Posted on February 18, 2011 at 10:33 am
Most people familiar with PUC know about the Back 40. Located just behind the airport, its trails are the perfect midday escape from classes. While the labyrinth of trails invites bikers and runners from all over the valley, they can become a bit dull if you go often enough. If you’re looking for something new, but close to campus for breaks between classes, consider Los Posadas Forest.
Also know as the Experimental Forest, this state-owned stretch of land sits next to PUC’s property. Though close on the map, it provides a startling contrast to the familiar trails. While the Back 40 is marked with wide smooth trails, Los Posadas is like exploring a new planet.
The trails drop deep into a valley inhabited by huddled ferns and stretching redwoods. One of my favorite trails is a series of switchbacks that zigzag to the valley floor. Along the way is a natural spring that I haven’t quite been brave enough to drink from. The fallen trees give travelers that pioneer spirit, as well as a chance to examine the growth patterns of staggering redwoods. The valley floor has a few picnic tables that make it a great spot for lunch. This is also a great trail in the summer, as the trees make an awning to block the sun.
However, one of the best times to visit is in the rain. Those willing to make the journey will be rewarded with an eerie yet spectacular view of the mist gathering in the canopy. Also, the trails don’t see nearly the amount of foot traffic of the Back 40, so it’s a great place to escape the stress of campus life.
There you have it, one of PUC’s best-kept secrets. If you’re tired of hiking to Inspiration Point, but need to get your nature fix, look no farther than the corner of Los Posadas Road.
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