Sunday, June 13, 2021

Hike Planning: How to plan a great hike?

May 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Nature, Trail Tips

What makes a good hike?  Please weigh in on this.  Is it – as many buddies have said –   “one where everyone has a good time” ?  That’s a good goal, but my take is quite different:  A good hike is one where everyone gets back to the cars safe and sound.

But what makes a GREAT hike? For me, it’s a Good Hike with something special.  Let’s take  Sunday, May 8 as an example.  WEATHER:  Inland high Bay Area high temperatures were predicted to be 60 degrees and breezy.  Rather than an oven,   Mt. Diablo  sounded splendid to us.   Lacking familiarity with this complex mountain trail system, we check in at the visitor center where the wonderful volunteers concur on the route.  We give them our parameters:

  • Hard up, easier down (a standard when planning a hike)
  • Estimated distance we want to go.  Time is subjective, we know our pace and abilities, so distance is a better parameter to establish.
  • Flowers – we want to see flowers!

We then ask a crucial question.   Which direction do we go?  So often this can make the difference between do-able and enjoyable  or catastrophic.  Also, we want to know – Where EXACTLY is the trail-head?  Equipped with the knowledge that the volunteers answering the questions truly know what we want and are extremely familiar with the trails, we highlight the route on the map and off we go.  A good hike –  we got butt-kicking exercise, prevented injury (THANK YOU TREKKING POLES!) and a splendid day filled with wondrous views and flowers.  A GREAT Hike, see for yourself:  (click on any flower to enlarge; click the back arrow to return to post).  Happy Trails!

Butterfly Mariposa

Mt. Diablo Fairy Lanterns


Wind Poppy

Mt. Diablo View

Ribbon Clarkia



One Response to “Hike Planning: How to plan a great hike?”
  1. diane kern says:

    I plan hikes for my friends based on the goals, AND, don’t want to scare them away from future hikes ( no “forced marches”) want to visit? hikes on fire trails are good as you can hike 2-3 abreast. Very hard to chat and visit on a single track trail. I also keep a log of which trails are appropriate in various weather conditions ( shaded? open? windy?) I log the approximate time so that no one is surprised by an afternoon hike turning into a 5 hour trek.

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