Outdoors

Among the pines in Pine Valley, CA

This East County mountain town's an easy 45-minute drive from downtown.

As someone who has primarily lived in suburbia, I find myself escaping to small-town USA when I am in need of a change in scenery. Most San Diegans head to Julian, Palomar, or Cleveland National ...

Into the West: Sedona & Grand Canyon road trip

Fit some of the best Southwest hikes and views into a long weekend.

For me, the Wild West was never something that piqued my interest. The desert, cowboys, the Gold Rush, saloons; it all seemed rather dusty and trite to me. That is until I got a chance ...

Salento, cream of Colombia's coffee country

Experience small-town Colombia and some spectacular hiking on the finca.

Salento is an historic colonial town high in the mountains of the department of Quindio, situated 250 kilometers due south of Medellin. It used to be on the main route between Bogota and Popoyan even ...

Springtime Mammoth Lakes: a travel guide

The case for Mammoth and the Eastern Sierra's less spendy, mellower "secret" season.

Springtime in the Western United States generally means snow melt and a lot of muddy conditions. It may seem like an odd time to visit a mountain town... but it's just the opposite for the ...

Adventures in Bariloche: a Top 10

Visit this Argentinean gateway to Patagonia and "Tahoe of South America."

Known as the Tahoe of South America — and the portal to glorious Patagonia — San Carlos de Bariloche is worth spending a few kick-ass days in before continuing on to El Bolsón or Villa ...

The fabled green flash

Plus some info on cross-country skiing and tree aloes

Cross-Country Skiers are in for a short-lived treat late this month through February if winter storms intense enough to drop several inches to two feet of snow hit San Diego County’s higher mountains. As the ...

Blood-red flowers, blood-red sunsets

Try Soledad, Helix, Cowles, Woodson for sun viewing

Poinsettias, a favorite of backyard gardeners, are now exhibiting their scarlet, petal-like bracts, just in time for the holidays. The onset of 14-hour-long nights triggers their behavior: In San Diego this condition is met just ...

Ephemeral snow in Cuyamaca and on Palomar

But shore birds everywhere

Cross-Country Skiers are in for a short-lived treat this month through February if winter storms intense enough to drop several inches to two feet of snow hit San Diego County’s higher mountains. As the clouds ...

Freemont cottonwoods and why rainbows come now

The sun never gets higher than 42 ̊

The Fremont Cottonwoods along the San Diego River in Mission Gorge are now showing their best tawny foliage. You can park at the Old Mission Dam historic site or the Mission Trails Regional Park visitor ...

Ice crystals, liquidambar, sycamores

Look for the ring around the sun

Atmospheric Ice-Crystal Effects are often observed, starting about this time of year, because of the frequent appearance of high clouds made of tiny bits of ice. The most familiar of these optical effects is the ...

Cuyamaca's poplars, Palomar's oaks, docile tarantulas

And the nearly imperceptible temperature drop

Autumn Color in San Diego County’s mountains reaches its greatest intensity in late October and early November. The forested heights of Palomar Mountain are especially colorful right now. Black oaks on Palomar’s rolling uplands will ...