Check It Out: Library has your hiking adventures covered

The weather is warming up, so now is the time to get out and explore what Southern California has to offer. The Newport Beach Public Library stocks many books on hiking throughout Orange County and the region, from the mountains to the coast to the deserts.

"Afoot & Afield in Orange County" by Jerry Schad has been in publication since 1988 and remains a popular hiking guide to this area. This book breaks down trails from beaches and bays to foothills to the Santa Ana Mountains. It contains introductory information on how to be prepared, what you might encounter and where, and how to be a courteous hiker. The information is presented with pictures of each locale, maps and guides to each path, complete with difficulty, distance and even the best times to visit.

Another short and to-the-point hiking guide is "Best Easy Day Hikes Orange County" by Randy Vogel. This book breaks down hikes by coastal hikes, foothills and mountains, but focuses on more introductory, less strenuous paths. It contains information on the type of hike (loop, out-and-back), distance, elevation gain and brief descriptions of the trails themselves.

The library also carries books that cater to a wider area than just Orange County. Two interesting books on a larger area include "Easy Hiking in Southern California" by Ann Marie Brown, and the "Day Hiker's Guide to Southern California" by John McKinney.

"Easy Hiking in Southern California" is broken down by regions, including the Los Angeles and San Diego areas, as well as more adventurous areas like Sequoia and Death Valley. It presents useful information, such as hiking time, total distance, best season and description of terrain.

"Day Hiker's Guide to Southern California" covers many regions, such as San Jacinto Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Padres National Forest and many more close and far. The trail descriptions are presented in a more narrative way, but include distance, elevation gain, trailhead information and even some historical information.

If you are more interested in staying near the coast, the library has a selection of hike books specifically aimed at coastal hiking. Two titles are "Day Hikes on the California Southern Coast" by Robert Stone and "50 Best Short Hikes in California's Central Coast" by John Krist.

"Day Hikes on the California Southern Coast" contains 100 hikes through Ventura County, the Los Angeles area, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Orange County and the San Diego area. This book has overview maps, hiking distances, lengths of time and elevation gains. It also includes summaries of each hike, driving directions and brief hiking directions.

"50 Best Short Hikes in California's Central Coast" covers hikes as close as the Los Padres area north of Los Angeles all the way up to Morro Bay. This book covers an expanse of rich coastal hikes, with trail information, detailed descriptions of the hike and area. What it lacks in pictures and maps it makes up for in narrative.

Tired of the coast? Do you long more for desert hiking instead? The library carries books on that, as well. Two great titles are "Hiking California's Desert Parks" by Bill Cunningham and "On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park" by Patty Furbush.

"Hiking California's Desert Parks" covers the Anza-Borrego State Park, Joshua Tree, the Mojave National Preserve and Death Valley. This book covers the necessities of desert hiking, such as cautionary information about dehydration, the changeability of weather, vegetation and wild animals. This is a thick book with detailed information on each trail, including the usual description, length, difficulty, elevation gain/loss and best season. It also follows that up with special attraction information and detailed narrative on each hike.

"On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park" is solely dedicated to that location, presenting chapters on visiting the park, general information about the park and area, planning and preparation, and the hazards of desert hiking. Each hike is presented with the type of trail it is, the distance, time, difficulty, elevation and which park entrance to use. It has scattered pictures of the park, and many maps.

So, before you venture out into the wild, be sure to stop by the Newport Beach Public Library and check out a title to get a nice suggestion for a memorable day out hiking.

CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.

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