7 fall / winter adventures in Northern California + what to equip

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean the adventures of the year are over. In Northern California, they are just getting started.

Benefiting from a mildly cool and cool climate in the Bay Area and a snow-capped wonderland of mountain peaks just beyond, fall and winter at NorCal can fuel just about any outdoor activity. air you can imagine, from mountaineering to trail running. These seven epic adventures will have you exploring throughout the spring, whether you stay close to home or head to the Sierra.


Just make sure you equip yourself properly. Our pairs of high performance clothing from Goldwin, the Japanese adventure outfitter with a store in Jackson Square in San Francisco, is the icing on the cake, warm and waterproof.

Hike the Lost Coast

The lost coast

(Bob Wick, BLM / CC)

Adventure: hiking

The solitary Lost Coast Trail is one of the last remaining stretches of raw and isolated coastal landscape in California. Most backpackers head to its iconic northern section, which winds 40km from the beach to the cliff top and back (the less popular 32km-long southern section pulls away from the seaside to cross the park. ‘Sinkyone Wilderness Wooded State). The Upper Lost Coast Trail takes two to three days to complete, starting at the Mattole trailhead, ending at Shelter Cove, and camping along the way in one of the many freshwater streams that empty into the Pacific.

As you hike, rocky coasts join with frolicking seals, barking sea lions and breathtaking sunsets. And while the elevation remains fairly stable throughout, this trip isn’t exactly easy: you won’t just be doing miles through the deep sand, but there are three different stretches where the trail becomes impassable at high tide. . Getting caught in these sections at the wrong time of day can be fatal. Permits are required to hike the Lost Coast Trail and you will have the best chance of securing your preferred dates if you book early (year permits are issued the previous year on October 1).

Equipment: Fast Shell Light Jacket

Stay warm and dry in foggy and humid autumn and winter weather along the Lost Humboldt Coast in the Lightweight Fast Shell Jacket ($ 330) from Goldwin. The waterproof hooded shell is lightweight and folds down small to fit easily in your bag.

Road race on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz


West Cliff Drive passes through Natural Bridges State Park.

(Paul Komarek / CC)

Adventure: road racing

Lose yourself in the beauty of Monterey Bay on this run along Santa Cruz West Cliff Walk. The paved and marked route begins at the Santa Cruz Pier, the longest wooden pier on the west coast, and then climbs before reaching Seal Rock and Lighthouse Point. From there, the road enters Natural Bridges State Beach with its rocky arches and slippery pelicans. As you run the waves will keep time, crashing under the 7.6 mile cliff side trail (for a shorter 6 mile run, start and end where Bay Street crosses West Cliff). In good weather, the view stretches all the way to Monterey on the south shore of the bay.

Equipment: compact jacket

At any time of the year, ocean winds can slice through West Cliff Drive like icy knives. Keep it at bay with the Goldwin packable Compact jacket ($ 170). The eco-friendly recycled nylon windbreaker features ventilation and reflective accents for better visibility at night.

Hike to Mount Diablo


The summit of Mount Diablo

(Annette Teng / CC)

Adventure: hiking

Summit four peaks in one day on one of Northern California’s most arduous and rewarding hikes. The 15 miles long Four Peaks Loop To Mount Diablo State Park is unforgiving – the trail has an elevation gain of over 6,000 feet and takes about eight hours – but the views alone are worth it. On a clear winter day, you can see as far as the Farallon Islands to the west and Mt Lassen to the north.

Begin your hike at the Mitchell Canyon Trailhead. From there the road winds and winds through oak and chaparral to the top of Mount Olympia, then to the top of North Peak. From there you will continue to Mount Diablo, the sacred place of creation of the Miwok Indians, followed by a stop at distant Eagle Peak, before descending the ridge again.

The equipment: Fly Air puffer jacket

The weather works differently at high altitudes, quickly changing from hot and sunny to windy and freezing. The Fly Air puffer jacket ($ 370) from Goldwin will make sure you are ready for whatever the sky throws at you. Its lightweight baffle design is made of a high quality eco-friendly material stuffed with down and packs away small on the go.

