Tag Archives: California

Hiking Battle Mountain off the San Diego Beaten Path

During a visit to San Diego I stayed in Rancho Bernardo on the north end of town and looked for ways to spend some time outdoors, while also venturing off the beaten path.

The Battle Mountain hike I went on checked off both those boxes. You’ll find Battle Mountain just off I-15 with its entrance oddly enough between two houses in a highly residential area. I initially discovered and captured this hill on another walk.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

I wound up doing this climb just after dawn on an overcast morning.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

The short 15-20 minute hike was peaceful. It was a little steep and rocky at times but all-in-all not too bad. I noticed a lot of erosion along the way. My legs definitely got a workout. The climb is roughly 800 feet.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

Once at the top, you will see up-close the 20 foot white cross that has stood since 1966. Battle Mountain got its name from a battle that was held nearby in San Pasqual Valley in the 1800’s. This spot was originally called Mule Hill as soldiers from those battles had to kill mules in order to have food to eat.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

Expansive panoramic views awaited me at the top. I saw all the residential housing of northern San Diego County, along with Starvation and Iron Mountains, Lake Hodges and more.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego California hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

Lake Hodges, San Diego, California

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

The hike, well almost run, down the hill took only a matter of minutes. It was a great morning in the Rancho Bernardo part of San Diego walking/hiking up Battle Mountain and taking in the views. For anyone looking for a quick hike and something off the radar in northern San Diego County, this is your spot.

Tip: For a longer hiking adventure I highly recommend the San Dieguito River Park Trail, in which there is an entrance literally right across the street from Battle Mountain.

San Diego hiking, Battle Mountain, Rancho Bernardo

What other off the radar outdoor spots would you recommend checking out in San Diego?

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Back to sharing skylines I go which leads me back to the A Million Skyline Looks series.

The latest edition comes from Southern California and a city known for its mild climate all year long, beautiful San Diego.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Downtown scene from the San Diego–Coronado Bridge.

I was excited to get a first taste of what San Diego has to offer. Most of my shots are from Coronado Island and along San Diego Bay as well as from random spots on the interstate. Always have that camera ready in the car, especially if you are a passenger! Palm trees make me happy so a lot of the skyline views made me smile even more. Well without further ado.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Beautiful Downtown San Diego from northbound I-5.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks from across San Diego Bay

Skyline straight ahead, opposite San Diego Bay.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Heading onto I-5 northbound. San Diego, California front-and-center.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks from Tidelands Park on Coronado Island

Palms trees guarding the skyline in Tidelands Park on Coronado Island.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks from Coronado Island

San Diego, California cityscape straight ahead!

Sailboats guarding the San Diego skyline

Who is ready to set sail in Downtown San Diego, California?!

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

What a harbor and city view these palm trees get to experience every day. Looking southward.

Beautiful Downtown San Diego, California amongst the palm trees

Capturing the San Diego skyline and palm trees every chance I get.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks, California

Heading off California State Route 75 and the San Diego-Coronado Bridge into town.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks, from the San Diego-Coronado Bridge

Looking straight down Harbor Drive from up-top the San Diego–Coronado Bridge.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Always have that camera ready as a passenger. You never know when a skyline will present itself.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks, from the friendly skies

Skyline peaking through the window upon descent into San Diego International Airport.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Coronado Island greenery amongst the San Diego, California cityscape.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Out on the open Tidelands Park trail.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Just a typical clear, warm day in San Diego from Coronado Island.

San Diego: A Million Skyline Looks

Out on the open road capturing the San Diego skyline amongst palm trees.

What other spots would you recommend capturing the San Diego skyline from?

Back to Capture More of Ocean Beach in San Francisco

Ocean Beach in San Francisco, enough said. It’s one of my happy places. The Pacific Ocean lined city beach runs flush against the Richmond and Sunset districts as well as Golden Gate Park.

I had the chance to spend some more time there since my post San Francisco: Your First Ocean Beach years ago.

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

The scenes I captured in that post focused on the north end of the beach near the infamous Cliff House. The photos below come more from the south side of the three mile long beach. The scene was cloudy, cool, windy and misty right along the coast. I would have expected nothing less. It’s what makes this beach and San Francisco the most picturesque in my opinion. Thick fog in the early morning is extremely common in this part of the city as well.

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

Along with the beach I got up close views of the colorful, priceless homes that lie opposite the Great Highway. You will find plenty of beach, bike paths and places to roam along the frigid ocean waters. Well without further ado I present to you more of Ocean Beach in San Francisco.

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

It was another relaxing and refreshing Ocean Beach experience. It didn’t even feel like I was in the big city as I roamed.

Some tips:

  • Make sure to dress in layers. It is usually much colder here than in the heart of the city.
  • You’ll find plenty of parking on both ends of Ocean Beach.
  • I just got my feet wet per usual. Swimming is not recommended due to the strong rip currents, tall waves and cold water.

San Francisco Ocean Beach, California, beach

Have you spent time along/on Ocean Beach and in this part of San Francisco?

That Memorable San Francisco Street Signage

Street signage. Every city and town seems to have their own format for street signs, from the colors and lettering to the format and shape of the signage itself. In my eyes, one city stands out more than any other, San Francisco.

Vintage San Francisco street signage collage

Seeing the all-caps, modern large black letters on a white background just gives me the goosebumps as soon as I enter the city. Being able to capture two signs at once at an intersection, like at Beach and Larkin when visiting Ghirardelli Square, priceless.

