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Ten romantic hikes and nature walks for Valentine's Day 2014

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Sunsets. Walks along the beach. Flowers. These are staples of any romantic evening--and they also just happen to be things you might find in the natural areas and along the hiking trails in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. There's nothing wrong with dinner and a movie but this Valentine's Day, why not get outdoors? Here are ten ideas for romantic nature walks and hiking destinations right here in our backyard.

Badlands Park
Badlands Park David Lockeretz

Badlands Park

A park named "Badlands" might not sound like a very romantic destination, but this open space in south Orange County offers excellent ocean views and great sunsets.  Add in its proximity to nearby shopping, entertainment and dining and it can make a perfect stop for Valentine's Day.  Click here for more information.

Dana Point Sea Caves
Dana Point Sea Caves David Lockeretz

Dana Point Sea Caves

History, geology and oceanography all meet at Dana Point, home of tidepools and sea caves: a thinking person's walk along the beach.  Click here for more information.

Latigo Canyon
Latigo Canyon David Lockeretz

Latigo Canyon

In the hills above Malibu, this isolated stretch of the Backbone Trail offers some valuable peace and quiet, only an hour or so from downtown L.A. and even closer to the Valley.  Thick oak woodlands and ocean views are among the highlights.

Paradise Falls
Paradise Falls David Lockeretz

Paradise Falls

With a name like Paradise Falls, how can you go wrong?  This stream-fed waterfall is the centerpiece of popular Wildwood Park, conveniently located near Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley.

Paramount Ranch
Paramount Ranch David Lockeretz

Paramount Ranch

This hike offers a twist on "dinner and a movie" by visiting a site that used to be a regular on the big screen.  Paramount Ranch is now open to the public with several miles of hiking trails for exploration - plus Western Town, a movie set saved from the property's early years.

Portuguese Bend Overlook
Portuguese Bend Overlook David Lockeretz

Portuguese Bend Overlook

With some of Southern California's best coastal views, it's no wonder that the Portuguese Bend Overlook is so popular.  The easy 1.5-mile round trip hike is a perfect prelude to dinner at one of the Palos Verdes Peninsula's posh restaurants.

Potrero John
Potrero John David Lockeretz

Potrero John

This one may be a little out of the way - but for Casanovas in Santa Barbara and Ventura, it's worth the visit.  The Potrero John trail follows a creek through the remote Los Padres National Forest, passing through secluded canyons and open fields.

Trebek Oepn Space
Trebek Oepn Space David Lockeretz

Trebek Oepn Space

Donated by the host of "Jeopardy!", this park in the Hollywood Hills provides great views of L.A. and doesn't have the crowds of nearby Griffith Park.  What is the Trebek Open Space?

West Horsethief/Trabuco Canyon
West Horsethief/Trabuco Canyon David Lockeretz

West Horsethief/Trabuco Canyon

Orange County lovers with a sense of adventure - and four wheel drive - might want to put a rugged twist on Valentine's Day by visiting Trabuco Canyon, one of the most remote spots in the Santa Ana Mountains.  Huge oaks and sycamores shade the canyon and almost all signs of civilization are lost.  Whether you explore just the bottom of the canyon or tackle the entire 10-mile loop up to Main Divide Road, a visit to Trabuco Canyon is sure to put a unique touch on Valentine's Day. 

Zuma Canyon
Zuma Canyon David Lockeretz

Zuma Canyon

Framed by towering mountains, quiet Zuma Canyon is one of Malibu's best kept secrets--proof positive that not all of the scenery in this town comes on the beach.

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