains just beg for you to strap on some hiking boots and hit the trails. But not literally, of course; mountains cannot talk. Of the many hikes at your disposal in this area, the trek up Mount Tallac is the most challenging and the most rewarding. It’s the tallest peak ringing the lake, and a quad burning trek even for the fit, experienced hiker. But the splendor of the wilderness makes it more than worth the effort. The standard loop from the trailhead near the southern tip of Lake Tahoe is just under 1o miles and sees about 3,500 feet of elevation gain, and a Mt. Tallac hike will see you reach a lofty altitude of 9,735 feet. Start the hike early, and you’ll be back down by the mid afternoon. You’ll be sweaty, hot, and tired, so why not cool off by jumping into the cool, deep waters of Lake Tahoe?
THE TRAILS OF KILLINGTON, VT
It’s not exactly revelatory to say that ski mountains great hiking mountains during the warmer months. They have lots of cleared land, they offer a range of amenities, and of course they are in fact mountains, and mountains are good. Killington Mountain, in central Vermont, offers superlative hiking with multiple loops measuring about two miles on average. You can trek from the base of the mountain up to its 4,241 foot summit or you can get an assist from one of the many chairlifts operating all year round. And of course once you reach the summit, there’s the Peak Lodge to greet you. Sample a range of local brews as you cool down and take in the view.
A WATERFALL IN MALIBU
The hike to Escondido Falls is not exactly a well-guarded secret to those who know a thing or two about outdoor life in Southern California. In fact, it’s quite a popular destination, so take a pass on this hike if you prefer to experience nature in solitude and silence. If, however, the idea of a hike that involves everything from flat, graded trails to brief ropes course style climbing to the opportunity for light bouldering to the chance to splash in crystal clear cool waters fed by a beautiful straight drop waterfall sounds good, then hey, here’s a hike for you! The trek to Escondido Falls lasts just under four miles round trip, so the fit hiker can log this trail in the morning and still meet his or her friends for lunch all the way across town in Echo Park. (Or Glendale, the fastest developing, wildly under-appreciated town I lived in and loved for 11 years. No, I’m not biased.) While the first park of the trek involves trudging from a parking area up paved roads, soon you’ll plunge into nature, winding past streams, up and down steep hills, under and over lush foliage, and finally to the cool natural pool dominated by a towering, two-tier waterfall with a drop of 150 feet at its upper section. Take a dip and cool off. And take a bunch of pictures, too, of course.