This weekend many glasses will be raised throughout Los Angeles in honor of St. Patrick's Day. The festivities come, of course, with the unenviable task of burning off the calories of the contents of said glasses (the assumption most beverages consumed will be of the alcoholic variety.) The good news is that while Los Angeles might not have the dazzling green fields of Ireland, there are quite a few beautiful spots in which one can work off their St. Patrick's Day intake while enjoying some scenery. Here are ten scenic and challenging hikes from Santa Barbara to San Diego where you can work off your debt to caloric society and actually enjoy doing it.
#10) Tin Mine Canyon
It starts off as a suburban walk near Corona in Riverside County but soon enters a surprisingly rugged woodland where scrambling over rocks and boulders, while climbing over 600 feet, is guaranteed to work off a Guinness or two. More information: here.
#9) Santa Susana Pass
Local history and geology meet at this spot on the edge of the San Fernando Valley, where a steady climb provides panoramic views of the area. More information: here.
#8) Summit to Summit Motorway
This 3-plus mile fire road provides a good workout in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains with panoramic views of Topanga and Malibu Creek. More information and photos, here.
#7) Mentally Sensitive Trail
It might have an amusing name but this trail--which climbs almost 800 feet in 3/4 of a mile--means business. More information and photos, here.
#6) Big "C" Trail
The big "C" on the side of Box Springs Mountain near Riverside can be reached with this short--but very steep--hike, described here.
#5) Santa Ysabel Open Space
It may be a bit of a drive, but the Santa Ysabel Open Space in San Diego County near Julian is worth it. With open fields, pines, oaks and panoramic views, this 7-plus mile loop is about as enjoyable a way to burn calories as can be imagined.
#4) Romero Canyon Loop
We haven't forgotten about you, Area Code 805. This hike near Santa Barbara is a great workout with a lot of scenery to enjoy--ocean views, mountains, secluded woodlands and more.
#3) Arroyo Conejo/Lynnmere Loop
Speaking of the 805, Thousand Oaks residents are lucky to live near the and scenically varied Arroyo Conejo and Lynnmere Trails. While a suburban hike in nature, this 7-plus mile trip features geology, canyons and even a small seasonal waterfall--plenty to keep you busy while you work off that corned beef.
#2) Zanja Peak (west approach)
Zanja Peak, the highest of the Crafton Hills near San Bernardino, offers plenty of scenic and challenging options for climbing. The route from the west, checking in at more than 8 miles, is sure to burn off a Harp or Bass Ale or two.
#1) San Clemente Loop
Compared to the other hikes on this list, this one definitely feels less rugged, but at more than 10 miles, it's certainly the most challenging workout. The scenic rewards include ocean and mountain views and a nice aerial perspective on the suburbs of south Orange County. More photos and information: here.