Life, Culture and Travels from the perspective of a Cuban
Hiking in California: Affordable, Healthy and Rewarding


A couple of friends suggested to start hiking on weekends. I was excited with the idea as I usually go camping in the summer and with the move, I did not bring any camping gear with me. Day hikes are a quick and easy way to escape from the cement jungle and while visiting a different state park every Saturday you can say that you are going on an spontaneous road trip once a week.

The day of our first hike we headed to Butano State Park and got an Annual Vehicle Day Pass for $75.00 at the park entrance. There are several options for passes that can be checked at the California Parks Store website or you can simply pay for a one day visit. The day pass we purchased can be used at many state parks around the area.

There are also a few incredible Open Space Reserves that are free of charge and offer stunning views. We went for a 10-mile hike at the Purisima Creek Reserve and the photo opportunities are endless.

For those future fellow hikers I have chosen the three most useful tips in my opinion:

– The earlier you begin your hike the better. The 1 pm Californian sunshine in the middle of your hike can be tough and will keep you from enjoying the beautiful scenery. Bring layers of clothes so you are always comfortable.

– Download or use the park brochure so you can see how far you have gone and you can be informed about the wild flowers, mushrooms, banana slugs you can encounter along the trail.

– Use the bathroom right before you enter the trail. You will need to stay hydrated for a few hours so you will appreciate an empty bladder to start the road.

People seem to stay fit and active around the Bay Area. Besides the unique banana slugs that I photographed in all possible angles and the fear of crossing a mountain lion (there are detailed instructions on how to react in case you see one) there are bikers, children and group of hikers that encourage you to keep going. Everyone, no matter which age they are, seemed fitter than me.

So far, bugs have not been a problem for us. My friend keeps telling me to check for ticks so I guess Lyme Disease can be a concern in the zone.

If you are not too exhausted on your drive back from hiking, there are lots of fruit vendors to consider along the way back to the city. Fresh fruit or local honey is always a good reward after a few hours of physical activity.

Each time I have finished the day hike I have been ready for a good night sleep and sore legs next morning. Perhaps one day I will try to bike some of those trails but right now I see it very unlikely.

Also published on Medium.

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