January is generally considered the annual level-set month. It’s only natural for a new decade — one with a cool number, no less — to usher in big hopes, big plans and big promises.
There’s also a high probability that January 2020, like the last 10 Januarys before it, will see an uptick in gym attendance. It’s also likely that by mid-February 2020 (like the last 10), teetotaling will give way to happy hour and Meatless Mondays will give way to the Apple Pan (which is closed on Mondays, but you get the idea).
Because change is hard. Self-help gurus and motivational speakers often suggest that to ensure success, you need to reframe the healthy habit as something you “get to do,” not something you “have to do.” Another thing you could do, they say, is to look at exercise as play. But it takes a Pixar-quality imagination to see pumping iron as play. Hiking, on the other hand, means strolling through a field of poppies or meandering along a burbling stream at sunset. That sounds more like play, or something you get to do.
And playing outdoors is where California really shines. Just consider our State Park system, which comprises 280 natural wonders, and every one of them swathed with great hiking trails. Maybe consider buying an annual pass to serve as inspiration to get out there on a more regular basis. Below, we’ve compiled five of the hikes we’ve promised ourselves we’d do in 2020 — and you should, too.
We’ve been getting a ton of rain lately, which means it would be nice to sit by a waterfall, breathe in the fresh air and listen to the calming sounds of water pattering on rocks. To get to this spot, you’ll take the lower loop on the Satwiwa Loop Trail. The upper loop is a one-mile trail that goes up Boney Mountain; the lower loop is two miles and takes you to a waterfall.
Will Rogers State Park
Temescule Canyon is our go-to city hike, but it gets crowded. Meanwhile, Will Rogers is next door, and its higher parking fees make for more solitude — here’s where the annual pass is worth its weight in gold. For a good trail run, you could take the Inspiration Loop up to the bottom of the Backbone Trail, which will take you well into the Santa Monica Mountains, where you should stop unless you feel very ambitious. On a clear day, you can see the newly snow-capped San Gabriels and the Santa Susanas.
Santa Susana Pass State Park
It’s been four years since we did this hike, but the diversity of landscape is pretty great. You have sandstone peaks, good elevation, shaded valleys and expansive fields. The views into the Santa Monica Mountains are stunning.
Placerita Canyon State Park
Another one with a little bit of everything, Placerita Canyon is home to six trails, including some that offer shade along a creek where miners used to pan for gold. The waterfall hike appears to be closed right now, but the Los Pinetos Trail is a six-mile butt-buster up to the peak.
Antelope Poppy Reserve
If you haven’t been to a poppy bloom at the Antelope Poppy Reserve, know that it lives up to its Instagram-mania (March through April, but check first). Just be sure to go on an off-day during the week, if possible. You need to get there somewhat early to get parking, and the bloom occurs in the morning and lasts through mid-day, during which time the grassy hills pop with a brilliant orange hue.
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