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Hiking in California without a car? (Other options?)

1214mom1214mom 5375 replies197 threads Senior Member
edited September 2019 in Parent Cafe
My son and his GF are wanting to go to CA or somewhere else in November where they can easily hike without a car. I think they could do San Francisco and have enough to do. How about San Diego? Any other options? (Albuquerque, Phoenix, Denver (too cold?) ???). They will be coming from the East coast, so want a place not to hard to get to. I am guessing it would be 4-7 days. They are looking for day hikes only, not overnights. they are fairly adventurous and not opposed to taking public transportation. I am on vacation myself and don't have much access so I may not respond until tomorrow, but appreciate any suggestions.
ETA they would like to visit a national park as part of this trip. I know there are trips you can take from SF to Yosemite, but I'm thinking the national park criteria may be a little less realistic.
edited September 2019
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Replies to: Hiking in California without a car? (Other options?)

  • showmom858showmom858 3178 replies16 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    If they decide to do San Diego there are hikes they could take, but they would need to use Uber/Lyft to get to the places to hike and back to where they are staying. They could hike Torrey Pines, Mission Trails/Cowles Mountain, Potato Chip Rock and Iron Mountain. Is there a reason they don't want to rent a car?
    edited September 2019
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  • washugradwashugrad 1161 replies13 threads Senior Member
    FYI the rainy season in SF starts in November. They could have nice weather or it could be rainy. What about flying into Las Vegas (caveat - i'm not sure about their November weather) and hiking Red Rock canyon and looking into some transportation to Zion NP?
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  • washugradwashugrad 1161 replies13 threads Senior Member
    I just googled... Las Vegas in November sounds really pleasant, not much rain yet, and there are private shuttles that run to Zion NP (I didn't check cost). At Zion they have a shuttle that runs all over the park (check that it's still running in November though). Lots of gorgeous hiking there. It will be cold at night but they aren't getting much precipitation that month.
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  • IgloooIglooo 9233 replies226 threads Senior Member
    Zion shuttle stops running sometime in October. The town also runs shuttle in the town, outside the park when the park shuttle runs. You could do totally without a car during the season. There are other wonderful national parks in CA other than Yosemite. Not sure tho if you can get by without a car.
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  • SybyllaSybylla 5059 replies60 threads Senior Member
    Why can't they hire a car?
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  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner 41472 replies480 threads Senior Member
    My vote is for Dan Diego in November! :)
    Getting to Torrey Pines in La Jolla should be quite doable by bus/Uber, I think. Last time we were there, we stayed at the Hilton next to the golf course, and there was a bus that ran on the street in front of the hotel. We walked from the hotel to the hiking trail. But they will need to get to La Jolla from the airport...
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  • esobayesobay 1384 replies20 threads Senior Member
    San Francisco best in October, often some of the best weather.
    If you google alltrails ...... or fix the link
    www.alltrails dot com/us/california/san-francisco
    It shows the many trails in SF. There is also the Bay Area Ridge Trail loop that has many miles of off road hikes accessible by bus.

    That said, we spent a week in San Diego in January (bowl game) and had a great time hiking and riding the electric scooters. There were some nice hikes accessed with busses, but some were just short hikes . Depends on if they mean HIKE hikes, or walks around nice scenery.
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  • MarilynMarilyn 4338 replies142 threads Senior Member
    If they come to San Diego and are willing to rent a car for a day, they could hike Joshua Tree National Park or Anza Borrego State Park. There’s also Cabrillo National Monument in the city with a couple of short hikes.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78477 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    edited September 2019
    Lots of nice day hikes in the Phoenix area, but really...Phoenix is a driving town. And it’s not CA...

    Agree with @Marilyn about San Diego, but really, they will likely spend as much on Uber and Lyft as they would renting a car (I made that mistake in Austin...really renting a car would have been cheaper).

    Is there any reason why they can’t rent a car? It would open up so many more options.

