"The dry weather in January has created some of the best hiking conditions imaginable in the Redwood Empire of Northern California," award-winning outdoors writer Tom Stienstra observes in the Jan. 25th San Francisco Chronicle.
Even though many people pick mid-January for three-day ski trips to Tahoe, he says, the best getaways out there right now are on the coast. For hiking anywhere in America at the moment, the best of the best is in California.
Here are excerpts from his top five best hikes -- four in Humboldt County -- right now on California's North Coast:
"In Fern Canyon, you walk along a creek, edged on both sides by nearly vertical walls of ferns, one of the most heart-touching spots in Northern California.
"On the Boy Scout Tree Trail, you hike amid giant old-growth redwoods for hours, with the chance to find a hidden waterfall.
"At Trinidad Head, a short walk will lead you to an ocean overlook where it seems you can see to the edge of the world -- as well as spot the puff-of-smoke spouts from passing whales."
For the complete hike list -- which includes Redwood Creek and Lost Coast Trail -- as well as the 'Bests' of the Redwood Empire, read the entire Chronicle story.