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Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite

Hiking Guides For Everyone

Hi, I’m Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional hiking guide. I created this site to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different in that it gives very detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I share the hiking tricks and tips that I’ve learned over the years to fast-track you into a hiking pro. And I tell you what hiking gear works and what gear doesn’t so you don’t waste your money. I depend on your support to keep this site ad and promotion free. See ya out on the trails…

Latest GuidesLatest Gear Picks – Gift Guide 2021

Most Popular Guides

Gifts For Hikers – 2021

Gifts For Hikers – 2021

Choosing the right gift for a hiker can be challenging, especially if you are not a hardcore hiker yourself. But don’t worry. I’m a professional hiking guide, and I’ve picked out genuinely useful and exciting hiking gifts at each price point. Every time your gift recipient uses one of these hiking gifts, they’ll think about how thoughtful you were. So you got that going for you! And if you don’t see something here, you can also check out the gear that I use in the field every day, or even some great bargains at REI Outlet.

Best Hiking Gear 2021

Best Hiking Gear 2021

Don’t waste your money on hiking gear that’s no good; I’ve already done that for you! Here’s my trail-tested best hiking gear list, last updated . I only recommend hiking gear that I’ve used over hundreds of miles. I don’t do any paid or sponsored reviews, and I don’t waste your time with gear that doesn’t make the cut. This is only the good stuff.

In-Depth Garmin inReach Mini Review

In-Depth Garmin inReach Mini Review

The Garmin inReach Mini packs some powerful features into s small and reasonably priced package. You can send and receive your GPS location to anyone with a text or email (or another inReach Mini) in the backcountry where your cell phone doesn’t work. You can also receive messages, allowing you to communicate with family, friends, and emergency services. Additional features on the inReach Mini allow you to get weather reports, track your trip and share with friends, and perform navigation. There are some limitations, and I’ll cover that later, but all-in-all, the inReach Mini is a solid device that I use and recommend.

Garmin GPSMAP 66i Review & Guide

Garmin GPSMAP 66i Review & Guide

The GPSMAP 66i  is Garmin’s top-of-the-line handheld GPS unit with InReach satellite communications built-in. It’s a solid device built for outdoor use and navigation. I’ve logged months of testing and use for this Garmin GPSMAP 66i review, and while it’s a solid unit, it’s also probably not for everyone.  In this review I’ll give you my thoughts on what works and what doesn’t, I’ll compare it to devices like the InReach Explorer, I’ll give you my recommendations for the 66i, and I’ll show you how to use the device.

Mt Baldy Hike

Mt Baldy Hike

This 11 mile Mt Baldy hike brings you to the highest point in LA at 10,064 feet. With almost 4000 feet of climbing, it’s a tough yet popular hike, and well worth the effort. You can see from the Pacific to the Mojave on a clear day. There are a few ways to hike Mt Baldy, and this guide takes you on the most popular route.

Mt Baldy, CA - 11 miles, Hard

Mt Whitney Hike

Mt Whitney Hike

The Mt Whitney hike is on every hiker’s bucket list. At 14,505 feet, it’s the highest point in the lower 48 and is one of those rare high peaks that you can hike to without any mountaineering skills. There is some prep work you need to do, like getting your Mt Whitney permit and dealing with the altitude. This hiking guide has everything you need to know to successfully climb Mt Whitney. Keep reading for all the info.

Whitney Portal, CA - 22 miles, Very Hard

How To Hike Half Dome – The Complete Guide

How To Hike Half Dome – The Complete Guide

The hike up to Half Dome, towering over the Yosemite Valley at 8846 feet, is one of the great bucket list hikes. You’ll pass iconic waterfalls, hike through majestic sequoias, and then pull yourself up steel cables to stand at the summit. There’s a lot to know before you start; this isn’t just a hike where you show up at the trailhead and go. There’s a decent amount of anxiety about the cables section of the hike for a lot of folks. In this guide, I will cover everything you need to know in a simple and step-by-step way. I’ll help you prepare, conquer your fears, bag the summit, and have a great time in the process.

