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Backpacker Magazine – November 2012

Trail Mix: Great November Hikes in the West

Your region's go-now guide: See newts on the move in California and bears heading for lower elevation in Beartooths, MT

by: Nathan Pipenberg (Cape Perpetua, Windy Mountain), Heather Steinberger (Secrets of the Rangers), Rachel Zurer

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area (Photo by Thomas Hallstein)
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area (Photo by Thomas Hallstein)
Newt (Photo by South12Photography/
Newt (Photo by South12Photography/
Oak Creep Look, Red Rock Canyon NCA (Photo by Dave Miller)
Oak Creep Look, Red Rock Canyon NCA (Photo by Dave Miller)

See This Now
Newt migration, Tilden Regional Park, CA

Salmon aren’t the only animals that make an epic journey home to breed: When fall rains finally arrive in the Bay Area, the region’s orange-bellied newts begin trekking up to two miles from their dry summer habitat to the creeks and ponds where they were born. Tilden Regional Park, in the Berkeley Hills, is one of the best places to catch them on the move. The amphibian travelers are so plentiful, the park closes a major thoroughfare (South Park Road) to cars from November 1 to April 1 to protect the animals. You’re likely to spot some just ambling down the car-free road, but for a backcountry sighting, hike this 6.6-mile loop: Start from the visitor center and conquer 1,211-foot Wildcat Peak (with views across the Bay on clear days), then follow the Conlon Trail to Wildcat Creek, where the newts congregate. Not that you’d want to, but don’t even think about eating one of these creatures: Their skin holds the same deadly poison found in pufferfish. Trip ID 1863834

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