Chiquito Falls, named after former ranger Kenneth Munhall’s horse, was an ideal opportunity to see a seasonal waterfall, however in recent years the falls have all but dried up. Now what remains is the opportunity to rock climb and see plenty of Great Basin Fence Lizards along the way. Despite the water shortage, the 9-mile out and back hike to Chiquito Falls is still worth exploring for its beautiful scenery and grueling workout.
The Griffith Park Zoo was originally opened in 1912, amusingly built on the former location of Griffith J. Griffith’s old ostrich farm. It was opened with 15 animals, and due to lack of funding; it opened without any cages, simply stockades to keep the animals in, which were inadequate for several of the species, kept on site.
Stories claim that the history of the zoo was rocky, and it was always struggling. For example, in 1916, the zoo was apparently leaking sewage into the L.A. River, and later during World War I, a meat shortage made it hard to properly care for the animals, forcing the zoo to substitute horse meat for beef, leading to the deaths of many of the meat eating animals, particularly the big cats. Luckily the zoo was free which kept visitors coming.
Nestled in the center of busy streets, multi-million dollar homes and shopping malls is a small body of water that is teaming with life: the Newport Back Bay. The reserve encompasses the inland delta that connects the Upper Newport Bay and Newport Harbor.
Malibu Creek State Park is a sprawling, magical landscape; complete with massive jagged mountains, cliffs, and vast gorges that were formed over two million years ago.
Just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the park has over 4,000 acres, featuring hiking, fishing, bird watching and horseback riding opportunities. There are 15 miles of stream side trail through oak and sycamore woodlands and chaparral-covered slopes.
Hiking is one of the few activities where there is no shortage. There are countless mountains to conquer, waterfalls to see and views to take in.
Nature offers something that being indoors simply can’t. It is motivating to walk among the trees and tramp along the trails, focusing on nothing more than the path ahead. You notice the shape of broken tree branches, how a blade of grass reacts to the wind flowing through it, and how clouds form into shapes and images.
A scenic road winding through mountains, pine forests and pastoral valleys, connecting South County and Lake Elsinore, is a crucial link for commuters, and a weekend thrill ride for motorcyclists, and also a dumping ground used by criminals who wait for the cover of night. It is the stuff of mystery novels, a place where people with secrets push them over steep cliffs or bury them under a thick layer of brush.
The 44-mile Ortega Highway is a twisting two-lane stretch that connects Riverside and Orange counties via the Cleveland National Forest — and it has a killer reputation.
Orange County may not be known for its hiking, mountain biking and other outdoor adventures, but the free-spirited outdoorsman/woman knows much better. I’ve been exploring Orange County for two years and have never found myself unsatisfied by all of its opportunities.