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El Cariso Nature Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This short interpretive hike allows visitors to learn about the region’s flora. The hike provides viewpoints and is a great trail for beginners, families, and those with only a little time to spend in the forest. The hike begins at the recently rebuilt El Cariso Visitor Center. There are some wonderful exhibits inside, and anyone taking this hike should first pay a visit to the center. Knowledgeable staff can provide answers to almost any question. Grab a copy of the brochure, which allows hikers to take a self-guided walk along the nature trail. The trail itself is a good way to get some quick exercise and learn about the native chaparral that is common in the region.Sky-high views and solitude are the biggest rewards on this wonderful introductory trip into the San Mateo Wilderness. The trail is a jumping-off point for longer hike. This trail ascends from the same starting point as the heavily used San Juan Loop Trail. However, the entrance is located on the east side of the highway. As a consequence, it is often overlooked, giving it a great edge in serenity and solitude over other trails in the region. The route climbs and scrambles alongside lovely Bear Canyon, twisting across sage and coastal scrub–covered hillsides for a little over 0.5 mile. Here the trail intersects the even less-frequented Morgan Trail beneath a beautiful oak-covered arbor."
--Alleen Riedel, Best Easy Day Hikes: Riverside (Falcon Guides).
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