The Modern Female Hiker provides top hikes around the world from a New England based hiker joining a growing outdoor community. The blog provides trip reports from a female perspective to help you plan your weekend getaway, road less traveled vacation, or spur of the moment trip.
Trail Distance: 2-3 miles Elevation Gain: ~500 ft. Terrain Rating: Easy Hike Time: 1-2 hours Dog Friendly: Yes Recommended Seasons: All
Portugese Bend Reserve is a great neighborhood park in Los Angeles to break a sweat without driving too far. An easy and relaxed hike, it’s a great way to start your weekend.
Trailhead:Crenshaw Blvd in Palos Verdes. Parking fills up EARLY on weekends.
I really like coming to Portugese Bend Reserve for a relaxing morning with my pup. PV is a lot quieter than Santa Monica, which makes for a welcome change of pace. The best part about Portugese Bend Reserve is that you can choose a bunch of different trails to adjust your hike length. I would definitely recommend this hike for LA locals looking to explore new trails.
On this Sunday morning, we decided to start at Burma Road Trail and hook around down towards Eagle’s Nest Trail. The trail is not maintained past this point so you might brush into some branches, but I didn’t find it very annoying. We went all the way down to Garden Trail and then looped back around towards the West of Crenshaw Blvd. It took around 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace!
Trail Distance: ~4 miles Elevation Gain: ~1,000 ft. Terrain Rating: Medium, loose rock and dust Hike Time: 2 hours Dog Friendly: Yes Recommended Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
The Wisdom Tree and Hollywood Sign is a classic hike in LA. Although it is relatively short, the elevation change and terrain make for a rugged urban hike.
Trailhead: West side of Griffith park here. There is plenty of parking, although it fills up on the weekends.
The Wisdom Tree & Hollywood Sign hike is a great way to spend a weekend morning before brunch. There is no shade, so be sure to pack plenty of water and try to start early in the morning if you can. I’ve seen many tourists come here with no water and thick jeans.
The trail starts off with pretty steep elevation and a great view of the surrounding area. We were lucky to see some wildflowers still in bloom. The trail is a bit overgrown and narrow, so wearing proper hiking/workout clothes are recommended. About 30 minutes in, we hit the top of the trail and turned left to the Wisdom Tree. See signs for Burbank Peak (150 ft). There were a TON of people there but it still made for great views. Another plus is that they had doggie bowls filled with water for thirsty pups!
The wisdom tree is pretty crowded :)
After taking a few photos, we turned back around and instead of going back down, continued straight to the back of the Hollywood sign. See signs for Mt. Lee Summit (0.8 miles). The trail here has some good elevation change, descending first before ascending back up. There is a bit of shade but it is still exposed. This leg took us about another 40 minutes or so.
Overall I would definitely recommend this hike for LA locals and visitors alike. I personally like this one a little bit more than some of the Santa Monica Mountains hikes, but only marginally!
We recently traveled to beautiful Cuixmala, Mexico for an eco-friendly honeymoon. We can’t recommend it enough for its natural beauty, quiet escape and unparalleled hospitality.
About the Resort
Cuixmala is located about 3 hours south of Puerto Vallarta. Located along the Pacific Coast in the state of Jalisco, there are numerous opportunities for outdoor adventure and relaxation on the beach. The resort itself is split into two main areas, by the main house and by the villas (further away from the ocean). We opted to stay closer to the villas as it was more economical. The resort has two main restaurants servicing each area. We were one of the only couples there when we visited so many times we got to special request meals :)
The resort has a lot of on-property activities, including horseback riding, turtle hatching, zebra watching, biking, swimming, and yoga! More below.
What to Do
On-property There are so many fun things to do on property. Mornings are best spent doing yoga or going to watch the zebras. You can take a hike from the villas all the way down to the zebras, or take a road bike. It gets really hot in the afternoon so we tried to get up early.
In the afternoon, we liked to hang out by the pool and eat a looot of chips and guac. Once it gets closer to sunset, it’s the perfect time to go horseback riding to the beach where you can help hatch baby turtles (!!).
Organized by Cuixmala There are two private beaches that you can arrange with Cuixmala. One is less intimate because they allow other guests there. You can go fishing, stand up paddleboarding, and of course have a gourmet lunch.
The other private beach option is completely private - we were the only ones there! They packed a cute lunch for us of sandwiches and coconut water. They even have a big beach swing to relax on.
