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Top 10 places to hike in California

Posted by Mary K. on

1.) Muir Woods: A National Monument in Mill Valley, California, only 12 miles north of San Francisco. It is well known for its beautiful and towering coast redwood trees, some of the tallest in the world, and 6 miles of hiking trails which consist of boardwalked or paved surfaces.


2.) Chantry Flats: It's a recreation area in the Angeles National Forest located in Arcadia, California. Trails include the Upper Winter Creek and Lower Winter Creek trail loop, and the Sturtevant Falls trail near Santa Anita Creek, which connect throughout the San Gabriel Mountains.

3.) Yosemite National Park: Located in Yosemite National Park, California, among the Sierra Nevada mountains. Some of the hiking trails within Yosemite include Yosemite Valley, Glacier Point Road, Wawona and Mariposa Grove, Hetch Hetchy, White Wolf, and Tuolumne Meadows.

4.) Death Valley National Park: Located in Death Valley, California, does not have many constructed trails because most routes are up canyons, along ridges, or just cross country. Due to extremely high summer temperatures, it is best to visit Death Valley in the months from November through March. Lower elevations tend to trap more heat so it's best to hike those areas on cooler days.

5.) Backbone Trail: This trail is located within the Santa Monica Mountains and is approximately 67 miles long. This area is one out of only five coastal Mediterranean habitats in the world, and is more suitable for day hiking vs. thru hiking because campsites are limited along this trail. Dogs are permitted as long as they are on a leash. You will be able to learn the history of the area as you hike through Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral, Oak Woodlands, Meadows, and Streamside areas.

6.) Crystal Cove State Park: Located in Laguna Beach, California, this destination has well marked trails along the pacific coastline. Enjoy views of the mountains, ocean, and even Catalina Island! We recommend The Red Route, it's a moderate hike about 6 miles long (2 hours) and starts and ends at the El Moro Visitor Center.

7.) McCloud River Falls Trail: This trail is approximately 4 miles long, and located in the Mount Shasta area of Northern California. The best seasons to hike here would be Spring, Summer, and Fall. You'll pass three waterfalls along the McCloud river, and end your hike in a beautiful meadow.

8.) Canyon Creek Lakes: This trail is located in the Trinity Alps, it is fairly straight and hikers have the opportunity to enjoy jagged granite peaks, lakes, meadows, waterfalls, and all the other beautiful scenery that the wilderness has to offer. It's great to hike here all year round, and the canyon is so large that even with multiple hikers present you get a sense of solitude. The most common area to hike is in the upper canyon.

9.) Phantom Falls: Located on North Table Mountain in Oroville, CA, near Lake Tahoe. This loop is about 11 miles long. You'll be able to see grazing cattle and waterfalls, however due to the lack of a physical trail, you'll need to hike cross country style in a north-west direction to reach Phantom Falls.

10.) Chimney Rock: This hiking destination is located in Marin, CA, along the Point Reyes National Seashore. This scenic trail is about 1.4 miles long, definitely one of the shorter hikes but no less attractive with the opportunity to see marine life, the vast pacific ocean, and yellow wildflowers. Definitely a nature lovers dream!