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GREAT HIKES: Special Summer Hikes:

One of the Sierra Club’s long-standing summer hiking treats is the Pier-to-Pier Beach Walk, planned this year for August 9, starting at 9 a.m. While it may not be a traditional hike in the woods, this four-hour sandy jaunt is great fun and a great way to get connected with other moderate hikers for your own more adventurous trails.

Meet at the parking lot just north of the Santa Monica Pier, the group will head south to the Marina del Rey pier, and back via the Venice Canals. It’s eight miles round trip. Be sure to bring water, a hat, sunscreen and some cash as the group usually enjoys an optional brunch after the hike. You can get more details by calling (310) 395-9423. (The Sierra Club also offers a similar seven-mile, three-hour hike on August 16, spanning the Westward Beach to Paradise Cove.)

Another summer season group hike with a meal is the Moonrise/Sunset Walk at the Cold Creek Preserve. Departing at 6 p.m. on August 14 from the Top of Stunt Ranch, everyone is invited to bring a “goodie” to share for supper. Supervised by the Mountains Restoration Trust (310-858-7272), you’ll pick up some commanding views along the Topanga Skyline Ridge Trail. The trailhead is where Scheveren, Saddle Peak and Stunt Roads converge. Drive Topanga to Mullulland, head north to Stunt Road. Call (818) 591-1701 for details.

There are also a series of charming full moon hikes offered in mid-August. You can howl at the moon and enjoy after-hike entertainment at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Ampitheatre on Thursday evening August 18 in Coldwater Canyon Park. The hike is less than two hours and presented by the TreePeople. Call (818) 753-4600 for more information.

The Docents of Cold Creek Preserve have organized a Friday night, August 19 event that features a moderately steep but easy paced trek to Calabasas Peak, overlooking the San Fernando Valley. On the same night, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority will lead a Franklin Canyon Full Moon hike on a “moderately strenuous” two-hour tour of Franklin’s ridges. Call (310) 858-7272 to participate.

This is just a sampling of the many summer hikes and adventures readily available to anyone interested in discovering our wondrously under utilized Santa Monica Mountains resources.Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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