The Top 7 Trail To Peak Moments From 2015

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2015 has been an incredible year here at Trail to Peak. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and explore the Southwestern United States like never before. My year started with the 52 Hike Challenge, and I set a goal to get out and explore each and every week. It made for a lot of exciting times with Julia, Isla, and Lilly. 2016 is going to be another incredible year, and I look forward to sharing some of the exciting things in store for Trail to Peak. For now, I give you the top 7 Trail to Peak moments from 2015!!

7.) Mt. Baldy Overnighter For Summer Solstice

Starting with a visit to Stonehenge in 2012 for Summer Solstice, I’ve made it a point to get out and celebrate the start of summer each and every year. The sun reaches it’s greatest height for Summer Solstice, and this is also the day on the calendar with the most daylight. ย I took Julia, Isla, and Lilly up to the summit of Mt. Baldy to enjoy Summer Solstice for 2015.

Mt. Baldy Summit Camping
Summer Solstice

6.) 4th Of July On Cucamonga Peak

Camping at the summit of Cucamonga Peak has become somewhat of a Trail to Peak tradition for the 4th of July. Camping up at 8,900ft with a birds eye view of Southern California is pretty tough to beat. We had another clear night in 2015, and were able to see the fireworks all the way down to Disneyland. This was also the first year we had a crowd, it was a party-like atmosphere with 20 or so tents. Some of the people at the summit had first read about enjoying The 4th on Cucamonga Peak from this very blog!

Top 10 Trail to Peak Moments From 2015
Cucamonga Peak Overnighter for 4th of July

5.) Adopting Lilly And Taking Her On Her First Hikes

Looking back, it’s amazing to think that Lilly joined team Trail to Peak in 2015. It feels like she’s been with us for so much longer. We adopted Lilly from a pretty rough situation in February of this year. She had a bit of a health struggle early on, but is now at full health and dominating the trails. The picture below is from her first weekend with us and only her second hike. You can see how happy Isla was to finally have a sister.

Lilly's First Weekend With As Part Of A Family
Lilly’s First Weekend As Part Of A Family

4.) Visiting The Mighty 5, Utah’s 5 National Parks

Visiting Southern Utah had been on my bucket list for a few years. I finally checked it off over Thanksgiving break. Getting to explore Utah’s 5 National Parks, made for a week I’ll never forget. I hiked Angels Landing in Zion, saw the hoodoos in Bryce, passed under a natural bridge at Capitol Reef, bathed in the never ending beauty of Arches, and saw the sunrise over Mesa Arch in Canyonlands. If you’ve never seen these parks, make sure to add them to your list for 2016.

Canyonlands National Park: Sunrise At Mesa Arch, Upheaval Dome, and White Rim Overlook
Sunrise At Mesa Arch

3.) Hiking The Trans-Catalina Trail

Catalina Island is only a short boat ride from Long Beach. Living in Southern California, it’s only two hours away, yet we forget how close it is and how easy it is to visit. Julia and I made up for that in February of 2015, by hiking across the entire island on the Trans-Catalina Trail.

Hiking The Trans-Catalina Trail
Hiking The Trans-Catalina Trail

2.) Completing A Rim to Rim to Rim Hike Of The Grand Canyon

In 2014, Julia and I hiked from the South Rim to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and vowed to return to complete the full Rim to Rim to Rim hike. We made it happen despite a little rain and an injury to Julia’s foot. It wasn’t easy, but was it ever worth it. I’ll never grow tired of the incredible views to be found in the Grand Canyon. I think this is going to be one of those trips we end up taking every year.

Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim Hike
A View From The North Rim

1.) Hiking The Entire John Muir Trail In July

My favorite Trail to Peak moment from 2015 was thru-hiking the John Muir Trail. Looking back, this might be my favorite Trail to Peak moment ever. Covering 222 scenic miles through the most beautiful mountains in my home state made for a summer I’m sure to never forget. Julia and I started in Yosemite and forged countless memories on our way to summiting Mt. Whitney two weeks later. The John Muir Trail has my heart, and I’ll be sure to return soon.

Top 10 Trail to Peak Moments From 2015
Thousand Island Lake JMT


Trail to Peak in November’s GQ Magazine

A Hike To Potato Mountain via Evey Canyon


34 thoughts on “The Top 7 Trail To Peak Moments From 2015”

  1. Muir is definitely on my list of todos, and I’ll have to add the Rim to Rim to Rim hike, that sounds great. With the National Park Service Centennial this year the 5 parks in Utah is on my list for 2016. I can’t wait for all the adventures 2016 brings, happy New Year and I hope you have a lot in store for 2016!