Off-property Not so far away is a cute town called Barra de Navidad. I didn’t realize until we arrived, but many Bachelor in Paradise dates take place here. The town has some nice restaurants, especially offering some variety if you are sick of Mexican food. You can also surf on tiny waves here or otherwise just walk around. It was a good day trip to explore a bit of Mexico.
Kanab is one of my favorite towns to base a hiking trip out of. It’s close to Zion National Park, Bryce National Park, and many other underrated areas. If you’re lucky in the winter, snow will dust the orange rock and make for spectacular views!
First on your list should be Coral Sand Dunes State Park. In the summer, it tends to be overrun with ATVs and other visitors. But in the winter, this place is heaven. When we went on a December night for sunset, we only saw 2 other groups there.
There are no trails here - simply find a spot in the sand and head up there. As a reminder, the best time to go is at sunset! Coral Sand Dunes is dog friendly so you can bring your pup along. Just make sure he/she is under control and remember to pick up any poop/trash. We had so much fun running up and down the sand dunes.
Kodachrome State Park
Kodachrome State Park is another dog friendly spot near Kanab. The rock formations are crazy here and look like they have a filter or ombre on them. It’s really unique to other places I have seen before and I can’t believe it isn’t more popular!
The park itself isn’t very large so you can allocate 3-4 hours here. I would recommend hiking both the Panorama Trail which is anywhere from 3-6 miles and the Angel’s Palace Trail (1.5 miles) which gives a great panoramic view of the surrounding hoodoos.
Bryce Canyon National Park
Bryce Canyon is an amazing park, mostly for its incredible hoodoos. I visited a few summers ago (see my summer trip report for Bryce Canyon here). I was really excited to visit in the winter because I had seen photos of how beautiful the park is when there is snow. Luckily the Rim Trail is dog-friendly! It is a paved trail with views of all the amazing hoodoos. It is not very long, but it’s a good stop by to do some sightseeing with your pup.
Have you been to Kanab in the winter? What advice would you give?
Most backpackers will agree that, although exhilarating, there is often something they left behind that would come in handy on their trek. With an RV, you have an amazing opportunity to make sure you have everything you could possibly need and more.
In fact, it's the extra room for storing items that make hiking with an RV so desirable.
For example, pack waterproof clothing AND shorts, just in case the weather decides to be a little indecisive. This is a luxury a lot of hikers don't have. Make the most of it.
2. Only pack the right things
Okay, you have a bit more storage which is wonderful. Don't overcompensate. Hiking and backpacking are all about freedom, minimalism and liberation.
Pack the essentials and you'll have a lot less stress. These include:
Headlamp with extra batteries
Essential items of clothing and accessories
Comfortable footwear (like sandals to change into after your hikes!)
Food and water
Camp chairs and gear to enjoy an after hike fire
3. Choose a location that make a good hiking hub
As the name suggests, these are routes that finish in the same place that you begin. As well, there are some campsites that have multiple hiking opportunities all within the same area. When you're hiking with an RV this is super important—you want to find a spot in the heart of the areas you want to hike.
The great thing is, in an RV you can hike as long as you want, knowing you have a house on wheels waiting for you when you get back.
4. Make sure your trials are RV friendly
There are certain hiking spots that don't have parking spaces. It's always useful to double check before you go. This way you can plan an alternative hike or a place to park nearby. As well, many parks are day-use only. Double-check where you leave your RV so you know it will be there when you get back.
5. Safety first
Hiking has its fair share of dangers, being safe whilst backpacking is really important. The good news is an RV allows you to stock more safety supplies.
Hydration is a big one. An RV allows you to store more water, just make sure you have enough.
Other bits and bobs you need to pack in your RV are medical kits and emergency contact numbers, a compass, bug spray and extra layers.
6. Stock up on food
Obviously, on your hike you can't take a lot of food - it will only weigh your backpack down. For this reason, make sure you've stocked up on sandwiches, cereal bars and other healthy snacks to keep you energised.
You can always have a nice meal/meal plan waiting for you in the RV upon your return. This has always been one of my favorite benefits of RV traveling.
7. Make sure you've got enough gas
When you're travelling to obscure hiking spots around the world, make sure that you've got enough gas before you enter the hiking spots. This will just ensure that you avoid being stranded somewhere with no gas station.
It's no surprise as to why hiking is such a popular pastime for many RVers. You get to explore, connect with nature and exercise. This is perfect for anybody who spends a lot of time on the road. Following these super simple tips will mean that you can basically just open up your RV doors, witness the most mesmerising hiking spots in the world and sleep tight in a comfortable bed. What could be better?
