Fall 2012: Our Favorite Fall Hikes in California State Parks
Cooling temperatures make fall a great time to check out a new trail. Be sure to check the weather forecasts and park conditions before you head out on your way!
China Camp State Park (Marin County) has many trails including a short 3/4 mile gently rolling loop walk called the Turtle Back Nature Trail that is open only to foot traffic. The trail skirts the edge of an old island on the shore of San Pablo Bay. Today, pickleweed marsh has replaced open waters and the trail gives a close-up view of the salt marshes that harbor such endangered species as the Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse and the Clapper Rail, while the upland side of the trail reveals oaks, bays and grassland communities. For more information, call the park at (415) 456-0766.
Asilomar Natural Dune Preserve Boardwalk (Monterey County), across from Asilomar State Beach is a 1/4 mile boardwalk meandering through the 25-acres of restored sand dune ecosystem. More than 450,000 plants, representing 25 species, have been grown and planted in the dunes and coastal bluffs. A self-guided Living Dunes tour brochure on various aspects of the dunes is available at the park. The park phone number is (831) 646-6442.
Torrey Pines State Nature Reserve (San Diego County) has over six miles of trails, many with scenic views overlooking the beach. From Freeway 5, take the Carmel Valley Road exit and proceed west on Carmel Valley Road, turn left on Highway 101. The Guy Fleming Trail is a short, relatively easy hike that runs through Torrey Pine trees and associated chaparral. From the trail, hikers can enjoy spectacular sunsets in the evening. For more information call the park at (858) 755-2063.