Rock climbing at Pinnacles National Park


Pinnacles National Park

(Kee Yip / CC)

Adventure: climbing

There are those who would say that climbing the rocky fingers of Pinnacles National Park is more difficult than climbing the granite walls of the neighboring Sierra: the volcanic rock here is so brittle and unpredictable that wedges can spring from the cliff wall. But what is an adventure without a little danger? It’s part of what places Pinnacles’ iconic Fairy Chimneys among the most rock formations worthy of climbing, not just in California but across the country.

There are a number of different routes climbers can take to the park and, despite all the crumbling rock, you don’t need to be an expert to climb – there are easy and intermediate routes to First Sister, Ordeal, and Wet Kiss among others. Just be sure to research your route in advance. Some formations close between January and July to protect the nesting sites of hawks and eagles.

The equipment: One Tuck tapered stretch pants

Get a full range of motion on and off the wall One Tuck tapered stretch pants ($ 190) from Goldwin. These comfy pants are made from four-way stretch polyester that resists wear, tear, and unexpected downpours.

Snow sports at Heavenly Resort


Heavenly Resort, Lake Tahoe

(Adam Baker / CC)

Adventure: Ski and Snowboard

From famed Squaw Valley to Little Bear Valley, Tahoe has no shortage of powder. But a seaside resort, Celestial, accumulates more superlatives than any other combined, including the most skiable acres (4,630), highest elevation (10,067 feet), and most vertical feet on the West Coast (3,500). Almost 100 trails crisscross Heavenly’s diverse landscape, not to mention the expert-level backcountry at Mott and Killebrew Canyons. There are also two snow parks filled with dozens of rails and jumps for tricks of all kinds. The 2021 season kicks off November 19 with adult day passes starting at $ 91.

The equipment: Arris jacket

Stay warm in the mountains with Goldwin’s Arris jacket ($ 760). The windproof and waterproof design takes every detail into account: think underarm ventilation, airgel pockets to protect your smartphone, and a hoodie that can accommodate your helmet.

Running at Mount Tamalpais State Park


Mount Tamalpaias State Park

(Bastian Hoppe / CC)

Adventure: trail running

Race through foggy redwoods and along windswept hills in Mount Tamalpais State Park. Almost 60 miles of trails circle the mountain, many of them with such compelling views of San Francisco and the Pacific that even the fastest will find themselves slowing their pace. The 6.5 mile Matt Davis-Steep Ravine Loop, which winds through wooded canyons and past waterfalls, is regularly voted one of the best in the Bay Area. The trail begins and ends at Belvedere Avenue in the town of Stinson Beach. Once your run is over, you’ll find several places within a few blocks to reward your efforts with a cool drink or two.

The equipment: Breeze 5 inch woven shorts (with mesh lining)

Stay cool on the track with a pair of Breeze 5 inch woven shorts (with mesh lining) ($ 130) from Goldwin. Made from eco-friendly recycled polyester, these running shorts have an antibacterial mesh inner lining and reflective logos for better visibility after the sun goes down.

Mountaineering in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks


Thor Peak, Mount Whitney, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

(Penny Higgens / CC)

Adventure: mountaineering

Escalation Mount Whitney, the highest peak of the lower 48, is an adventure anytime of the year. But when winter comes down on Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Whitney’s 99 switchbacks turn into channels of ice and snow, explorers head for the Winter mountaineers route, a 12-mile trail with an elevation gain of 6,200 feet that only crampons and ice axes can conquer. The climate will put your mountaineering skills to the test, but it won’t take long to remember why you’re here: the summit is most spectacular in winter, with mirrored frozen lakes and snow-white slopes that sparkle in the sun. Unlike the summer months, when prior permits are required and the trails are crowded with backpackers, after November 1, you will be one of the few intrepid climbers on the mountain.

Equipment: Gore-Tex Fly-Air Pullover

Don’t even think about climbing Mount Whitney in the winter without a warm jacket that will protect you from the wind and the elements. by Goldwin Gore-Tex Fly-Air sweater ($ 730) is designed for mountaineering with a helmet compatible hood and a leg loop at the hem to prevent the jacket from riding up while scaling the ice.

This article was written by Shoshi Parks.

// Shop for men’s and women’s clothing at the San Francisco store, 444 Jackson St. (Jackson Square), goldwin-sports.com. Thank you to our partners at Goldwin.


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