Let’s Go Hiking! (with Kids in Los Angeles)

As the weather begins to warm up (OK, it was never really that cold to begin with…) we Angelenos love to head outside!  Check out these amazing hiking trails located all over the city – near and far, easy and hard, as well as family friendly.  Thank you MommyPoppins.com for all the great detailed information.

 

We can’t literally climb walls. But we’ve all found ourselves – on long weekends, spring breaks, sick days, you name it – feeling like we might be nearing the ceiling. Whether it’s the whining or the post-play mess, the “I’m bored,” the fussiness after a missed nap, or all of the above, there are moments when even the best of us loving and dedicated parents want up. Or, more likely, out.

So go ahead; get out. Head to thetrails. Take a hike. We’ve compiled a list of fantastic hiking destinations for you and your little cherubs. Because we know from experience that climbing a mountain sure beats climbing a wall. (Oh – and if you’re pushing someone up that mountain, you may want the stroller-friendly hikes.)

But wait. Before you go, have a look at the following suggestions. We want to make your outing is as seamless as possible:

  • Many trails have variable shade. No trees can mean hot sun; remember the sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, snacks, and lots of water.
  • Trails are often shared by hikers, mountain bikers, and horses. Remember to watch for bikes and horse droppings.
  • Weekends see a rise in visitors at all parks. This may mean competition for parking and more people on the trails.
  • Due to recent state budget cuts, some parks have had to scale back staff, trail maintenance, and operating hours; some have even closed. Weather (rain, erosion, fires) can also impact trail availability. We advise you call ahead before you go to make sure your intended destination is ready to welcome you. Browsing this park closure list might also be helpful.

1. Griffith Park – Los Angeles
4730 Crystal Springs Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Map
Park hours: 5:30am-10:30pm. Trails close at sunset.
Parking: Free
Dogs on leashes allowed on trails

Certainly one of LA’s jewels, Griffith Park might very well have it all: a merry-go-roundan observatory, and an old train park. What’s more, there are trails, and lots of them.

Insiders recommend the Charlie Turner Trail. Park at the Observatory and begin your climb up Mt. Hollywood. On a clear day, you’ll be rewarded with views of the San Fernando Valley, Glendale, and the Westside, as well as a closer peek at the Hollywood Sign. The round-trip is less than three miles, with an elevation of roughly 1,000 feet. Eat a snack on picnic tables at the top of the trail. Or grab lunch at Wolfgang Puck’s Cafe at the End of the Universe located in the Observatory. Beware of crowds on the weekends (the trail is a popular destination), the sun on a hot day (hydrate and wear sun screen), and horse poop.

Or, hike to the Observatory from another direction. Start the two-mile loop atFerndell Gardens (scroll down for parking directions), breezing by a shady fern and succulent-lined brook, past stone retaining walls, and over footbridges. Continue along a dusty road through chaparral to the Observatory. Grab some pre- or post-hike grub at The Trails Cafe. The trail is well-traveled on the weekend, so beware of crowds. Morning or late afternoon hiking is best on hot days. Dogs are welcome

For an easier Griffith Park hike, try the Fern Canyon Trail. Park at the the first Merry-Go-Round parking lot and head beyond the t-bar gate. The  trail goes uphill and passes the old zoo. You will most likely see people-friendly gophers, squirrels, and woodpeckers along the way, as well as picnic tables for your snack-time use. Trail length varies depending on which way you choose to walk. Enjoy views of Glendale and Pasadena at the top of the full 400-foot elevation trail.

2. Franklin Canyon Park – Beverly Hills
2600 Franklin Canyon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.858.7272
Directions
Park Hours: Daily, sunrise to sunset
Dogs on leashes allowed

Why is this area such a favorite? The Sooky Goldman Nature Center, duck pond, reservoir, and traditional kish (Tongva hut) might have something to do with it. Add the fact that it’s 605 acres big and has five miles of trails to explore, and, well, you get the idea. Trails vary from simple to moderately strenuous. Favorites include the roughly two-mile Hastain Trail (which has been in the news this last year) with elevations that often offer an ocean view on a clear day. The trail head can be reached by entering the park from either Beverly Hills or the Valley, and heading south on Lake Drive. Two trail heads and parking are available on the left side. Or meander around Franklin Canyon Lake (the opening sequence of the Andy Griffith Show was filmed here).  Kids of all ages can also enjoy an easy stroll around Heavenly Pond with its ducks and sometimes noisy bullfrogs. Thistrail map might help orient you, as will an initial visit to the Nature Center (310.858.7272, ext. 131).

Note: Be sure to stop at all stop signs in the park, to avoid unpleasant surprises in the mail a few weeks later!

3. Temescal Gateway Park – Pacific Palisades
15601 Sunset Blvd.
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
310.454.1395
Directions
Park Hours: Every day, dawn to dusk
Dogs on leashes allowed

Easy to get to and bursting with things to see and do, Temescal Gateway Park is a simple and satisfying destination. Popular trails include the four-mile Temescal Canyon Loop complete with ocean views, seasonal waterfall, and rock “climbing.” Or park in the first lot as you enter the park (closest to Sunset Blvd.) and chart your own route along the creek. Have lunch or a snack at the big tree with platform for seating.

