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Take a hike: Head outside to enjoy the road less traveled

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Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 8:15 am

Lace up your hiking boots and slather on a coat of sunscreen. It’s time to turn off the electronics, head outside and go play on the trails. Lucky you, California is full of gorgeous places to take a walk, climb a hill, scale a cliff, or hop among boulders.

We talked to Lodi hikers for their favorite spots and tips to keep your time on the trail safe and happy. Plus, a spotlight on five pretty hikes you might not yet have visited.

Easy access nature in Lodi’s backyard

Want an easy nature walk somewhere nearby? Try these local favorites:

Oak Grove Park: One 1.5 mile walking trail takes you among a grove of old growth trees, while another trail is handicapped accessible and a quarter-mile long. 4520 W. Eight Mile Road in Stockton.

Lodi Lake Park: Wide flat trails wind among oak trees and lead to the water’s edge in the Nature Center. 1101 W. Turner Road in Lodi.

Cosumnes River Preserve: A three-mile River Walk Trail on raised levees runs through several different habitats, including grasslands, valley oak savannah and tule marsh. A one-mile handicapped accesible trail called the Lost Slough Wetlands Walk offers a close up look at water birds, wetland plants and marshes. 13501 Franklin Blvd. in Galt.

Lifetime hiker heads out with family and friends

— Kelli McGeorge, Community development coordinator for Lodi Health

Growing up, Kelli McGeorge’s family always made hiking a part of the annual summer camping trip.

“When I was younger I would say, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to, I want to stay here and play,’” she said. “But we went, and now I like to go whenever there is a free weekend.”

McGeorge hits the trails with her fiance Ryan Perrault and her dog, Nora, at least once a month.

What’s in her hiking pack?

Snacks, like apples, cheese or peanut butter

A small first aid kit, even on short hikes or backpack trips

A camera, so McGeorge can add photos to her hiking blog, bookingitupthetrail.wordpress.com, or her Instagram account.

Her favorite hike is off Highway 4 near Lake Alpine. Head out to the Pacific Valley campground and follow the old jeep trail through two meadows. This time of year, the grass will be lush with wildflowers.

Favorite trails from a Lodi hiker

— Paul Meidinger

A Lodi native offers his suggestions for beautiful views, great swimming and fun for kids. Plan a day trip and bring the family.

The Hite Cove trail near Yosemite is a very nice hike that features some of the best spring wildflower displays in the Sierra. Plus it has great views of the Merced River and is dog friendly.

There is a 4.5-mile or so trail to Chewing Gum lake in the Emigrant Wilderness that is another of my favorites. Beautiful views and the lake is perfect for swimming.

Rock City at Mount Diablo is fun for the kids to climb around and offers some easy trails for them, too.

Basics for beginners

— Kyla Cathey, Lodi News-Sentinel news editor and avid hiker

  • Bring plenty of bottled water, more than you think you’ll need.
  • Dress in light layers, so you can stuff your jacket into your bag when it gets warm.
  • Don’t set out in brand new hiking boots. You’ll get blisters if they aren’t broken in. Think comfortable, but supportive.
  • Pack extra socks if you have to walk through water.
  • Grab an extra hair tie to keep your long hair off your neck in the heat.
  • Walking in long grass? Check for bugs and ticks hitching a ride on your clothes.
  • For steep trails, carry a walking stick for support.
  • Charge your cellphone, and tell someone where you are going, and when you plan to come back.
  • Make sure your first aid kit has band aids, alcohol wipes and a tourniqet, in case of snake bites.
  • Pack lightweight snacks: a blend of nuts, dried fruit and candy is called trail mix for a reason.
  • If your dog comes too, bring a water bowl for him and clean up after his bathroom breaks.

Paths worth going the extra miles

These gorgeous trails take a little driving time to get to, but are totally worth the gas money:

Miners Ravine Trail Along Dry Creek

Where: Folsom Road to Harding Boulevard near Roseville

How long: 1.8 miles of paved trail

Features: Out and back loop to Dry Creek Footbridge to see confluence of Antelope and Miner’s Ravine Creeks.

Tips: On the way back you may want to take one or more of the dirt side trail along the edge of Dry Creek for a closer-to-nature look at the stream. In the summer there are a number of small beaches that can be used for sun bathing after a cool dip/wade in the cool waters of Dry Creek.

Effie Yeaw Nature Center Trails

Where: Carmicheal, in Ansel Hoffman Park

How long: 2.5 mile loop

Features: The trail is primarily used for birding, hiking, nature trips and walking and is accessible year-round. Packed with wildlife, like deer, rabbits and wild turkeys.

Tips: The San Lorenzo entrance to Ancil Hoffman Park is permanently locked and the only way to enter the Effie Yeaw Nature Center by car is from Tarshes Drive and California Avenue.

Delta Meadows State Park and Historic Locke Trail

Where: Walnut Grove

How long: 2.4 miles out and back

Features: The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Tips: Take in the quaint town of Locke along the river after your hike.

Area 51 (Coyote Point) New Hogan Resevoir

Where: Valley Springs

How long: 8 miles of multiple trails

Features: The lower trail follows the outline of the lake and is runnable while the upper trail includes a lot of switchbacks for bikers.

Tips: Go through the gate by the campground and trail is entrance on your left.

Dog-friendly trails in Roseville

Where: Roseville

How long: 2.9 miles out and back

Features: This fairly level route starts at Horncastle Avenue and winds its way to Veterans Park. The route to attempts to stay on dirt trails whenever possible, however several sections follow the paved bike trail at places.

Tips: If taking your dog, you are required to stay on paved trails.

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