Get Outdoors & Get Moving!
|Snow hiking on the Wilderness Travel Course.
The Sierra Club is one of Southern California's most treasured hiking clubs - and its largest. Why not join an outing hosted by one of our many sections? With over 400 listings on the Schedule of Activities, there’s something for everyone.
Griffith Park Night Hikes - Griffith Park Section
Come explore Los Angeles’ iconic park with the Griffith Park Section. Experience nature close to home, and get a spectacular nighttime view of Downtown. There are several different levels of hikes available; a “1” or “2” is a mellow, slow-paced jaunt along well-trodden routes, while a “5” or “6” will almost certainly be a high-octane adventure that may bring you far around the park.
The author joined the Sierra Club three years ago. I had a lot of fun hiking with the Griffith Park Section. I enjoyed improving my fitness while chatting with the hike leaders and other participants. The scenery of the park was outmatched only by the agreeable and welcoming environment provided by my fellow hikers.
Griffith Park outings are hosted every week on Tuesday and Thursday, a tradition going on over 50 years. There are also Wednesday night hikes and a monthly moonlight hike and potluck. Hikes leave at 7PM from the second Merry-Go-Round Parking Lot (34.134454, -118.285249) and return at approximately 9PM. A typical hike is about 5 miles round trip, and an elevation gain of 1,500 ft.
Southern California Peaks - Hundred Peaks Section
Looking for something a little more adventurous? Check out the Hundred Peaks Section (HPS). HPS hosts outings throughout Southern California, from Kern County down to San Diego County. These hikes go to the summits of peaks that are over 5,000 ft high, and can involve travelling over a variety of terrain on and off trails. You’ll visit a diverse set of different landscapes, from desert to pine forest to chaparral.
My very first Sierra Club outing was a Hundred Peaks Section trip. Hiking with HPS really exposed me to the breadth of what one can experience without driving too far from home. The spectacular sight of Iron Mountain rising from San Gabriel Canyon (north of Azusa), the wide views of the San Fernando Valley from Mount Lukens (in the City of Los Angeles), and a jaw-dropping sunset from Rabbit Peak (Riverside County) - how could I ever forget those memories?
HPS outings are hosted 2 to 3 times per week. New hikes are posted on the Schedule of Activities and on the HPS website constantly - check weekly. HPS hikes will range in difficulty from very easy to very hard, so inquire with hike leaders before signing up to join an outing. Some hikes are only 1 mile long with 250 ft of elevation gain - but there are others that go 21 miles over 8,000 ft of elevation gain.
Mountains of the Interior West - Desert Peaks Section
Perhaps you want to get out there and see awe-inspiring places that few people have ever bothered to visit. Then the Desert Peaks Section (DPS) is right for you.
DPS outings are typically hosted from October to April, and they visit desert peaks throughout the West. These are not the Sierras - they are far more remote and often just as adventurous. Some of the peaks that DPS will visit are over 13,000 ft high, and some outings will require participants to have a degree of familiarity with roped climbing. Owning a 4x4 is useful for tackling these hikes. See desertpeaks.org/outings for upcoming outings.
Become a Better Hiker - Wilderness Travel Course
Maybe you want to learn a bit more about how to travel in the wilderness. The Wilderness Travel Course (WTC) will teach you many of the outdoors skills you’ll need to know for hiking in remote places.
I took WTC in 2017, and it was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. I can personally attest to the quality of the instructors and the comprehensiveness of the curriculum.
Classes are hosted between January and April, with four locations throughout Southern California. A fee is required to sign up. See www.wildernesstravelcourse.org for more details.