John McKinney Shares the True Nature of California in Hiking on the Edge: Dreams, Schemes, and 1600 miles on the California Coastal Trail Hiking on the Edge News Release

When John McKinney first planned his epic hike along the California coast, his purpose was strictly pedestrian: to pioneer a route for the new California Coastal Trail.

It all began over nachos and beer. Free-spirited board members of the California Coastal Trails Foundation met at a beachside cantina to chart annual progress toward realizing their dream: a 1600-mile-long trail on the edge of California. Despite their three years of mapping and promotional efforts, the California Coastal Trail remained all but unknown.

To literally and figuratively put the trail on the map, someone needs to hike the whole thing, board members decided. And that someone should be John McKinney, Eagle Scout, The Trailmaster, native son of the Golden State. He was perfect for the job: strong legs, an adventurous spirit, and “he doesn’t have a real job—he’s a writer.”

No one, until McKinney agreed to do so, had ever hiked along the edge of the state to determine if a California Coastal Trail was even possible. Were the beaches passable at low tide? Could the bluffs be traveled without arrest for trespass? Could a trail be found through the rugged coastal mountains? The intrepid trailblazer found the answers to these questions—and to more profound ones that never occurred to him until he was on his challenging journey of discovery.

“The natural beauty of the landscapes and seascapes exceeded my high expectations,” declares McKinney. “What I didn’t expect was hiking head-on into so many controversies on the edge of California: nature boutiqued, coastal access denied, bureaucracies run amok, zombie nuclear power plants, oil and more oil.”

“Unforgettable and near and dear to my heart, are the marvelous people I met along the way,” adds the author, “including the founding father of whale-watching, backcountry rangers, nuns praying for mercy for the redwoods, and for us all.”

Originally published as A Walk Along Land’s End by HarperCollins, Hiking on the Edge records a pilgrimage like no other, complete with new and previously unpublished stories and chapters. A saga, a celebration, a comedy, and a lament, this narrative ranks with the classics of California travel literature.

Hiking on the Edge: Dreams, Schemes and 1600 Miles on the California Coastal Trail (ISBN: 978-0-934161-69-5, $16.95) is available from Amazon, retailers &

John McKinney, aka The Trailmaster, is the author of 30 books about hiking including The Hiker’s Way and Hiking the Holy Mountain, and a passionate advocate for hiking and our need to reconnect with nature. He lives in Santa Barbara, California.