In a daily life that demands so much from us, we sometimes lose sight of how much a nice walk can do for our well-being.
It is of course physically beneficial to get moving. Walking can contribute to weight loss, strengthen bones and muscles, boost circulation, improve balance, help manage conditions such as diabetes—well, it’s a long list. All of it, in some way, can be helpful to the health of your feet and ankles as well!
But aside from the physical benefits, it can’t be understated how we should just get away from it all sometimes. Simply walking a trail through some lovely flora or hiking up to a beautiful vista can do wonders for our spirits and our will to take on the challenges we face back at work, school, or home.
A number of good walking and hiking opportunities exist around Upland, ripe for the taking! We will be highlighting a few of them here, along with a few tips to help keep your feet happy and safe during your journeys.
(Ye) Bridle Path
If you’re looking for a walk that’s easy, mellow, and close by, then the Bridal Path right in the heart of Upland is a gift. Starting in the middle of Euclid Avenue (literally), this dirt and sometimes gravel path goes for about 3 miles one-way and makes several call-outs to local history.
It’s not always a great trail for solitude, but it’s pet-friendly and a pleasant little oasis right in the middle of civilization. Consider that heading toward the 24th Street end of the path is an uphill climb.
Walking Tip! Having a good, supportive pair of walking shoes is essential for keeping your feet comfortable and avoiding aches and sores. An easy trail like the Bridle Path is a good place to test a new pair of shoes to make sure they’re up to the task. You don’t want to find yourself stuck with ill-fitting shoes on a longer or more challenging hike! Anytime you choose new shoes for an activity, also make sure to consult a trained associate at a sports or running store. They understand the needs of their customers and can help you find a pair of shoes that will best suit your movement style.
Claremont Hills Wilderness Park Trail
This 5-mile loop through green, rolling hills also offers some smaller trails if you’re feeling up to a shorter challenge or a simple change.
This trail has an elevation change of about 880 feet through the course of the trek. It essentially takes the form of one big climb up and one descent, so expect some altitudinal challenge, but not constant ups and downs like a roller coaster.
The dirt trail is very well kept – an overall smooth path throughout. Benches are available along the way to sit and take in amazing views of the Inland Empire (which we recommend!). There are also several portable toilets along the way for a different but no less important kind of pit stop.
Walking Tip! The course you choose is an important factor in avoiding both accidental and overuse injuries. Claremont Hills is often impeccable for a dirt path, but be careful of other trails that are cracked, uneven, pocked with potholes or choked with low-hanging branches and vegetation. Take the climb and distance into mind as well, and pace yourself reasonably to help prevent injuries such as stress fractures and Achilles tendinitis. When you push yourself, aim for no more than 10% of your current comfort level each week.
Sunset Peak Trail
Weaving 7.3 miles out and back near Mt. Baldy, the Sunset Peak Trail features a moderate climb with beautiful wild flowers and some occasional wildlife as well.
Like Claremont Hills, this trail is largely set on a well-maintained fire road. However, there are a few rocky areas you should be prepared for. Although the change in elevation is more than 1,250 feet, the slope is mostly gentle. While foot traffic can be a bit busy on certain days, this trail is also pet-friendly and provides excellent shade and views.
The trail end is a great place to take in the sunset! Which… is probably where it gets its name from, now that we think about it.
Walking Tip! How is your walking stride? Do you have your head up, looking forward? Are your neck, shoulders, back, and arms relaxed? (If you feel like you’re almost in a fist-fighting stance, you’re too tense.) And of course, take a moment to be mindful of your feet! Do you roll smoothly from heel to toe? Taking a few moments from music or other distractions to focus on your form and breathing can help you identify potential problems or areas of improvement you might want to discuss with a professional.
These are just a few of the many ambling opportunities present in our area. We would love to hear about your favorite routes during your next appointment!
Whether you’re a beginning walker or a seasoned hiker, don’t let painful feet or ankles dampen your chances to get out and enjoy the trails. Our caring podiatrists can not only get to the root of your discomfort, but provide conservative treatments, advice, and preventative measures to keep you moving in confidence!
Our office on Foothill Boulevard (just a couple blocks from the Bridle Path!) is ready to hear from you whenever you need foot and ankle care. Give us a call at (909) 920-0884 or fill out our online contact form to have a member of our staff reach out to you.