Kick off the New Year with family-friendly nature-filled outings in Northern California that are easy on the eyes and calves. In addition to making good on health and wellness resolutions, you’ll also enjoy vibrant hues and lush greenery brought by winter rains. The following treks prove you needn't scale a mountain to enjoy California’s famously thrilling vistas.
Devil’s Slide Trail, Pacifica
Perched high above the Pacific, the dazzling seaside Devil’s Slide Trail was until recently a congested segment of Highway 1. The diabolic moniker refers to the landslide-prone cliff that frequently blanketed the road with rocks, frustrating commuters. After two tunnels were bored through San Pedro Mountain to bypass the precarious route—each over 4,000 feet long, the second and third longest in California after Yosemite’s Wawona Tunnel—the 1.3-mile stretch of road was transformed into a multiuse trail that features interpretive signage, viewing scopes, and resting areas. On weekends, docents point out WWII-era military posts, roosting murres—whose black-and-white bowling pin–shaped bodies could easily be mistaken for penguins—and migrating humpback whales spotted just offshore. Remember to bundle up. Even when nearby weather appears mild, Devil’s Slide can be wickedly chilly.