    If they are traveling from the east coast...in my opinion, four days isn’t enough time. They will be spending two of those days traveling. That would only leave two days in CA.
    edited September 2019
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  • 1214mom1214mom 5375 replies197 threads Senior Member
    OP here. Thanks for the suggestions.
    They are both under 25, so I suspect renting a car for the entire trip would be expensive. They could rent a car for a day or something like that. It sounds like they are really interested in the SF Bay area, as she has a friend going to grad school she’s hoping to visit. As I learn more I may be back for more suggestions.
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  • mom2andmom2and 3065 replies21 threads Senior Member
    San Francisco is a great place to visit and some accessible hiking. The area around Ocean Beach leads to Lands End and the Sutro Heights. They can also walk over the Golden Gate Bridge or take a bus and go to the Marin Headlands where there is great hiking. I remember many years about taking a bus to Stinson Beach and Mount Tam. They can also take BART to Redwood Regional Park in the East Bay. Beyond hikes and walks, it is a great area to visit. As others have said, however, November can be beautiful or rainy. Yosemite may be tough in such a short trip as it is fairly far away, but there are likely buses that go there.
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  • gosmomgosmom 2043 replies58 threads Senior Member
    adding to @mom2and 's post, the Presidio, Lands End, Marin Headlands, etc. are all part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. 140 miles of hiking https://www.nps.gov/goga/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

    Just opened in SF: https://sfist.com/2019/06/03/new-17-mile-san-francisco-crosstown-trail-connects-citys-parks-hiking-trails-and-little-known-outdoor-gems/

    Also...they could take ferry to Angel Island https://angelisland.com/top-3-hikes-on-angel-island/

    All of the above accessible by public transit. Yes, it could be rainy in November.....but guessing if they are hikers, they will be equipped. My one suggestion if they do it is to make sure maps are downloaded....connectivity is not always guaranteed in these areas! Enjoy!
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  • 1214mom1214mom 5375 replies197 threads Senior Member
    Thanks everyone, especially @gosmom, for the suggestions. I am passing them along, but have no idea if or when they will actually decide to go. It sounds like my son, who is now on his “big” vacation for the year, may be a little apprehensive about spending the additional funds. I suspect they will make the trip, but it may not be until next year, once he’s “recovered” from this vacation. For now they may decide to stay closer to home, and then plan a longer trip to CA in the spring.
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  • HImomHImom 36048 replies396 threads Senior Member
    I believe USAA car rentals have no surcharge for renters under 25, but not positive if it’s they or another company.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78477 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    Enterprise used to have no surcharge for under 25 if they were students...any chance either of these kids is a student?
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  • 1214mom1214mom 5375 replies197 threads Senior Member
    Thanks for the car rental info. Neither is a student any longer. They can and may rent a car for a day or so, but having public transportation available is their first choice.
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  • thumper1thumper1 78477 replies3537 threads Senior Member
    @1214mom

    If they are still thinking of going to SF this November, you might want to read this thread...

    https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parent-cafe/2156349-bad-plan-to-fly-into-out-of-sfo-this-month.html#latest

    They should check the status of this runway paving issue!
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  • 1214mom1214mom 5375 replies197 threads Senior Member
    Thanks @thumper1 - I saw that thread and of course thought of them. My son hasn’t mentioned the trip in a couple of days, so I haven’t either.
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  • artloversplusartloversplus 8618 replies251 threads Senior Member
    There are thousands of miles of hiking trails in the Bay Area. I am not sure where they want to start. Here is just a sample of one web site call it the "best" trails.

    https://trailtopeak.com/2018/12/10/the-10-best-hikes-in-the-bay-area/

    Regardless, you should not rent a car, because one day of hiking is nothing in the Bay Area. For example, just from my back yard, there is a 100-mile trail that can take you to Fremont and or Walnut Creek, in East Bay Regional Park. On Pennisula, you might be able to hike from SF to San Jose. Uber or Lyft is your friend, use them. Plan carefully for a week or so, stay in the hotels along the way.
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