Yosemite Village, CA - 17 miles, Very Hard

Rim to Rim Grand Canyon Hike Guide

Rim to Rim Grand Canyon Hike Guide

The rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon is iconic, spectacular, and challenging. Over my years of hiking the rim-to-rim, I’ve seen people of all shapes and sizes hike across the Grand Canyon, and in this guide, I’m going to give you all the information you need to know so that you can hike it too. Your journey will start months before stepping foot on the trail, as planning is critical for this popular bucket list hike. And then, armed with the correct information and preparation, you’ll know what to expect as you leave 99.9% of the other Grand Canyon visitors behind and hit the trail to cross one of the seven wonders of the world. And in case you’re wondering, although you’ll be exhausted at the end, the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel at the end is unparalleled.

Grand Canyon Village, AZ - 21 miles, Very Hard

Timberline Trail Guide (Mt Hood)

Timberline Trail Guide (Mt Hood)

The 41.5 mile Timberline Trail, which circles Oregon’s highest point, Mt Hood, dropping in and out of glacier-carved canyons, is a classic that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There’s a lot to love about the Timberline Trail: a well-worn path above and below the timberline (the altitude where trees stop growing), epic views of Mt Hood and the other peaks of the Cascades, glaciers, waterfalls, volcanic rock, alpine meadows, wildflowers, and rich history (it’s also a National Historic Trail). Numerous tent sites along the trail and an easy permit system make tackling the Timberline in 2-4 days straightforward. In this guide I’ll explain everything you need to know to plan your trip, and then do the hike.

Government Camp, OR - 41.5 miles, Hard

Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) Hike Guide

Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) Hike Guide

The Trans Catalina Trail, a mini, 38.5-mile thru-hike across the rugged island of Catalina, is a very doable adventure for almost every hiker and backpacker. Most people take between two and five days to complete the trail, which winds its way around Catalina. Along the way, you’ll experience expansive ocean views, the unique Channel Islands ecology, challenging terrain, and spectacular beachside campgrounds. In this complete Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) guide, I’ll show you everything you need to know to hike the trail and plan it out so that it’s a perfect fit for your hiking abilities.

Avalon, CA - 38.5 miles, Hard

Latest Guides

Mystery Ranch Scree 32 Review

Mystery Ranch Scree 32 Review

I tried out the Mystery Ranch Scree 32 backpack after having several people recommend it. Overall, it’s a solid and durable pack, but there are some deal-breakers that don’t make it the right pack for me. In this video I’ll show you the highs and lows of the Mystery Ranch Scree 32 and make some recommendations about who it would be a good fit for.

How to Use CalTopo

How to Use CalTopo

In this short video I’ll show you around the CalTopo mapping software. We’ll create a hike, send it to our phone, navigate with the CalTopo mobile app, and then review our hike on the computer afterward.

Hike Josephine Peak From Colby Canyon

Hike Josephine Peak From Colby Canyon

Standing prominently in the western San Gabriels, Josephine Peak offers a cool summit with sweeping views. There are a few ways to hike to the summit, and this guide covers my favorite route, which takes the (single track) Colby Canyon Trail (instead of the fire road). This is a great “off-the-beaten-path” hike where you never see crowds, making for a peaceful and pleasurable experience.

Tujunga, CA - 8.4 miles, Moderate

Thunder Spring Trail Loop

Thunder Spring Trail Loop

The Thunder Spring Trail Loop is one of the quieter hikes in Palomar Mountain State Park; it’s a great hike to get away from it all. The scenery is lush, with lots of pines, cedars, and in the spring, wildflowers. You have a climb that will get your heart rate up, but is not too tough. And along the way, you visit a historic homesteader’s cabin site. Overall it’s a nice trail and a good time.

Palomar Mountain,, CA - 4.2 miles, Moderate

How To Correct Google Maps

How To Correct Google Maps

It’s fairly common to spot errors on Google Maps, especially when you are heading to trailheads and outdoors-related areas. In this short video I’ll show you how to update the errors on Google Maps so that other people will get the correct address information.

