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GREAT HIKES: Potpourri of Westside: Scott Regberg, Mirror contributing write

If the past weekend’s glorious weather didn’t make you at least want to get up and head to the hills, then don’t read any further!

It seems most folks simply don’t know where to go or how to get safely acquainted with our amazing network of inter-connecting local mountain hikes. Just to be clear, when hikers say “local mountains” we don’t mean driving a few hours to the closet ski slope. For hikers, local mountains mean the Santa Monicas, right here in the west L.A. area, including trails that are virtually within walking distance north of Sunset Boulevard.

There are a load of great trails that are easy to find, safe and well groomed as well as packed with panoramic views and intriguing flora. Best of all, there are organized opportunities, usually free, to help you get familiar with the routes and resources.

Rather than my just listing the go on your own trails, here’s a potpourri of interesting upcoming adventures that can make it a lot easier for newbies to segue into the sport.

There are three events on January 15 to choose from. At 8 a.m., the Malibu Creek State Park and Audubon Society are hosting a bird walk. This three- hour trek will introduce you to miles of unspoiled terrain as well as our feathered friends that live there. Call (310) 457-5796 for more information. This is an ideal hike for novices and children as well.

At 10 a.m., the Docents of Cold Creek Preserve are offering a “Winter Tour” about how nature adapts to the changing season. You’ll enjoy an easy-going two and half hours of relatively slow paced hiking led by an experienced guide. Call (818) 591-1701 for details and parking info.

Not to be outdone, the Topanga State Park Docents are also hosting a 1 p.m., two-hour “Winter Hike,” guided by a qualified naturalist. Call (818) 758-1964.

If that weekend doesn’t work for you, the offerings are ongoing! For example, on Thursday January 19, there is a guided tour of Cold Creek Preserve at 10 a.m. Bring water and lunch for this three-hour exploration of “Early Spring.” Call the California Native Plant Society at (818) 348-5910 for details.

The list goes on and on: from Malibu Lagoon to Runyan Park, Temescal to Franklin Canyon – you are invited to join an organized hike almost every day of the week. Go on just a few and quickly get connected to new friends and a wild side of Los Angeles that you never knew was there.

Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes may call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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