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Map of the Day: National Trails In & Near Los Angeles

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Detail of the National Trails Map (download the full map here) Note: this map does not show National Recreation Trails


Detail of the National Trails Map (download the full map here) Note: this map does not show National Recreation Trails
Locally, we've got trails maintained by the city, county and state governments. But one of the lesser known functions of the National Park Service is their National Trails System, which self described as "the network of scenic, historic, and recreation trails created by the National Trails System Act of 1968."

Ten of those trails run through and completely within California with four of them in the Los Angeles region (note that not all are marked on the above map). Here's a little info on each:

Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail: Probably the most well known of the group, this trail runs east of Los Angeles along the San Bernardino and Angeles National Forests. From top to bottom, it runs 2,650 miles total from Mexico to Canada and it takes thru-hikers (those completing the entire trail in one season) six months on average to complete. Most of those hikers begin in April, ending in September. Of course, the trail is used by day hikers and even section hikers, who do are working to completing the whole trail in large chunks over time. More info can be found on the trail's official page and non profit page.

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Mountains to Sea National Recreation Trail: In 2006, twenty four national recreation trails were designated by then Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. This 22-mile trail, not marked in the above map, in Orange County was one of them. Managed by the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve Trust (here's their website and map for the trail) and is sort of a suburbia meets natural/wilderness areas available for hiking, walking, running, biking and horseback riding.

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail: You cannot necessarily hike this 1,210-mile trail from historic trail from Nogales, Arizona to San Francisco. The trail commemorates the route Spanish Captain Juan Bautista de Anza and 30 families took to build the Mission and Presidio of San Francisco. There's a great county-by-county guide that gives you driving directions, small recreational trails and points of interest.

Old Spanish National Historic Trail: LIke Juan Bautista, this 1,200 mile trail between Santa Fe and the San Gabriel Mission immediately east of Los Angeles is also historic and not meant to be hiked from end to end (rather use your car). A non profit association explains some basics behind its history: "The year 1829 marked the first commercial use of the trail when Mexican trader Antonio Armijo first led a mule caravan from Santa Fe to the San Gabriel Mission (near Los Angeles). This successful commercial venture led to annual mule caravans traversing the trail for the next 20 years."