Welcome to Hiking With Dean, the largest and most popular Meetup hiking group in the country and 2nd largest in the world (after Hong Kong Hiking Meetup)*. Our hikes are based upon a simple philosophy: You should be able go out your front door and within a few minutes be on trails winding your way through the local wilderness. Thus, most of our hikes are found in the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susana Mountains, Simi Hills and Conejo Valley.
We are not a beginner hiking group, but I do schedule beginner hikes sometimes and some hikes do have a beginner option. Be sure to read the hike descriptions and ask questions if you have any. Most of our hikes are moderate to strenuous. Because of my own limitations we’ll refrain from any serious rock climbing and avoid precarious ledges and ridges. But we do avoid fire roads when we can.
Our hiking group is different from the others. Instead of looking through just hiking books for a hike, I look through my collection of old maps and aerials for forgotten ranch roads and trails that I can add to the book hikes. Once upon a time our “open space” was home to ranchers, farmers, movie sets, homesteaders, and other characters that have left behind their marks for us to discover and uncover.
*HWD has the largest membership per leader
Exclusive V.I.P. Club
As a HWD member you are eligible to join our VIP Hiking Club. Enjoy many benefits not available in other groups, for example, breakfast at the trail head, free prizes and other goodies, hiking secret and forbidden trails, no waiting lists, etc. Sounds better than the usual “please donate” doesn’t it? For more information please visit the VIP web site.
Hike Rating Guide
The following ratings are to be used as a general guideline to determine the difficulty of a hike, both by the Organizer/Host, and the prospective participants. There are no hard and fast rules.
EASY: Dayhikes covering mostly level terrain, no difficult trail, generally less than five miles total.
MEDIUM: Dayhikes covering a variety of terrain, with a few steep or difficult areas, but no prolonged steep grades or difficult terrain, and generally between five and ten miles in length total (or shorter hikes with more difficult terrain), or covering terrain of any length where no trail exists (a bushwhack hike).
DIFFICULT: Longer dayhikes up to ten miles and more total length, and/or covering terrain that contains prolonged steep or difficult stretches (a short hike could be rated difficult if the terrain really is such), or a longer bushwhack hike covering difficult terrain.
- Don’t be a flake by signing up and not showing up
- No dogs unless indicated in hike description (our special dog-friendly hikes)
- By joining you agree to the Assumption of Risk and Liability Waiver
Proud Member of:
Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council
California State Parks Foundation
The Mountains Restoration Trust
Montecito Trails Foundation
Conejo Open Space Foundation
A Few Testimonials
Dean is a wonderful leader. He really paid attention to the needs of the group. He facilitated the group, but didn’t control the group. I will attend again — Kimmy
If Dean [one of the original SoCal Meetup-ers mind you] would ever write a book on hiking SoCal [as he rightfully should] it would be a must-buy. Dean is both knowledgeable and adventurous. Conscientious and kind. I would have no problem hiking with Dean anywhere. – Les
Dean is a great hike leader. He knows the trails. — Lydia
The group leader Dean is very conscious of all of us hikers as a group. We all get to trek at our own pace comfortably and still stay together.He’s got an agenda planned with an extra twist on where we are going to hike. — elyse
Dean is an excellent group leader who knows the trails very well. He is always looking out for the welfare of his hikers. The group attracts some of the most pleasant people you can hope to meet. — Bruce
What can I say? This group ROCKS!!! Some of the friendliest people I have met and the Organizer, Dean is a sweetheart! – Sara
Dean has organized the best group of hikers who like to hike and have fun. — Blake
Dean is extremely knowledgeable and serves up a seemingly endless array of hikes. A very pleasant and down-to-earth group of people who are easy to get to know … and like — Drew
Dean is a strong hike leader with a friendly and outgoing group of people who know how to have fun while hiking – Laura
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