Ring Mountain Preserve in Marin County California

 

Ring Mountain Preserve: Marin County California

Ring Mountain is a rad little hike in Corte Madera California which is located about 9 miles north of the Golden Gate bridge as you head away from San Francisco. There are plenty of great hikes in Marin County, but this is one of the best vantage points to get a view of San Francisco and the bay. This hike has more of a “neighborhood” hike type of vibe with very few tourists. There are a couple of interesting rock formations along the loop where you may spot some local rock climbers practicing their bouldering skills. 

 

View of San Francisco Bay from Ring Mountain

The Ring Mountain Preserve has 4 different trails with access points to the loop at the top, but parking is complicated. There are a few spots at the different trailheads, emphasis on “few”.  Neighborhoods in this area have a lot of restrictions for parking.  I recommend parking at Blackie’s Pasture and crossing Tiburon Blvd to access the preserve by walking up until the end of Reed Ranch Road.  There is room for about 5-6 cars at the top of Reed Ranch road, but these spots are often taken.

If you start as Blackie’s Pasture, follow Reed Ranch Road to the trailhead and do the loop at the top, the total distance of the trail would be about 5 miles roundtrip with 500 feet of elevation gain. This is a fairly easy hike, but I don’t really recommend it for families with small children under 8 years old because the initial hill through the neighborhood is a little steep and you’ll have to cross a busy intersection on Tiburon Blvd. There are also mountain bikers to contend with. This is definitely not a hike to push a stroller on. 

Ring Mountain Preserve Trail in Corte Madera

 

Be aware that Blackie’s Pasture may have parking restrictions in place due to Covid.

The Ring Mountain Preserve is dog friendly, but leashes are required.  The trail is fairly heavily trafficked by local hikers, pet owners, mountain bikers. It’s best to hike this one on a clear, sunny day. From the top, you get panoramic views of San Francisco Bay, Mount Tamalpais, San Francisco and Marin County. Bring plenty of water because the trail is exposed to the sun.

 

Trail stats

Distance 5 miles roundtrip from Blackie’s Pasture if you do the loop at the top

Elevation Gain: 500 Feet

Dog Friendly: Yes

Bike Friendly: Yes

Best months:  Year-round on a clear day

Not Suitable for very young children who can’t hike 5 miles with a steep hill

 

Location of Trailhead on Google Maps:

https://goo.gl/maps/Skc6vCW9wyMkYxMf6

 

 

Ring Mountain Loop in Tiburon

Also in the area:

While you’re in the Tiburon area, I highly recommend taking the Tiburon Ferry across to Angel Island for a bike ride. There is a bike rental location in Tiburon before you cross over to Angel Island, but it’s not cheap at $64/day not including the cost of the Ferry, so bring your own bike if you can.

If you’re looking for a good place to eat, I’d recommend skipping the lousy touristy restaurants in the area and grabbing a picnic lunch to go at The Woodland’s Market in Tiburon. They have fresh food made daily by a team of chefs. The roasted chicken is the best meal I ate anywhere on Marin County. The market also has an excellent selection of beer and baked goods. Grab a Pliney the Elder and the best box of chocolate chip cookies you will ever eat in your life.

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Arizona Hot Springs: Las Vegas Nevada

Arizona Hot Springs Hike near Las Vegas
Arizona Hot Springs is a moderate to strenuous 5 mile roundtrip hike located near the Hoover Dam. The trailhead is only about a 45 minute drive from the Las Vegas Strip. The Arizona Hot Springs hike is one of the best hikes in the Las Vegas area and has a great slot canyon, several hot springs which are great for soaking, a small waterfall, a 20 foot ladder, and ends at a beautiful section of the Colorado river. You can turn the Arizona Hot Springs hike into a loop by circling back on the White Oak Canyon trail. I have provided a map below for reference. Regardless of which direction you take, both trails end up at the Colorado River. 

Arizona Hot Springs Trail

There are some safety precautions you want to consider on this hike, so you’ll want to read on. I don’t want to dissuade you from doing this hike, but you want to be careful.

