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GREAT HIKES: Westside Treks With a Little Challenge:

I’ve written several responses to one of the more frequent requests I receive from readers: How to access the easy hikes on the Westside. However, there is also a slew of moderate hikes offered for the more ginger-hearted, including some carefully organized and supervised treks around our local mountains.

Head-up to the Sooky Goldman Nature Center at 9 a.m. on Sunday, November 6, and you’ll enjoy a 90 minute “Aerobic Trek” presented by the Mountain Recreation and conservation Authority. Call (310) 858-7272 for all the advance info, or just take the short drive to Franklin Canyon Ranch above Beverly Hills and follow the signs to the Sooky Goldman center.

On Tuesday morning, 8:30 a.m., the Sierra Club will guide whoever shows up to one of the most popular and scenic routes in all of Los Angeles: Will Rogers Chicken Ridge Bridge. Designed for moderate hikers, this eight-mile adventure picks up 1600 feet of gain. Bring lunch and water! While you could do this hike in about two hours, the group program will move a little slower and take regular breaks. So, be prepared for a leisurely pace to the scenic bridge – and above to the landmark “oak tree”, and then return by the same route. If you’ve never done this trail, this is a must-do experience, and a great way to familiarize yourself with the world-class Will Rogers Park. Once you’ve hiked this basic trail you can experiment with a choice of alternative routes, including the loop-hike of the Rustic Canyon trail around the mountain and then return up the backside.

One other moderate hike that space allows me to describe is on November 13, at 9 a.m. at Point Mugu State Park. Big Sycamore Canyon to Serrano Canyon is a nine-mile adventure with 1100 feet of gain. It’s called for six hours, but that’s at a fairly modest pace. You’ll enjoy major views of the coastline, as well as Boney Mountain. The Coastwalk group is leading this trek, call (800) 550-6854 for more details.

These are just a few of the many opportunities out there waiting for you to discover. There are free, organized hikes available for virtually every level of skill – just make a few calls and you’ll be welcome to join in and experiencie our many greatly underutilized trails – and meet new folks in the process!Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes may call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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