Idyllwild is a small hiking town near the San Jacinto Mountains. 2 hours from Los Angeles, it’s one of the closest hiking destinations with trees instead of dry shrubs
It’s been over 1 year since I moved to LA, and I have to say I miss hiking among trees. LA definitely has its hikes, but it’s mostly coastal hikes. Near Santa Monica, you’ll be hiking on dusty dirt and shrubs. Closer to Palos Verdes, it’s a big rockier and coastal. But I haven’t been able to find anywhere close that has trees .. until Idyllwild!
Idyllwild is a perfect weekend getaway if you’re looking for a something quiet and relaxing, with some good hiking with pine trees nearby. It’s also a great trip year round, even in December when it’s usually freezing everywhere else.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at a cozy A-frame cabin in the town of Idyllwild. Equipped with a hot tub, this was perfect for a winter adventure. If you don’t have Airbnb yet, sign up here.
WHAT TO DO
There is a lot of great hiking near the town of Idyllwild. Most of the trailheads are close to town so there are a lot of good options. See more on the map here. Don’t forget to buy a permit here.
Suicide Rock Trail: This 6.3 mile out and back trail takes you along the San Jacinto Mountains, with views of Lily Rock and Tahquitz Peak. It is not dog friendly
Tahquitz Peak via Devils Slide Trail: This full trail is 8.1 miles there and back, but in the winter there will be ice as you get closer to Saddle Junction. Bring crampons if you want to do the full loop, otherwise you will have to turn around ~2.5 miles in making the total hike 5 miles. This trail is the only dog friendly trail in Idyllwild in the winter.
WHERE TO EAT
If you have a pup, Idyllwild is a great place to take him/her, even in the winter. Most of the restaurants have an outdoor patio with some kind of heating. Plus, it doesn’t get too cold in the winter anyway. Some good options are Cafe Aroma, La Casita Mexican Restaurant, Red Kettle, and Tommy’s Kitchen.
Trail Distance: 5.1 miles Elevation Gain: ~1,000 ft. Terrain Rating: Easy Hike Time: 2.5 hours Dog Friendly: No
The Ray Miller Hike is one of the best coastal hikes in Malibu with sweeping views of the Pacific
Trailhead: 1 hour North of Santa Monica, parking lot here
We started the Ray Miller hike on a fall day. The trailhead is easy enough to find and we had no issues parking. The hike is a good option for those who want a coastal hike a little deeper in Malibu. It requires a bit longer of a drive than some of the other Malibu hikes, but you’ll also see a lot fewer people!
The hike itself is typical of what you’d see for Malibu hikes. Switchback, dust, views of the ocean. Overall I wasn’t too blown away because I had done a few other hikes in Malibu before, BUT it is nice. It’s a really good afternoon stretch if you’re looking to get outside - nothing to get hyped about.
Havasupai in October offers crisp air, cold stream crossings, and comfortable days!Pre-Planning
Step 0: Understanding all the names! Havasupai = the reservation. Supai = the campground. Havasu Falls = easy waterfall. Mooney Falls = waterfall that requires the ladder climb. Beaver Falls = requires an 8 mile RT hike from Mooney Falls
Step 1: Get your permit! Sign up on the official website’s listto get notified for 2019 openings. Getting a permit is unfortunately really difficult. We had 9 people online/calling at the same time and when the website finally loaded (it breaks every year), the only spots open were in April or October. Having done a bit of spring hiking, I know fall hiking > spring hiking so we naturally chose October
Step 2: Organize driving logistics. Getting to the trailhead is a 8 hour drive from LA, 3.5 hours from Las Vegas, and 4 hours from Phoenix. Most people start hiking early around 6AM which means you should be in the area the night before and drive early, or sleep at the trailhead like many people do
Step 3; Think about camping and packing logistics. You can hire horses/mules to carry your gear down. It’s about $30/bag. We chose to hike down with our bags and eat really well, which means we packed about 10 lbs of produce - heh. It was heavy but you’re walking downhill on the way down so it’s actually very relaxing.
Step 4: Think again about what you’re going to pack. It gets really cold at night in October! I wore fleece pants, a down jacket, a beanie, and fuzzy socks once the sun set.
Water Shoes. I have special felt-bottom water shoes from Taiwan that aren’t available online, but Keens are an ok substitute.
2L of water (there are many water fill up stations)
Your Hiking Days
The trailhead to Supai Campground (10 miles): The first day is really relaxed. As I mentioned above you’re walking downhill most of the day which makes for an easy day. The trail itself is rocky and not super comfortable though so I’d recommend good hiking boots over sneakers.
