Tag Archives: day trip

Nature Outings Around LA

By Sarah Selke

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

Every once in a while, a brief trip away from the bustle of metropolitan LA can be a much-needed respite for a USC student. While there are plenty of things to do in the city, there are just as many day trips one can take in the surrounding areas. Going for a hike or bike ride in some different scenery can be a refreshing and inexpensive option for weekends when you would like to spend some time away from campus. I have listed below some of my favorite hikes and nature expeditions you can take in the LA area that will make it feel like you are visiting a place far from the city!

Photo by Praveen Thotagamuwa on Unsplash

One of the more popular places to hike in the LA area is the Sturtevant Falls trail. Located in the Santa Anita Canyon, this approximately 3.5-mile hike is frequently crowded with Angelinos, and follows a steep descent into a lush valley that ends in a spectacular waterfall. There are several other side trails that branch off from the sometimes overly busy path, such as the Upper Winter Creek Trail, which leads into a very dense, green forest that hardly feels as if it were only half an hour from downtown LA. 

Another slightly further destination is the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, which hosts large fields of the state’s flower each spring. This reserve is located about an hour and half away from USC, a few miles outside of Lancaster. Often crowded during peak season, it is highly advisable to visit the poppies early in the morning before parking gets too full. Another tip: bring an extra layer even when the temperature is high, as it gets particularly windy at this spot.

Photo by Pamela Heckel on Unsplash

Perhaps my favorite outdoor destination to visit in the area around LA is the Malibu Creek State Park, which is nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains. This park is filled with miles of beautiful trails, and was also the sight for various feature films, including the MASH series. The Yearling Trail, which starts from Reagan Ranch and leads to Century Lake, is a gentle 4-mile hike that leads through green fields, a Redwood forest, and ends with a glimpse of the Century Lake dam. It is a personal favorite of mine that can be accessed all-year round. 

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Valparaiso: A City of Art

By Jamie Schlegel

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3.5 minute read]

The coastline of Chile is composed of many turns and rocky edges. My fellow travelers and I kept ourselves entertained watching them as our van turned those corners for several hours on the drive from Santiago to Valparaiso. Gradually, the tell-tale signs of a city began to make themselves apparent: less ocean and more buildings. Finally, the van came to a stop. As we unpacked our bags and headed into the hostel, we already felt the chilly weather of the southern hemisphere.

Photo by arpa sarian on Unsplash

The place we were going to stay at turned out to be on the top floor of the building. Fairly early in the morning, we were woken up by the sunlight streaming in through the skylights. As we crawled sheepishly out of bed, the realization that we were in a new city truly woke us up. After a quick breakfast of bread, cheese, and jam, we rushed out into the winter air. The neighborhoods in Valparaiso are called Cerros, and our Cerro was one of the most colorful places I had ever seen. The streets were made of cobblestone and were reminiscent of Europe. The buildings were lined with small shops, each one different from the last. The apartments that sprawled above them were colored in magnificent yellows, pinks and blues.

The buildings of Valparaiso were beautiful, but I would say the most magnificent sight in the city was the murals. Every inch of the city, from the steps to the lampposts to the 50-foot-long walls, were covered with art more amazing than those found in any museum I had ever visited. There were renditions of Van Gogh’s Starry Night with 20-foot sunflowers, a powerful indigenous woman, and many more that I couldn’t even begin to understand. The city encouraged art, and the people there seemed to look at life differently because of that. 

Photo by Loïc Mermilliod on Unsplash
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