Everyone has their own form of stress relief– for some it’s music, yoga, meditating, or reading. For me, when I start to feel overwhelmed, I take a walk. Whether it is simply a loop around the colleges, or one of the places described below, taking a walk always seems to clear my head. Walking has many benefits; not only is it a great stress reliever, it is also a good form of exercise. Recent studies have even shown that regular walking can modestly expand your hippocampus and improve memory.

Here are a couple of my favorite walks:

Close: Hollywood Sign

Behind the Hollywood sign

This walk is for you if you have a car, an afternoon to kill, and a desire to embrace the tourist within you.  It’s a 5 mile walk, with a steady incline most of the way. It should take about 3 hours to get to the outlook above, behind the sign, and back. If you have plenty of daylight and time to spare, you could also try the side trails off the main path– they could either end in a fantastic shortcut, or get you fantastically lost.

The path is beautiful; you get both great city views and the feeling that you’ve escaped into the wilderness.  The Hollywood sign itself is surrounded by a fence, so if you were planning to do something like this, you’re out of luck.

Here are instructions on how to there. (It says it’s strenuous- ignore that. It’s not.) If you plan to be out past sunset, park outside the gate–otherwise your car will be trapped inside.

Finally, here is a very detailed write up worth reading if you’re going to give it a try.

Closer: Claremont Wilderness Trail:

So maybe just the thought of driving into L.A. makes you pee yourself out of fear, I can relate. Maybe you don’t have a whole afternoon– just a few hours. There’s a much closer off-campus wilderness walk you can take advantage of, and it’s right here in Claremont. The directions couldn’t be easier; Turn onto Mills from Foothill Blvd. Head for the hills. That’s it.

Sunrise at Claremont Wilderness Trail

Mills ends at the trailhead parking lot. It is a 7 minute drive, or 30 minute bike ride. (CMC Bike Shop Info can be found in here) The loop is 5 miles, with a mild-moderately steep uphill for the first 2.5 miles. There is a pavilion with benches around the halfway point, 50 minutes to an hour away at a leisurely pace. The whole 5 miles takes around an hour and a half. The trail is relatively busy with people of all ages on it at all times of the day; bikers, runners, and fast-walkers abound.

Really strapped for a large chunk of free time during the day? Try this loop in the morning and catch what is, in my opinion, Claremont’s prettiest sunrise. Give yourself about an hour to get to the Pavilion. You probably won’t need all that time, but better safe than sorry. The path is open enough to not need a flashlight. You could do this walk and make it back with plenty of time to snag breakfast and make your 8:10 class.

Closest: Pomona

If you scoffed at the suggestion of taking hour long walks, if carving 30 minutes out of your day between classes, work, sports, and meetings is a stretch, that’s still okay. You need not even leave the 5C’s to get your walk on. If you head down 6th street towards Pomona (coming from Ducey), turn left at the field (instead of right to Frary), walk down to the parking lot, turn left and go through the park area with the Greek Theatre and then take a right at the bottom of the stage, you will suddenly find yourself in a natural shrubby enclave with a few different paths. One leads to the farm and more walking paths. Another leads to a field. A final path leads you around and out. It’s the one place on the campuses that feels least like you’re not on campus. Even if you can only manage a half hour break, you can still get away.