Warnings:

Do not attempt this hike is the temperature outside is 90 degrees or hotter

Bring a gallon of water person.

Don’t attempt this hike if it’s raining due to flash flood risks in the slot canyon

Don’t submerge your head in the hot springs

Don’t enter the hot springs if you have any open cuts

Don’t attempt to carry your pet down the 20-foot ladder

Bring suntan lotion

Arizona Hot Springs Map

This hike can get absolutely scorching in the summer and all the way through September. I would not even attempt it unless the temperature was below 80. This hike is often 10-20 degrees hotter than the temperature on the strip. The first section of the hike follows a dry river wash is completely exposed to the sun, so you’ll want to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. As with any slot canyon, you’ll want to avoid this hike in the very rare occasion that it rains.

The Hot Springs are amazing. There are several pools which are separated by sand bags. The first pool is so hot that most people can’t even sit in them. I would limit my soaking time to 15 minutes in the first pool. The hot springs can be breeding ground for bacteria and amoebas. Don’t get in the water if you have any open cuts and you should never submerge your head or nose under the water.

Dogs are allowed on the Arizona Hot Springs Hike, but the 20 foot ladder is impassable unless you choose to carry your dog and climb down at the same time. I strongly recommend not attempting this because the climb is difficult even without a pet because the ladder is narrow, wet and completely vertical. There have been numerous accidents in the past with pets.

 

A Big Horn Sheep on the Arizona Hot Springs Trail

 Trailhead Location for Google Maps:

https://goo.gl/maps/6PR1mHdLNXtS3kGF8

 

Arizona Hot Springs Hike Stats

Total Distance: 5 miles round-trip

Dogs: Leashed Dogs Are Allowed

Elevation Gain: About 800 feet

Best Months: October through May.

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Fletcher Canyon Trail: Las Vegas, Nevada

 

Fletcher Canyon Trail in Las Vegas Nevada

Fletcher Canyon is one of my favorite hikes in the Las Vegas area. It’s located less than 45 minutes from the Las Vegas strip. If I had to pick 5 of my favorite trail in Las Vegas, Fletcher Canyon would definitely make the list. The trail is well maintained and easy enough for families. There is only about 1,000 feet on elevation gain and it’s very gradual and hardly noticeable. I’ve read a few conflicting posts about the distance, but I would estimate the length of the trail to be 4 miles total roundtrip. The trail passes through a beautiful alpine forest and ends at one of the nest slot canyons in the Las Vegas area. This is a great hike to do in the summer when it’s too hot to do anything outside in Vegas. Don’t forget to bring a jacket on your hike. The weather on Mount Charleston is 30 degrees cooler than in Las Vegas and temperatures can plummet at night. 

 

Fletcher Canyon Trailhead

 

The Fletcher Canyon trail is best from about April-October. This area of Mount Charleston can get significant snow, making the trail a no-go in the winter, unless you have snowshoes. Dogs are allowed on the trail. The gravel can be rough on your dog’s feet, so consider purchasing a pair of protective shoes if your pooch has soft feet. Make sure to bring poop bags and a water bowl for your pet.

 Getting there:

The Fletcher Canyon trailhead is relatively simple to find and there is usually plenty of parking. Use this link for Google maps for the Fletcher Canyon Trailhead https://goo.gl/maps/3Te9CmTAR88uTVd29

There is also a nice little campground next to the Fletcher Canyon Trail called the Fletcher View Campground. The campground is super affordable with tent or RV spots with electric hookup and bathroom facilities for only $33/night. Pets are also allowed in the campground. In the winter, a lot of local residents drive up to this spot to go sledding.

 

Slot Canyon on the Fletcher Canyon Trail

Fletcher Canyon Stats

Total Distance: 4 miles round-trip

Dogs: Leashed Dogs Are Allowed

Elevation Gain: About 1,000 feet

Best Months: April- October

 

Fletcher Canyon: Mount Charleston Nevada

 

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