4. Topanga Canyon State Park
20829 Entrada Road
Topanga Canyon, CA 90290
310.455.2465
Directions

Park Hours: 8:00am – sunset
Parking: $4
Dogs not allowed on trails.

Considered “the largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city,” Topanga Canyon State Park offers acres to explore (14,000 to be exact). Park at Trippet Ranch (map) and start off on several fascinating trails. For the adventurous, try the four- to five-mile (depending on how you go) loop around Eagle Rock (seephotos). The trailhead is at the southeast corner of the Trippet Ranch parking lot. Or meander through lush meadows (especially after our rainy season) on the shorter Musch Trail. While there are several ways to access Topanga Canyon trails, Trippet Ranch is a favorite as it provides picnic tables, information, and restrooms (phew).

5. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
4100 South La Cienega
Los Angeles, CA 90056
323.298.3660
Directions
Park Hours: Daily 6am – sunset
Parking: $6 on weekends and holidays, free on weekdays
Dogs on leashes allowed

Another multi-activity destination, Kenneth Hahn not only has trails to explore but also delights with playgrounds, a duck pond, playing fields, and lots of open green space. This is a great hiking or walking spot if you have young kids. Trails are more like walking paths, and you can walk for as little or as much as you like, with a place to picnic and run around once you’re done. Trail maps are not available online but can be found in the park office, located in the second parking lot on the right (after passing the entrance kiosk). The office is open daily from 8:30am-5:00pm.

6. Palos Verdes/South Bay Destinations
White Point Nature Preserve
1600 West Paseo del Mar
San Pedro, CA 90731
310.561.0917
Preserve open daily from sunrise to sunset
Free Parking
Dogs on leashes allowed

In addition to an education center, the Preserve offers 102 acres of restored land and miles of hiking areas. Have a look at the trail maps and descriptions to find one that suits your family. The education center is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 10:00am-4:00pm. (Map)

Those in the Palos Verdes “hiking know” also recommend the Palos Verdes Views trail. This pleasant 1.6 mile romp offers a stunning look at Catalina Island, and sometimes even San Nicholas Island, 70 miles from shore. Park at Del Cerro Park (where Crenshaw Blvd. ends in Palos Verdes) and head to the gate at the very end of Crenshaw. Beyond the gate, follow the fire road. Dogs are allowed on leashes, but beware of tics.

7. Orange County
Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
28373 Alicia Parkway
Laguna Niguel, CA 92677
Directions
949.923.2200
Open 7am – sunset
Parking: $3
Dogs on leashes allowed

A fun and doable family walk is Dripping Cave. This moderate five-mile loop brings you to a cavernous space where stagecoach robbers actually hid out and stashed their goods years ago; burn marks from their fires are still visible. Park in the main parking area. The trail head is just beyond the picnic area.

Crystal Cove State Park – Orange County
8471 North Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Directions
949.494.3539
Dogs on leashes are allowed on multi-use trails, but not on backcountry trails or beaches.

(Due to rain and erosion, the back country trails have been temporarily closed. Call ahead to determine when trails reopen.)

Seventeen miles of hiking trails through 2,400 acres of native wilderness? Yes, please! Choose from a variety of mild to strenuous trails and loops that offer ocean views, riparian woodlands, and the splendor of Morro Creek. Start or end the day (depending on the tides) combing the tide pools. Take a peak at the many historic cottages lining the coast. Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner at theBeachcomber Cafe. The cafe offers shuttle service from the Los Trancos parking lot. Parking is $15.

Thanks to the Orange County Hiking Club, detailed descriptions and photos of several other area hikes can be found for your consideration.

Self-led hikes mean you can go at your own convenience and pace; but if a docent-led group hike also appeals, have a look at these organizations that offer regular walks and hikes for kids…

1. Children’s Nature Institute
For more than 25 years this local non-profit has provided walks and classes all around the LA area that encourage kids ages eight and younger to explore the natural world, to wonder, touch, feel, and to ask, ‘Why?” Check out the group’s calendar for upcoming Family Nature Walks as well as the Tykes on Trailsprogram.

2. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Outings abound throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. Choose from a Porch Talk with a Ranger on a variety of topics (they serve hot chocolate), a Full Moon Hike or A Family Nature Walk (to name just a few). Click on the interactiveOUTDOORS Calendar of Events for more information. Or browse their catalog for more ideas that might fit your schedule. Kids 8-13 might also be interested in becoming a Junior Ranger.

This article originally posted on Mommy Poppins: http://la.mommypoppins.com/lakids/10-best-los-angeles-area-hikes-with-kids

Skype personal training

People come up with a lot of excuses not to workout… no time, travel frequently, don’t like the gym atmosphere…  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to workout ANYWAY?!