Boucher Fire Tower Loop (Palomar Mountain)

Boucher Fire Tower Loop (Palomar Mountain)

This short loop hike to the Boucher Fire Lookout Tower offers a lot to see in a short distance. The climb to the tower is gentle, and at the top, on a clear day, you can see from Mexico, to the Coronado Islands, to Mt San Jacinto.  I’d venture to say the best views from Palomar Mountain State Park are from Boucher Hill. Then rom the tower, we’ll hike in a loop and visit the remains of a historic homesteader’s cabin.

Palomar Mountain, CA - 3.5 miles, Easy

An Easy Way to Advocate for the Outdoors – REI Cooperative Action Network

An Easy Way to Advocate for the Outdoors – REI Cooperative Action Network

In this short video I’ll show you how you can very easily advocate for legislation that supports hiking and the outdoors using the REI Cooperative Action Network. Letting you representatives know that you want them to support outdoor legislation is as easy as a few mouse clicks.

Lower Doane Valley and French Valley Hike

Lower Doane Valley and French Valley Hike

The hike through Lower Doane Valley and French Valley at Palomar Mountain State Park is a gem; every twist and turn offers something natural and beautiful. You’ll follow the lush Doane Creek, hike through groves of giant trees, across mountain meadows, visit a historic weir, and find a hidden pool of French Creek. There are ups and downs, but no big mountain climbs on this short 4 mile hike.

Palomar Mountain,, CA - 4.2 miles, Easy

Hiking With Gaia GPS For Beginners

Hiking With Gaia GPS For Beginners

For those who are new to hiking using the Gaia GPS app (for iPhone or Android), this quick video will walk you through the basics of creating or loading a hike, using the hike to navigate, and then viewing your saved hike when you’re done on the trail.

Grand Canyon Rim to River Hike Guide

Grand Canyon Rim to River Hike Guide

The Grand Canyon “rim to river” hike from the South Rim to Colorado is the one hike that the NPS asks you not to do. Why? Beginning hikers underestimate the effort of hiking back up to the rim after enjoying a casual downhill to the river. I’ve written this guide to help experienced hikers who understand the challenges of the “rim to river,” and for those who are not experienced yet will do it anyway. This guide gives you all the information you need to do the hike safely if you are up to it and the conditions are right.

Grand Canyon Village, AZ - 17 miles, Very Hard

My Go-To Map Layers in Gaia GPS (For Hiking)

My Go-To Map Layers in Gaia GPS (For Hiking)

In this video I’ll walk through the diffeent map layers that I find useful when planning nad going on a hike using Gaia GPS. I’ll show you which specific maps make sense and why, and also show you how I check for rain, snow, wildfires, cell reception, and overgrown trails.

Redwood Grove Hike Guide (Carbon Canyon – Brea)

Redwood Grove Hike Guide (Carbon Canyon – Brea)

It’s an easy hike to visit Southern California’s largest Redwood Grove, located in Carbon Canyon Regional Park. The Redwood grove, while not as majestic as those in Northern California, is still impressive. You’ll be able to wander in the shade of over 200 Redwoods, which would not survive in the hot, dry Southern California climate without the loving attention of OC Parks. It’s a great hike that’s easy for families and beginners.

Brea, CA - 1.5 miles, Easy

HOKA Speedgoat 4 -vs- Stinson ATR 6 – Which One is Better for Hiking?

HOKA Speedgoat 4 -vs- Stinson ATR 6 – Which One is Better for Hiking?

After using the HOKA Stinson ATR 6 for about 400 miles, I decided to give the HOKA Speedgoat 4 a try after having it reocmmended by other hikers. In this short video I’ll cover the differences I found between them and my recommendations on which is a better hiking shoe.

