California Hiking Trails That Are A Must See For Every Outdoor Lover

California is the third largest state in the United States by area. California has many cities. The state is endowed with many landscapes which include coastlines, mountains, deserts, redwood forest, and farmlands. California is famous because of Los Angeles which hosts Hollywood. 

Also, one of its cities San Francisco is renowned for its Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, and Alcatraz Island. Alcatraz Island is a National Historic Landmark while the Golden Gate Bridge connects San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. 

California is also associated with Wine Country, which is in Northern California. It is a wine-growing region boasting of over 400 wineries.

California Hiking Trails

Notwithstanding, California has many hiking spots. California hiking trails are diverse and range from easy to moderate to strenuous hikes. 

There are hikes for every skill level from beginner hikers to veterans. Trails range from short hiking trails to long hiking trails, and from day hikes to overnight stay hikes. 

The trails are versatile ranging from desert to mountain to beaches to creeks. What’s more, there are walking trails, running trails, bike trails and dog walking trails.

California is a big state. If you intend to tour the whole state, then it is easier to divide the state into two circuits, namely Southern and Northern. Then plan a tour for each area separately.

Southern California hiking trails

One of the things you will love about living or visiting Southern California is its sunny weather and the Pacific coastline. San Diego, which is in Southern California, has incredible surfing spots, famous zoos, and museums in addition to the famous Balboa Park.

Then Los Angeles is in Southern California. More importantly, Southern California has excellent hiking spots.

California Hiking Trails

Mt Baldy

A challenging and interesting day hike that will make you sweat while offering you cool air and mountain breezes. It is an 8 miles round trip to the Summit of Mt Baldy

There is a ski lift that operates only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays that can take you up or down the summit. Other great summits in Southern California include Cucamonga Peak.

California Hiking Trails

Malibu Creek

Malibu Creek is a cool hike because of plenty of water sources. The creek has many hiking opportunities to choose from. They range from a few hour trails to day-long treks.

Also read: 10 Florida hiking trails – The magnificent hiking trails and Beginner’s guide to hiking – Everything you need to know

The Bridge to Nowhere

The Bridge to Nowhere

The Bridge to Nowhere hike will take you through rivers to a bridge that seems to be in the middle of nowhere. The trek to the bridge is about 5 miles. Bring towels to enjoy swimming in the waters in this hiking spot; you can also choose to do bungee jumping.

Mt. Wilson Summit Trail

Mt. Wilson Summit Trail

Doing this hike up to the Sturtevant Falls is an experience of a lifetime. There are lots of little cabins along the way and streams. And the waterfall is one unusual sight.

Icehouse Canyon

Icehouse Canyon

Icehouse Canyon offers an excellent opportunity to get away from the city. This trail is at a high altitude of 5000 feet. Also, it is forested, and there is a creek running through the canyon. 

What’s more, you can extend your hike and visit Telegraph Peak, Thunder Mountain, Cucamonga Peak, Timber Mountain, Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak.

Southern California has other exciting hiking spots. You will love visiting the Hollywood sign which is a historic landmark in California and get to view Los Angeles. 

The Cave of Munits is in Tarzana town, a hike to the cave will give you impressive views of the city below and an enjoyable hike. Switzer Falls is a short and interesting hike in Los Angeles County. 

It is excellent for families. It offers great barbeque spots, shaded areas, and a swimming opportunity in the waterfalls.

Northern California hiking trails

Northern California is beautified by rivers, lakes, majestic mountains and redwood forests. A hiker has so much to choose from. Some of the interesting trails include Redwood National and State Parks, Yosemite National Park and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Peak may be strenuous for beginner hikers. The trek is rocky and steep, so better equip yourself with the right hiking shoes. You have an opportunity to see volcanic activity on this trail. 

The hike to the summit is 2.5 miles long. The hiking trail to the summit all the way to the top of the summit has stunning views. Plan to take about 5 hours to hike the Lassen Peak trail.

Redwood National and State Parks

Redwood National and State Parks

Hike in one of the oldest forests on earth. Jedediah Smith parks, Del Norte Coast and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, are part of Redwood National and State Park.

Redwood National and State Parks offers many hiking options to suit every hiker. The park has over 20 hiking trails to be explored all offering unique attractions and breathtaking views.

You get an opportunity to explore rivers, ancient trees, ferns, hardwood trees, shrubs and view other flora and fauna including insects, fish, and amphibians.

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

Though Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is a part of Redwood National and State Park, the trees here are smaller. You will have an opportunity to see Roosevelt Elk; you can camp at the beach, you can do 74 hiking miles or view the Fern Canyon. 

Fern Canyon has a 50-foot-tall wall, draped with ferns. This is the setting that was used in the famous film Jurassic Park. 

It is a very accessible park because it is right off the US Highway 101. Accessing the park requires you to pay National Park fees.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

This national park has the best trekking trails, impressive views, and famous landmarks. Among the things you will want to view are various famous landmarks including Half Dome, Yosemite Falls, El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls, Vernal Falls, Nevada Falls, Tuolumne Meadows and Tenaya Lake. 

The park offers spectacular views to hikers. There are many hiking trails in the park including John Muir Trail, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, The Mist Trail, and Glacier Point. You can get to view Mt Whitney when trekking the John Muir Trail.

Get an opportunity to hike Yosemite Falls. It is the tallest waterfall in California and one of the tallest waterfalls in the world. The best time to hike the Falls is in the spring when the waterfalls drop abundantly due to high water levels.

You may love to read: 10 Things To Know Before Hiking – Tips from the Gurus and How to Use Hiking Sticks – Educative Tips for You

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta is a snowcapped mountain that has so much to offer hikers of all levels. It has wildflowers, waterfalls, its main challenge being to climb Mt. Shasta’s summit. 

Gray Butte Trail is a popular trek on this mountain. You can also take the Haystack Trail and get panoramic views of Mount Shasta, Shasta Valley, and the Klamath Mountains.

Other hiking trails in Northern California

Other interesting hikes to take in Northern California include the Sierra Butte Fire Lookout. It is a 5.5 miles round-trip trail. 

Hiking the trail will give you excellent views of the Sierra Buttes, Tahoe National Forest and Upper and Lower Sardine Lakes. Visit an Abandoned Train Tunnel at Donner Summit and view artistic graffiti and spectacular views, carry a flashlight. The Devil’s Slide Trail, a 1.3 mile is another hiking spot to consider.

You can also hike Desolation Wilderness which has many hiking trails and gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe and the mountains. Siskiyou Wilderness is another spot with varied hiking trails ranging from half day to weeklong hikes. 

The area has six rivers, valleys, three National Forests, mountains, and grasslands.

Point Reyes also offers 150 miles of hiking. The attractions include sandy beaches, open grasslands, the Point Reyes Lighthouse among others. The area has so many species of plants and animals.


California is famous not only because of Hollywood but because of the sunny beaches and other famous landmarks. Both Northern and Southern California has great hiking spots to suit hikers of all levels.

Mountain Whitney which is in California has the highest summit in the United States; Redwood National Park has the tallest trees in the world while Yosemite National Park, has the tallest waterfall in North America. Enjoy viewing these fantastic places and more as you hike in California.

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