  2. What a year you had! I am very envious of all the incredible hiking you did, and so I plan on doing something about it. Matt and I will be applying for a JMT permit in the next 2-3 weeks. Thanks for your wonderful JMT posts and pics that helped encourage us to do so!

    • Thanks! Good luck with the JMT permit, that is the most difficult part ๐Ÿ™‚ When are you guys thinking of walking? I might be back on the trail this summer. If I can’t get a SOBO permit, I might head north.

      • We are hoping to head south from Yosemite in the second week of July. Our ideal start date is around July 10th or so, but we will start applying for the 6th knowing how difficult the process can be. We are much slower hikers than you, so we are planning to spend about three weeks on the trail. It would be really fun to pass each other on the trail!
        A few questions: Where did you leave your car in Lone Pine while you were hiking? Did you book your bus tickets to Yosemite in advance or buy then on the bus? Was it difficult to get around Yosemite without a car or did you not really need to?

        • That was our plan from last year! We started on the 9th and it worked out really well. We ended up getting hit with a couple of storms, but I think the early July start was still a good plan. Three weeks is the perfect amount of time on the trail. It will allow you to really enjoy each one of the sites your camp at.

          We left our car at the long term parking lot of the Dow Villa Motel, and took a shuttle up to Yosemite. You can find the schedules online. The first is an Eastern Sierra Transit shuttle from Lone Pine to Mammoth. Then you take the Yosemite Yarts bus from Mammoth to Yosemite Valley. It stops in Tuolumne first if you need to stop off there. Another option is to park at Whitney Portal. We opted against that to avoid any problems with marmots or bears ๐Ÿ™‚

          We purchased our shuttle tickets on the bus, but called in advance. A reservation was not needed. It’s really easy to get around Yosemite without a car, as they have a shuttle system running in the summer to get you where you need to go. The longest we waited for a shuttle was 5 minutes. The only downside is it feels like a zoo! You’ll get to enjoy the solitude of the wilderness in the days ahead though ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know if you have any other questions.

          • Thanks so much for your detailed reply. We start applying for permits tomorrow and are really crossing our fingers we will get one over the course of the next week. How many times did you have to apply last year before you were successful? I read in your last JMT post that you hitched back to your car in Lone Pine. Was it tough to find a ride? Are bears and marmots a big concern at Whitney Portal?

            • No problem! Good luck with your permit applications. We had to send in applications for 8 days! We both used hellofax each night to send our requests in. We started getting discouraged, but were lucky to grab a spot towards the end of our window.

              It was really easy to hitch a ride from WP. We grabbed a burger and fries at the store, and then asked around when we finished. The first people we asked said yes. You can also schedule a ride with a local shuttle ( We used Kurt Power and he was great.

              I don’t think bears and Marmots are a big deal at the Portal. Our actual reason was that we worked the day before we started our trip, and didn’t get into Lone Pine until 1 am. It made more sense for our planning and logistics to just park in Lone Pine. Had we not been able to hitch a ride, I’m sure my feelings would have been different ๐Ÿ™‚ So many people are hiking Whitney at that time of year, that you’ll have plenty of fellow hikers to ask.

              • Eight days…that’s good to know before heading into this that it could be a while before we are finally successful, if ever. At this point, we have done so much research (including reading all of your daily posts today!) that we will be really disappointed if we aren’t able to make it work. I hope the trail guides are on our side!

                • I hope so as well! It was stressful and discouraging on those mornings when we realized we’d have to wait another day. The end result made it all worth it though. Luckily, it’s easier to get a permit for 2, than it is for those seeking groups of 4-8. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

    • Thank you! I hope your 2016 has gotten off to a nice start! I took two weeks off to begin the year, but took my first hike of the year yesterday. It felt good to get back on the trail. Any special plans for 2016?

      • I’m going to try to do the 52 hike challenge this year, and the Camino from Santander to Oviedo. I’m itching to get back in the mountains though…hope next weekend. Looking forward to reading about the first hike ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Great highlights! Any big or repeat hikes planned for 2016? I recently applied for a Mt. Whitney permit through the lottery. I haven’t hiked the Baldy area due to lack of experience and equipment and with the frequent amount of rescues it seems to be a good idea.

    • Thanks, Gary! We’re thinking of heading back out to Catalina for the TCT this weekend. Other than that, I’m not quite sure. Awesome that you applied for a Whitney permit, I need to do the same. That’s a great hike. I also need to apply for Half Dome. Good call on avoiding Baldy over the winter. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but a two people have died and a lot of people have been injured in the last three weeks due to extremely icy conditions. I’ve been avoiding the high peaks and sticking to lower elevation hikes. Spring is almost here!


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