Annie’s Canyon Trail Guide

Annie’s Canyon Trail Guide

Annie’s Canyon Trail is about as unique as they come. On this short hike, you’ll be able to experience a sandstone slot canyon, complete with narrow walls and ladders. And on the way to the canyon, you’ll get beautiful views of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, a critical migrating waterfowl habitat. Another bonus on this hike is that it’s only minutes off of Interstate 5, making it an excellent leg-stretcher hike stop if you’re driving past.

Solana Beach, CA - 1.8 miles, Easy

Sunset Peak Trail Hike (Angeles National Forest)

Sunset Peak Trail Hike (Angeles National Forest)

The Sunset Peak hike, with its gentle yet steady uphill, offers lots of beauty for all levels of hiker. For beginners, Sunset Peak lets you dip your toe into the high peaks of Angeles National Forest without anything too hairy. And for the experienced hiker, the sweeping panoramic views give you a unique perspective of all the big-name peaks. Overall Sunset Peak is a great hike that I recommend for everyone to enjoy.

Mt Baldy, CA - 7.5 miles, Moderate

What Are These Triangular Signs? (Witness Posts)

What Are These Triangular Signs? (Witness Posts)

In this video I’l shine light on the often asked question, “what are the triangle signs at the tops of mountains?” Well, they’re called witness posts and they were used in surveying. In this video I’ll explain the hows and whys behind them.

Echo Mountain Hike on the Sam Merrill Trail

Echo Mountain Hike on the Sam Merrill Trail

The Echo Mountain hike packs a lot of bang for the buck. You’ll hike up the Sam Merrill Trail, which follows the old Mt Lowe railway route up to Echo Mountain, where you can see the old ruins of the Echo Mountain mountain resort. USA Today included the Echo Mountain hike as one of the “10 Great North American Hikes” and Sunset Magazine called it one of the top 45 hikes in the west. The hike is easy to follow, has an interesting history, offers great views, is a good workout, and is close to LA. Overall it’s a win.

Altadena, CA - 5.6 miles, Hard

Fire Safety When Camping – Hiking – On the Trail

Fire Safety When Camping – Hiking – On the Trail

In this video I’ll share some tips and suggestions on how to minimize the chance that you may inadvertently cause a wildfire on your next backpacking or hiking trip. Even some small and simple steps can cut the risk of starting a devastating fire down significantly.

Hike Pacifico Mountain on the PCT

Hike Pacifico Mountain on the PCT

If you want to get off the beaten path in Angeles National Forest, head over to the Pacifico Mountain hike. Pacifico Mountain, the highest peak in the northwestern part of the forest, offers unique views spanning from Mt Baldy to Los Padres National Forest to Nevada. There are several approaches to the summit of Pacifico Mountain, and we’ll take what I think is the most scenic one up the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). It’s a great hike without big crowds.

Palmdale, CA - 13.5 miles, Moderate

Will the New iPhone 13 Be a Satellite Communicator (like an inReach)?

Will the New iPhone 13 Be a Satellite Communicator (like an inReach)?

Word on the Macrumors street is that the new iPhone (coming out Sep?) will have capabilities to communicate with LEO satellites, just like inReach units do. Having this built into the iPhone would eliminate the need for a separate device like an inReach. In this video I’ll go over the possibilities, and if the iPhone 13 does indeed have this, I’ll review it as soon as possible.

Why I’m Not Reviewing the COROS VERTIX 2 (yet)

Why I’m Not Reviewing the COROS VERTIX 2 (yet)

The new COROS VERTIX 2 is an exciting watch for hikers – the multi-band GNSS receiver is really exciting, as is the long battery life. But the shortcomings in maps and navigation, which I think can be addressed by future firmware updates, make it a bit of a non-starter for me as a hiking watch.

Hike the Teepee Trail (La Cañada Flintridge)

Hike the Teepee Trail (La Cañada Flintridge)

The Teepee Trail is a great hike, but probably not for the reason that you think. Yea, the teepee is cool to visit and great to take photos with, but the climb up to the teepee offers some of the best views into the western peaks of Angeles National Forest that you’ll ever see. The hike takes the Mt Lukens Truck Trail up to the teepee, which is uphill, but expertly folded onto the land with switchbacks to make the gradient doable. Overall it’s a fun little hike in the foothills of Angeles National Forest.

