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Cris Hazzard, the hiking guy

About Hiking Guy (aka Cris Hazzard)

I'm Hiking Guy, aka Cris Hazzard. I like to get outdoors, walk, and then write about it. It wasn't always like that though.

As a kid, I played outside like everyone else in my generation. I didn’t have an especially outdoorsy childhood experience. We rode BMX bikes around, got into trouble, and then tried to get out of it. As a teenager and “young adult” I was an elite bike racer. Like Lance Armstrong, without the doping and bullying.

Then I graduated college. And life happened. And by life, I mean work. As the years went on, my fitness level went down, as did my health and happiness. Thousands of hours in front of computer screens started to take their toll.

When life zigged, I zagged, and decided to take a survival course. I went into the woods with nothing but a knife, the clothes on my back, and an open mind. I learned that I could live off the land. I had a blast. I felt renewed, connected, and energized. I realized that a connection with nature was vital to my happiness and well being.

cris hazzard at half dome yosemite
Happy and healthy at Yosemite’s Glacier Point, with Half Dome in the background.

If you look at it objectively, humans have been around for about 200,000 years. That’s 200,000 years of being outside, intimately connected with the earth, sun, and stars. The culture of staring at screens all day has been around for about 20 years. So for 99.9999% of our existence, our DNA was wired to do something else than what it does now.

Getting back to “real” life, I went back to work, but made getting outside on a regular basis a priority. Hiking and camping was the perfect way to keep my connection with nature alive. And it provided a nice low-impact workout with lots of fresh air and vitamin D. I noticed that I was much happier. Hiking every weekend provided a healthy way to balance out my life.

I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees.
— Henery David Thoreau

Why HikingGuy.com?

My goal for this website is to make hiking simple, easy, and safe. Too many people look at the outdoors as a danger zone of killer bears, hypothermia, and blisters.

My hike directions make your trip simple and straightforward by giving you images of every turn. This let’s you mentally visualize what the hike will be like, and remove any uncertainty that may cause fear.

I also review the essential hiking gear that will keep you safe and happy on the trail.  Along with gear reviews are tips and techniques on how to hike. Knowledge is power amigos.

My hope is that as more that people enjoy the outdoors, the more they’ll share that joy, and the more happy people they’ll be in the world. And from that will come respect, care, and stewardship of the earth.

If you have any questions, suggestions, anything, feel free to get in touch.

Here’s How to Get Started

It’s pretty simple. Just go for a walk in nature. If you don’t have wilderness nearby, find a park. If you want some beginner’s tips on how to hike, read this article on how to get started.

Another great resource is the 52 Hike Challenge website. The idea is simple. Go for a hike every week and see how it changes you. They’re good people.

Cris Hazzard FAQ

People ask me questions. Here are some answers.

What’s your favorite place to hike?

I love hiking in Switzerland. In 1997 I lived there for a year and did a ton of hikes. I hope to revisit them and post them on the site.

These days I love hiking anywhere in San Bernardino National Forest, with Cucamonga Peak and Ontario Peak being my favorites.

What’s your least favorite place to hike?

Well, I don’t have a specific place, but I really hate hiking anywhere with crowds. So this means the popular hikes. I love hiking alone with my thoughts or with a select friend or two. When I do hikes that are popular, I do them at sunrise to avoid the crowds.

What’s the hardest hike you’ve ever done?

San Jacinto Peak from Idyllwild probably kicked my butt the most. San Gorgonio is a beast too.

Have you ever gotten lost hiking?

Thousands of times. I use a GPS watch with a GPX track loaded, printed directions, a map, and GaiaGPS (with offline maps on my iPhone) to make sure that getting lost simply means turning around and retracing my steps. If I get into real trouble, I carry an emergency GPS beacon.

Why do you wear an orange shirt in your posts?

I wear that HikingGuy orange shirt for two reasons. One, if I’m ever in a rescue situation, it’s easy to see. Second, orange is the universal “don’t shoot me” color for being outdoors during hunting season.