A few months ago I joined a company, http://helpyougetstarted.com/, that does Skype personal training.  Yes, you read that right – Personal Training via Skype.  I just finished my first workout and I think it went great.  She’s going to be blogging about it too, so I’ll post that once it’s up.  But I ran through a typical first session with the physical assessment and first workout movements – she had good form and worked up a sweat in the 30 minutes.

Don’t you hate us trainers… you want to keep coming up with reasons why you can’t workout and we keep coming up with these great solutions to help you stay healthy and active?!

This is not just a great tool for exercise new comers, it’s perfect for frequent travelers, moms, dads, workaholics, and the super duper lazy (you know who you are 😉  I have had so many clients say how much they love that I come to their homes because they can’t escape our session and this is even easier!

AND it’s not just for training… you knew this was coming, right? As I always say, working out is only half of the journey.  Changing your behaviors and eating habits is just as important and oftentimes the more challenging part.  Meeting me at the local coffee place or chatting with me on Skype is just as helpful to discuss all the tools to help you create the new you (and maybe even better because you can be in your pi’s…?)

Wait… and the best part is that this makes personal training available to just about anyone!  If you don’t have access to decent gym facilities or qualified personal trainers – this service puts both of the necessities at your fingertips (literally!).  I always say we are so inundated here in los angeles that we sometimes forget there is a significant part of the country that doesn’t have access to 10 different pilates and/or cardio ballet classes all within 3 miles of their house and those are the individuals who really need the most attention.

Skype with you soon!!

There is no magic pill!

I literally cannot beleive this article I just read.  I am not even going to post the link to the article on my facebook page as I normally do to share new and/or intresteting articles I come across.  This one I will post here with the most outlandish sentences sprinkled with lots of question marks as to why are these researchers wasting their time creating these drugs (aside from the mass amounts of money they will potentially make) when they could be curing cancer…??

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times – There is no magic pill!  When you read the excerpts below, if you could explain to me why people would accept the certain and even worse potential side effects just so they don’t have to go for a 30 minute walk everyday or eat some more fruits and veggies, thanks in advance!

Here it is:

“A panel of outside experts to the FDA voted 20-2 to recommend approval of Qnexa, saying they were convinced that the benefits it offers in treating obesity outweighed the potential heart risks and birth defects associated with the drug.”  Hello, does anyone remember “fen-phen” the weight loss drug from about a decade ago that killed and harmed numerous individuals…?  We didn’t learn our lesson then?  How can the benefits outweigh the risks when its a voluntary drug regimen?

“Panelists did say Vivus should conduct a study on possible heart problems and supported the company’s plan to limit its use to women who are not pregnant.”  Why is this even necessary?  Why would a pregnant woman need or want to be on a weight loss pill?

“I would say not treating obesity is not risk neutral. We have few treatments for obesity for those who don’t respond to lifestyle treatments.” This quote from Dr. Susan Yanovski, an advisory panel member and director of the obesity and eating disorders program at the National Institutes of Health.  So, the plan if you cannot figure out a way to eat less and move a little more is to take a pill for an undetermined amount of time…?  All i have to say is, DIG DEEPER!  Why aren’t these individuals responding to lifestyle treatments?! Seriously experts, this is plan B?

My favorite part is when the article explains that one of the risks of obesity is heart disease, but one of the risk of the “magic pill” is “heart risks” so you either way you’re going to have a heart problem.  I guess you’re skinny with a heart problem so at least you’ve got that…?!

So, what is our magic pill made out of? “Qnexa, which combines the appetite suppressant phentermine and anti-seizure drug topiramate,” Anti-seizure medication, does that even sound like a good idea…?

“patients taking the drug had more safety problems, including memory loss and higher heart rates, than those on a placebo, and some of these problems could get worse over time.”  Heart problems and memory loss… wait, but you’re skinny – even trade?

Read enough? I just don’t understand… Your health is your health and that is all that is important.  And by the way, the pill does not improve your cardiovascular fitness (makes your heart stronger), your muscle strength, or flexibility – all of which are significant predictors in long term health.  So, the question is, how much are those skinny jeans worth?

If you can stomach reading the whole article, visit: http://health.yahoo.net/news/s/nm/u-s-advisers-back-experimental-obesity-pill

5 Fitness Classes for $37!

Get this Living Social Deal while it lasts!  Only 3 more day left to buy 5 T.O.T. Fitness classes for just $37, that’s half off the regular price!

Click on the link below to buy:

http://www.livingsocial.com/deals/148331-five-fitness-classes

 

It’s not just a workout…

It’s playtime for your little one

Its a time to teach your child the importance of health and fitness

It’s a chance to meet other moms and babies

It’s an opporutnity to enjoy the beautiful weather outside

It’s a great workout designed to help moms regain strenght, both inside and out to feel good about their bodies!

 

Join us!  Fun, Fitness, and Family – what more could you ask for??