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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Plenty of spectacular hikes await late fall travelers

The biggest benefit of RV travel is the access it offers to the great outdoors.

Like everyone, we’ve struggled through the pandemic, but we’ve also been extremely fortunate — thanks to our RV. Our self-contained bubble allows us to continue to travel safely to beautiful locations, where we’ve found many fantastic hikes and bicycle rides.

Here are some of our favorites from the year.

Coastal hikes

  • The 6.6-mile hike along the rocky coast of Point Bouchon sits on property owned by California’s PG&E south of Morro Bay. The fact that it’s on the utility’s property keeps crowds down, and this isolated stretch of the Central Coast is beyond stunning.
  • Solstice Canyon (2.1 miles) in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a surprisingly remote refuge not far from Malibu Beach RV Park, one of our favorite places to stay in Southern California.
  • Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor in Southern Oregon offers some of the very best headlands hiking on the West Coast. During a week at Harris Beach State Park, we sampled most of the 18 miles of trails.
  • Newhalem Bay State Park in Northern Oregon is situated on a four-mile-long spit, with pristine dunes to explore and some of the most remote beaches in the state.
  • Washington’s Deception Pass State Park is full of nice hiking trails, but our favorite is the 2.4-mile loop to Lighthouse Point perched on rocky headlands with magnificent views of the churning Salish Sea.

Mountain and desert hikes

  • One of our favorite discoveries of the year is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in Southern California, where we explored Hellhole Canyon, a challenging 5.6-mile trail that climbs to a palm tree oasis.
  • Sedona, Ariz., is a spectacular place filled with dozens of stellar hiking options. The best: The 8.4-mile Hangover Trail, a cliffy route through red rock features with several jaw-dropping overlooks.
  • The South Kaibab Trail travels all the way to the Colorado River from the South Rim of  Grand Canyon National Park. The 6-mile hike to Skeleton Point takes in some of the canyon’s most beautiful views.
  • We hit snowy Mount Rainier National Park right after it reopened this spring, and hiked a section of the Wonderland Trail along the raging Nisqually River.
  • An early season hike to Cutthroat Lake near North Cascades National Park still brings back wonderful picture-perfect memories of blue skies, melting snow and rugged mountains.

Bicycle rides

  • Who’d have thought Palm Springs would be such a great bicycling town? Miles and miles of recreation paths and bike lanes snake through this friendly winter haven.
  • Perhaps the most scenic bike ride we’ve ever taken is the 14-mile roundtrip to Hermit’s Rest at Grand Canyon National Park. The route travels along the South Rim—with dramatic canyon drops just yards away—on a bicycle-friendly recreation path.
  • The Marvin Braude Bike Trail is a beachside route through 22 miles of Los Angeles-area communities. We loved riding the trail through Hermosa Beach during an extended stay at Dockweiler RV Park in Playa del Rey, Calif.
  • The cycling is spectacular at Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon, a former military installation at the mouth of the Columbia River. All of the roads in the 4,300-acre park are safe for bicyclists, and nine miles of recreation paths offer a rare chance to ride through scenic coastal dunes and wetlands.
  • Fort Worden Historical State Park in Washington is another great cycling park. Former roads are now bike routes leading to majestic views of Puget Sound and Port Townsend.

Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly is a freelance writer.