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Top Trails Los Angeles Paperback – March 30, 2004

4 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Series: Top Trails
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Wilderness Press (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899973477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899973470
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,892,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I'm always happy to find another book by Jerry Schad. I have used his trail guides to enrich my life in Southern California for many years. He is an established Wilderness Press author and was the natural choice for the Los Angeles edition of the new "Top Trails" hiking series.
The purpose of the "Top Trails" series is provide a list of "must do" trails in various regions of California. Editor Joseph Walowski conceived the series and provided a very useful schema for locating trails and assessing their difficulty. People looking for an easy stroll, a strenuous workout, or child-friendly outdoor locations will find this guide very useful. By and large, Jerry Schad's selection of hikes meets the goals of the series. He includes nice waterfalls, easy (and not so easy) peaks, and terrific bike paths. Also, there was surprisingly little overlap with Schad's '101 Hikes in Southern California.' Even hiking enthusiasts will find something new here.
Readers should be aware of a couple of flaws in the text. On page 9 Schad says that there are no trail quotas for any of the hikes in the book. While generally true, that statement does not apply to the Vivian Creek trail up San Gorgonio Peak. The Forest Service issues only a limited number of permits and weekends can be booked for more than a month in advance. On a broader level, this book really does not do the San Bernardino National Forest trails justice. Schad includes only 3 hikes in this region. Many more deserve mention. The Grandview Point Trail and Gray's Peak Trail near Big Bear are among the most scenic trails in Southern California. Taquitz Peak and the Desert View Nature Trail on Mt. San Jacinto also deserve inclusion in a book like this. To Schad's credit, however, no one will be disappointed by any of the hikes he listed. Get the book and have fun.
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Of the three hiking books I have, this is the best. The other two I have are "Hiking Southern California" and "Afoot & Afield in Los Angeles County."

The hikes listed in this book are pretty good. However, the author doesn't rate them (such as 1-5 stars), which would be convenient. Yes, this rating would be subjective, but since the author is knowledgeable enough to write a book on these hikes, I think his rating would be worth including and would assist in choosing which hikes to do.

The most useful pages in picking out a hike are the area summary pages, which list hike type (loop or out & back), distance, difficulty (1-5), among many many other important features of a hike. To find hikes that you can see trails for on the map but are not explicitly listed in this book, check out localhikes . com, which is a nice supplement. The maps are lacking on that site, meaning this book and that site complement each other well.

On another note, if you do get this book, be sure to read the Camping/Permits section at the beginning of the book. An investment of $30 to get an annual National Forest Adventure Pass is worth the hikes in these areas.
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I'm basically in agreement with the reviewers before me, so I won't repeat everything they said. This is a solid hiking book, and you really can't go wrong with it.

If I were to nitpick, and I will, a few of his hikes are barely hikes at all. (See Point Dume, for example). I think the author is trying to cover a very wide audience, and so he includes hikes for the elderly or those with children. That's a fair decision, and I won't criticize that, but I belong to neither of those groups -- so some of the easier hikes were a little too easy.

That being said, I'm really just nitpicking. There's something in this book for everyone, and I highly recommend it, particularly if you're a new hiker or new to the area.
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