How's sha cuttin'? What's the craic? Hard to believe that we're coming up on another St. Paddy's Day, lads and lassies! Of course, with the fish'n'chips, shepherd's pie and all-important pints of green Guinness comes the need to get a little exercise, and work off those calories. Fortunately, whether you live near the green hills of Simi Valley, the rugged coastline of Newport Beach or even the vast desert of Joshua Tree, there are plenty of great hiking trails where you can enjoy Mother Nature's creations, and keep your figure in the bargain! Here, in order of difficulty, are ten hikes for burning St. Patrick's Day calories - all with free parking and no permits required.
10) Schabarum/Lemon Avenue Loop. Single-track, bridle paths and city streets make up this loop in the hills of Walnut, featuring nice views of the San Gabriels and the inland valley.
9) Diemer/Little Canyon Loop. This 5-mile plus loop in Chino Hills State Park features several steep ascents and descents, taking in both the quiet of Telegraph Canyon and the wide views of the South Ridge Trail.
8) Haskell Canyon. Steep ascents and descents are found on this short but challenging loop, which provides nice views of the Santa Clarita area and the northwest corner of the San Gabriels.
7) Turtle Rock/French Hill. Although this loop never gets too far away from civilization, the steep ascents and descents and interesting geology of Turtle Rock give it a surprisingly rugged feel.
6) Hummingbird Trail. Sandstone caves and wide views of the San Fernando Valley and Santa Susana pass are among the visual rewards while climbing this steep, often rugged trail. If you've REALLY had a few too many, you can burn even more calories by continuing on to Rocky Peak.
5) La Ronda/Whispering Hills Loop. This six-mile double loop features several of San Juan Capistrano's city recreational trails. Views of the ocean and the Santa Ana Mountains are among the scenic highlights.
4) Mesa Peak from Corral Canyon. This hike features one of the more rugged and scenic stretches of the Backbone Trail, with lots of interesting geology, views of Malibu Creek State Park and more.
3) Warren Peak. In the northwestern corner of Joshua Tree National Park, Warren Peak features great desert and mountain views. It's only an hour or so from San Bernardino and Riverside, and easily doable as a day trip from L.A.
2) Simi Peak. With great views of the Thousand Oaks area and the ocean, plus scenic China Flat, this challenging hike provides plenty of rewards for the effort.
1) Mt. Bliss. This one is hard, no two ways about it. Ascending nearly 3,000 vertical feet, it will surely help you work off a pint or two. But on a cool, clear day, the views are great - the ocean, San Jacinto Peak, the Santa Monica Mountains, Catalina Island and downtown L.A. are just part of what you will see.
And if these aren't enough of a challenge, the list from last year and 2011 have also been included. Now tear your hole off the haggart and hit the trails!