La Cañada Flintridge, CA - 5.4 miles, Moderate

What is Slack-Packing

What is Slack-Packing

What is slack-packing? It’s a question I get asked, and in this video I’ll explain it to you. In a nutshell, slack-packing is hiking without carrying all the gear. There are a few ways to do it, and a few advantages, and I’ll talk about them here.

Hike Jones Peak on the Bailey Canyon Trail

Hike Jones Peak on the Bailey Canyon Trail

Don’t let the shorter distance fool you; the hike to Jones Peak from the Bailey Canyon Trail is a tough one. The climb up through Bailey Canyon features steep canyon walls, sweeping views, and a well-maintained trail with many switchbacks. Along the way, there are ruins of a cabin in a lush gully, and then after some more switchbacks, you get to Jones Peak at 3375 feet. The peak offers panoramic views from Mt Wilson to Catalina. Overall it’s a solid hike with a little bit of everything.

Sierra Madre, CA - 6.5 miles, Hard

300 Mile Review – HOKA ONE ONE Stinson ATR 6 Trail-Running Shoes

300 Mile Review – HOKA ONE ONE Stinson ATR 6 Trail-Running Shoes

I’ve used the HOKA ONE ONE Stinson ATR 6 Trail-Running Shoes for about 300 miles of hiking, in all conditions, and while comfortable, they’re starting to deterioriate (but are still usable). In this video I’ll show you what’s good and what’s not so good for the Stinson ATR 6s.

Stoddard Peak Hike

Stoddard Peak Hike

Stoddard Peak stands guard over the front range of the San Gabriels, with a unique view stretching from Mt Baldy to the LA suburbs. The hike to Stoddard Peak is challenging but not too tough; it’s perfect for beginners, with a great summit payoff. In this guide, I’ll show you how to hike to Stoddard Peak safely and enjoy all it has to offer.

Mt Baldy, CA - 6 miles, Moderate

REI Flash 22 Backpack Review + Gear Haul Out

REI Flash 22 Backpack Review + Gear Haul Out

I’ve spent some weeks hiking with the REI Flash 22 pack as an ultralight day pack option, and it’s been great. The pack is minimal, and just has everything you need for a day hike. In this video I’ll walk you through the Flash 22 and do a quick haul out of my day hike gear.

Timberline Trail Guide (Mt Hood)

Timberline Trail Guide (Mt Hood)

The 41.5 mile Timberline Trail, which circles Oregon’s highest point, Mt Hood, dropping in and out of glacier-carved canyons, is a classic that should be on everyone’s bucket list. There’s a lot to love about the Timberline Trail: a well-worn path above and below the timberline (the altitude where trees stop growing), epic views of Mt Hood and the other peaks of the Cascades, glaciers, waterfalls, volcanic rock, alpine meadows, wildflowers, and rich history (it’s also a National Historic Trail). Numerous tent sites along the trail and an easy permit system make tackling the Timberline in 2-4 days straightforward. In this guide I’ll explain everything you need to know to plan your trip, and then do the hike.

Government Camp, OR - 41.5 miles, Hard

South Fork Trail to San Gorgonio Mountain

South Fork Trail to San Gorgonio Mountain

The South Fork Trail is one of the more popular routes to the San Gorgonio Mountain summit, and for a good reason. You have to put some work in on the climb, but overall the gradients are steady and reasonable. As you wind up toward the summit, you’ll get postcard views of the San Bernardino high line of peaks, views down to Mill Creek, and then, of course, the epic views from the summit, the highest point in southern California. Overall this is a classic hike.

Angelus Oaks, CA - 19.5 miles, Hard

What is a Wilderness Area?

What is a Wilderness Area?

In this video I’ll answer the question, what is a Wilderness Area, and specifically, why are the Wilderness Area signs so far back from most trailheads.