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Travel: This Hiking Trail in Malibu Is Absolutely Bursting With Wildflowers Right Now

This Coastal California Town Is Getting 19 Miles of Gorgeous Oceanfront Hiking Trails at a New National Monument

  This Coastal California Town Is Getting 19 Miles of Gorgeous Oceanfront Hiking Trails at a New National Monument Get ready to do some seriously beautiful hiking.Santa Cruz, California is getting a new national monument, and it's all thanks to former President Obama's love for an old dairy farm, and the hard work and dedication of thousands of volunteers.

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It's finally here. The weather is getting warmer, the birds are chirping, and the sun is setting at a reasonable hour. Yes, my cheerful friends, it's spring. And you know what that means? Wildflower season is sweeping the nation. And there's no place where that's more evident than in California — specifically, along the Zuma Ridge Trail in Malibu.

The 5.6-mile, out-and-back trail is in the Santa Monica Mountains. It's considered a moderately challenging route by AllTrails due to its length and 1,473-foot elevation gain. According to the hiking website, the route typically takes people an average of 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete. Though, it could take you a bit longer right now, because the route is absolutely bursting with wildflowers to stop and smell along the way.

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According to the California Native Plant Society, the trail features large sycamore, oak, willow, and black walnut trees. Hikers will also come across plenty of sage scrub along the route. That plant, the Santa Monica Trail Council website explains, may not be a true sage, but is still aromatic. "Rubbing the leaves in your hands removes any doubt as to why this plant is named California Sagebrush," the website adds.

Other plants you may see on your adventures through the mountains here include Blue Dicks, which range from white to pink to deep blue, and bloom from February to May, Yerba Santa, another stunning purple flowering plant that puts on a show from March through June, and Turkish Rugging, a rosy pink bloom that bursts to life from April to July.

10 Charming Small Towns to Visit Along the Appalachian Trail

  10 Charming Small Towns to Visit Along the Appalachian Trail Take a little detour to these adorable small towns.There are a lot of small towns in America to love, and if you're planning to hike the Appalachian Trail, you'll soon get a front-row seat to some of the best. Hopping on and off the trail to visit a few of these quaint communities can add time to your expedition, but trust us, it will make the trip all the more worthwhile. Keep reading to discover 10 of our favorite small towns along the 2,190-mile trail, perfect for both "thru-hikers" or those just visiting the AT for a day hike.

"Excellent hike," one recent visitor exclaimed on AllTrails. "Especially around this time of year due to the wildflowers. Breathtaking views after a steep (but manageable) hike."

"Beautiful views, lots of wildflowers. No shade but a decent breeze," another added.

Want to identify all the flowers you spot on your hike? Check out this amazingly in-depth flower finder by the National Parks Service and learn all about the beautiful flora and fauna along your hike.

Read the original article on Travel + Leisure

Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Texas Hill Country .
Come for the blooming wildflowers and wine tasting, stay for the barbecue spots that are nearly as old as Texas.To help you make the most of a long weekend in these parts—just the right amount of time, we think—we’ve outlined the best things to do, places to eat, plus where to stay in Texas Hill Country. Remember you'll need a car to get around these parts; if you're flying into Austin, rent one there then drive yourself out. Read on for the best of Hill Country.

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