After mile 8, you will reach Supai Village which has a store and flushing toilets.
Once you get to the trailhead, you should definitely spend the extra 20 minutes looking around for a good campsite. There are a bunch of cool hidden ones, so keep searching!
Supai Campground to Mooney Falls to Beaver Falls (10 miles): On your first full day you should hike to Mooney and Beaver Falls. The trail gets crowded even in October so it’s recommended to start around 7AM or at first light. The climb down the slippery ladder to Mooney falls is a bit tricky but fun! It is extremely slippery though so be careful.
From there, follow the trail until a stream crossing. This is one of many many cold stream crossings. In October, the water was about thigh high. It’s a bit of a longer trek to get to Beaver Falls but well worth it. You’ll see a clear sign pointing to the Falls.
If you follow the trail along the river, you’ll also find some folks cliff jumping. We watched and did not participate :) PS if you keep going 3 more mikes, you will reach the confluence with the Colorado River (which is very brown). The total trip from Mooney to the Confluence is 16 miles RT.
Top Tips for Havasupai in October
Wear water shoes but pack warm clothes in your daypack!
Bring comfy warm camp clothes
If you’re ok with the weight, pack real food over the dehydrated stuff. Your stomach will thank you
You don’t need to hike to the campground early, but you should start the hike to Mooney and Beaver early
Sleep at the trailhead in your car. Take out your sleeping pad/bag and make it comfy for the night.
Trail Distance: 1km each way Terrain Rating: Easy Navigation: Very Easy
Balos Lagoon is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen. With a windy drive and a 1km hike down, it feels like a hidden escape
The drive to Balos beach is not the worst but it’s also not the most fun. It’s windy and I don’t trust a lot of tourist drivers. We made it a fun car trip though with music and photo opps with goats. The drive itself is beautiful for sure, but I would be terrified to drive this in bad weather!
Once you get to the parking spot, getting to Balos Lagoon is fairly straight forward. There are a set of stairs going down into the lagoon. You can ride a horse down for a few Euros but we opted for the walking version.
When we arrived, we put our things down and spent time relaxing and splashing in the water. Like the rest of the Greece, the water is SUPER warm! Balos Lagoon is a must visit in Greece. It feels like a secret escape!
Trail Distance: 10 miles Elevation Gain: Downhill hike Terrain Rating: Medium Navigation: Very Easy (well marked every 20-30 minutes) Hike Time: 4-6 hours Dog Friendly: Yes
Samaria Gorge is the most popular hike in Crete, and for good reason! This one-way hike is jaw droppingly beautiful and ends in a quaint Greek town.Logistics
Start your day really early by taking the 6:15AM bus from Chania to Xyloskalo
Pay the 5 Euros entrance fee, start the hike around 8AM, end anywhere from Noon - 2PM
There are water refill stations every mile or so. There is a bathroom 1/2 way through and at the beginning/ends of the trail
There are two small snack huts at the end of the hike
You can either pay a few Euros or hike down to Agia Roumeli
Take the 5:30pm ferry from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion. Take a connecting bus from Chora Sfakion to Chania (the bus departs soon after the ferry arrives)
We started the day really early from our villa to get to Chania. We were surprisingly able to find free street parking for the entire day! (PM or Comment below for parking details). From there, the bus left promptly at 6:15AM to Xyloskalo. The road was long and windy so we didn’t get much sleep.
It was a bit cold in early September in the beginning of the hike, but air was crisp and fresh. We started our descent through the stairs and was blown away by how beautiful the area was! This first section of the hike is more like a dense forest, it felt like I was in Yosemite.
After the stairs ended, we started to descend into more rocky terrain. About half way through the hike, you will reach Samaria settlement. There are bathrooms here and some people will stop for a snack. Soon after, we finally came upon the Gorge! We spent some time to take photos here before pressing on.
I think the last 1-2 miles were maybe too much. This is when our feet started to get tired from the awkward rock-shaped trails (none of us packed hiking boots). But we finally arrived to the end and treated ourselves to coffee and orange juice before paying (yes we paid) for a shuttle to town!
Once we got to town, we were completely famished and found a great restaurant called Calypso to eat at. Like true Americans (well only half of us were Americans), we ordered an entire table full of food.
On the way back, the ferry passed a cute town called Loutro. It’s like everything you would imagine in a Greek postcard. Santorini-like buildings with the crowds. If we had more time and didn’t have our villa, we would have stayed one night here!
Overall the hike was fantastic and a great way to get some exercise in during a vacation that was full of eating, beach, and more eating :)