What outdoors school did you go to?

I went to Tom Brown’s Tracker School. Tom Brown has a bit of a cult-like following, which I’m not really into. But the class is solid and you will learn a lot. Tom Brown has written some great narratives and outdoor guides.

Do you also go backpacking?

I haven’t done any long trips like the AT or PCT (yet!), but I do occasionally do 2-4 day trips. Have a good trip that I should check out? Let me know about it.

What hiking boots do you use?

I use a lightweight model by Sportiva. You can check out my gear reviews for other hiking boots here. I only review and recommend gear that I actually use or have used.

What do you carry in your pack?

I try to carry as little as possible in my pack. I always bring water, snacks, a shell, and extra layers. I have a knife, a compass, an emergency GPS, a headlamp (with extra batteries), duct tape, disposable lighters, a fire starter, some cordage, a shelter, a whistle, a space blanket, and water purifier for emergencies. For more “human” emergencies, I carry a roll of single ply toilet paper and a trowel.

I see you also run and bike on Garmin Connect and Strava, do you blog about that?

I do not. I mainly just bike, run, and swim to stay fit and have fun. I used to be a competitive bike racer from the ages of 13-23, but those days are long gone. I don’t miss that hardcore training. Feel free to connect with me on Garmin Connect to see my hikes, steps, and all that jazz. You can also follow me on Strava.

What biking/running/swimming gear do you use?

I use my Garmin Fenix 3 to track my fitness (in addition to my hikes).

My road bike is a Specialized Roubaix Comp, my mountain bike is a hardtail Cannonade. I use Pearl Izumi gear with some odd team jerseys in there. My road shoes are triathlon shoes, which are easier to get on and off. My mountain bike shoes are comfortable and easy to walk in.

For running, I prefer a low-drop minimalist shoe. I try to run on my fore and mid-foot at a quick cadence, with Chi Running and POSE serving as models for my form. My running clothing is a mix of everything.

In the water, I use Nike Jammers to minimize drag without wearing a banana hammock. I also use Speedo goggles and for open water swims, a wetsuit.

Where do you live?

I live in beautiful Southern California. I have the ocean, mountains, and desert all within an hour of me. It’s awesome.

How did you start your blog?

I started with a WordPress theme and started sharing. As time went on, I evolved the website based on your feedback into what it is now.

Is this your full time job?

No, I’m a partner at a creative agency, Sanborn Media Factory. We do websites, social media, video, and all things interactive. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.

Do you make any money off your blog?

When people click through on a product I recommend and purchase something, I get a small percentage of the sale. Mostly, the site is funded out of my pocket. It makes me feel good to help people.

How long does it take to write a post?

Usually it takes anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, depending on how long it is. I write it, let it sit, then go back and proof read it.

What type of camera / computer / etc. do you use?

I have a MacBook Air, which is what I use to create videos (using Adobe Premiere CC) and write blog posts on WordPress. I shoot all the photos and videos with my iPhone 7S Plus.

Do you allow guest bloggers? Do you guest blog?

Yes and yes. Just contact me with what you have in mind.

I only review what I use and like. I choose my gear by doing research on REI, Amazon, and other blogs.

Will you review product X?

Maybe. If you want to send it, I’m happy to take a look at it. If I like it and I think it’s useful, I’ll personally use it, review and recommend it.

Will you beta test products?


Can I link to your site?

Please do! Links to HikingGuy.com are great. Copying content is not. If you want to quote my content, it’s licensed under a Creative Commons license. You simply have to attribute HikingGuy.com as the source and link back to the site.

If you’d like a link back to your site, contact me and let me know what you’re thinking.

Can I use your photos?

Yes. My images are licensed under a Creative Commons license. You simply have to attribute HikingGuy.com as the source and link back.

How can I ask you a question?

Reach out via one of my social media channels. Facebook is probably the easiest.

Why haven’t you responded to my question?

I answer every message, but please be patient. I’m usually not able to instantly respond to messages, but can generally get back to you in a few days or so.