Vintage San Francisco street signage @ Fisherman's Wharf

Vintage San Francisco street signage, Market Street

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Having spent so much time in San Fran, seeing specific streets brings back memories of yester-year, while also highlighting great things about the city. When I see Grant, Jackson and Stockton that means I’m in-and-around Chinatown and the Transamerica Pyramid.

Vintage San Francisco street signage at Grant Street in Chinatown

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage in Chinatown

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Lombard makes me immediately think of the famous curvy road and Hyde Street evokes thoughts of being on a San Francisco manual cable car going up a very steep incline.

Vintage San Francisco street signage at the famous curvy Lombard Street

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage at historic Hyde and Lombard

The Embarcadero signage brings the sea lions at Pier 39 into focus. One street over, Beach brings back memories of trying to park to go to Fisherman’s Wharf and The Embarcadero haha. Great Highway is the first street I hit up when in town, as it rides right along Ocean Beach and the Pacific.

Vintage San Francisco street signage & The Embarcadero

Vintage San Francisco street signage @ Fisherman's Wharf

Vintage San Francisco street signage along Ocean Beach and Pacific Ocean

Van Ness Avenue just makes me think of multiple lanes in each direction and a busy street. I was really careful capturing its street signage. Octavia and Hayes Streets brings me back to memories of the Hayes Valley neighborhood whereas 15th Street is where I usually park when going for a morning coffee at Four Barrel in “The Mission”.

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage

In regards to San Francisco and its historic street signage, unfortunately it is not all sunshine and roses. Now days, as you roam S.F., you might notice some signs featuring mixed-case lettering, with the first letter only being capitalized. This is to conform with the goals of the Federal Highway Administration that signs be easier to read. What?! You’ll notice I didn’t capture any signs of this format.

Vintage San Francisco street signage collage

On the plus side you still have time to experience the capital letting as you move about the city. Due to the federal mandate, street signs will get swapped out only when they need to be replaced. Though the Moraga and 23rd Street signage looks a little rough, there is still something historic and beautiful about them.

Vintage San Francisco street signage in Outer Sunset neighborhood

Vintage San Francisco street signage

A few more pics of that vintage and memorable San Francisco street signage for the road.

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage

Vintage San Francisco street signage

What city or town contains memorable, historic and/or well-designed street signage in your eyes that you have come across in your travels?

San Francisco: Lombard Street Beyond the Curvy Drive

When people think Lombard Street in San Francisco, they think of the famous block in the Russian Hill neighborhood. Between Hyde and Leavenworth sits the curvy and steep, red-bricked road where you will find countless tourists, cameras and cars going through the hair pinned turns on any given day. As a kid, I always enjoyed going down the street in the car. On a recent visit I realized this one block of real estate in the city has so much more to offer outside of just driving the curves.

San Francisco, California - Lombard Street

When at the top of the hill along Hyde Street you are bound to notice a cable car or two picking people up and dropping off. Grab a shot of the famed manually operated car. Better yet park your own car down at Fisherman’s Wharf and hop on the cable car at Powell and Hyde. You’ll kill two birds with one stone, experiencing two San Francisco gems at once.

San Francisco - corner of Lombard and Hyde Streets

San Francisco, Cable Car & Lombard Street

San Francisco, Cable Car & Lombard Street

Once you are dropped off and with no car to worry about it’s time to take the trip down the 250+ stairs on foot. While walking down on either side take the time to smell the flowers. In summer, you will find both sides of the curvy street lined with greenery and colorful flowers in full bloom. The flowers will also dot some of the houses themselves.

San Francisco, California - Lombard Street

San Francisco, California - Lombard Street

San Francisco, California housing - Lombard Street

Speaking of houses, the Victorian mansions alongside are colorful and picturesque in their own right. The housing costs in Russian Hill are beyond expensive, but I wonder what one of these houses goes for on the open market? I can only imagine.

San Francisco, California housing - Lombard Street

San Francisco, California housing - Lombard Street

As you walk down take a look at the red-bricked street itself. Originally a cobblestone street and two-way, it has had the one-way, brick configuration since 1939. Wait for a break in the traffic and take a look.

San Francisco, California - Lombard Street

Make sure to people watch. You are bound to see people from all over the world taking selfies, using those pesky selfie sticks and posing for family photos, especially at the bottom of the hill. See how they are engaging with the street, what angles they are taking photos from. You can get even more ideas on how to experience Lombard Street.

Now it is time to look beyond Lombard Street. While walking down look straight ahead. Scenic neighborhood views await with Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower and the Bay Bridge off in the distance.

San Francisco skyline from Lombard Street

San Francisco skyline from Lombard Street

About half-way down the hill, glance to the right and you will see the Transamerica Pyramid, San Francisco’s tallest building along with other parts of the city skyline. Throw in a palm tree standing guard in front and you will find one of my favorite views of the city.

San Francisco, California - Lombard Street

San Francisco skyline from Lombard Street

San Francisco skyline from Lombard Street

The only real way to experience Lombard Street is on foot. Public transportation and shuttles are not allowed and while it is fun to experience driving at least once, it often involves delays both at the top and while on the curves due to the streets popularity. I look forward to getting out on the open red-bricked Lombard Street on foot again soon.

Lombard Street is just one of my ten ideas for taking San Francisco by foot.

Have you gone down Lombard Street in San Francisco? If so, what was your experience like?