If it is snowy, you’ll need crampons and possibly an ice ax to ascend a steep snowfield to the top of a ridge above Clear Creek Meadow. You will have to pre-organize postal pick-ups in various towns. With its countless stacked boulders and … Slick rock, thunderstorms, and freezing nights are possible all year round. There’ll be a left-hand (westerly) turn onto Davidson Road. (Yep, California has glaciers too.). The hike out to Tomales Point has everything you could want from a California beach hike: jaw-dropping coastline, wild elk, and hills so green you will wonder if you are actually hiking in Ireland, not California. Home to thousands and thousands of miles of pristine hiking trails throughout backcountry and wilderness areas, and national and state parks, I had a tough time narrowing down this list. Outdoor Project may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers. It really is an enjoyable hike (only 450 feet in elevation gain) that takes you through an ancient redwood forest and a fern-covered canyon. Recently, she spent several months exploring Africa and South Asia. All rights reserved. No matter what your hiking experience or fitness level is, you’ll find the right hike on this list for you. There are buses that run from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point. Check out our other gear reviews, and remember to suit up! ". Once you reach the Pinewood Cove Resort, it’s time to … Stout Memorial Grove; Fern Canyon; Kortum Trail; Table Rock; Chimney Rock; Palomarin Hike to Alamere Falls This is one of the best day hikes California has, but it is not for the faint of heart. Alternatively, pitch up a tent in one of California’s best camping spots. The TRT travels through Mt. You can organize food and supply pick-ups at various towns along the way too. You might want to add Villager and Rabbit Peak In Borrego Desert. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure, Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino National Forest, San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California, Trinity Alps + Marble Mountain Wilderness, California. A true American classic of a canine hike. And have fun! Starting at either of Lake Tahoe’s two bordering cities (Tahoe City or South Lake Tahoe) and using the other city as a site to resupply is the easiest method of hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail. I can wholly recommend camping in the Prairie Creek campgrounds underneath the redwoods. Just north of San Francisco, Tomales Point makes for an excellent city escape. We’ve spent hundreds of hours testing, reviewing, and abusing gear that we hike and travel with for years on end. This strenuous and demanding climb is well worth the effort, not just for one, but two close-up views Yosemite’s most beautiful waterfalls: Vernal Fall and Nevada Falls. Cataract Falls is best hiked in the spring, after the heavy winter rains have ceased and given way to blooming wildflowers, a gurgling creek, and gushing waterfalls. You don’t want the weather to ruin a great trek, or worse, put your life in danger. At the Broke Backpacker, we take outdoor supplies very seriously. Hiking up Half Dome is sort of a right of passage for hikers visiting Yosemite National Park. Since the trailhead can be started from either Avalon or Two Harbors, heading to either will work: While you can walk the track either direction, most people start the hike from Avalon town itself. For about 160 miles (260 km), the trail follows the same footpath as the PCT. You’ll have to pay $8 for day use at the state park; there are campsites around here too. This hike is possibly the highlight of your stay in Yosemite National Park. But instead, stay in this cabin with ultimate comfort and the opportunity to see the wildlife the forest provides. At the next intersection, turn left onto Wintoon Way (northerly direction again) followed by the next right onto Hotlum Drive. Half Dome is one of the most famous rock formations in the world and has the associated human traffic. Fern Canyon is one of my favorite day hikes in California due to its incredible and rewarding views and plant diversity that looks like something out of Jurassic Park… A big bonus is that this hike can easily be done with small children. When I lived in the Bay Area, Castle Rock and Big Basin Redwoods State Park were my sanctuaries, and where I went to get away from the city action. Hiking in California: For a look at all the state has to offer, our guide to the top-rated hiking trails in California presents all the different environments to explore. This incredible hike in the Southern Sierras looks like something out of Banff, Canada. I mean, what more could you ask from a coastal California hike? The backcountry trail takes you through prime John Muir Wilderness and to seven incredible glacier lakes, notably named First Lake, Second Lake, Third Lake, and so forth…, You also have the opportunity to hike to the southernmost glacier in the country, Palisades Glacier. As a native Californian and avid outdoorswoman, I can attest that sometimes the hardest part about planning a hiking trip is deciding where to go in the first place. We love this hike. Grab some supplies (as this is the last major town on the route) before transferring to the Yosemite Area Regional Transit (YARTS) HWY 120/395 bus which will take you to the Yosemite Valley (close to Curry Village and the trailhead). This website uses cookies to improve your experience. For more inspiration, check out our comprehensive Adventure Packing List! This isn’t for beginner hikers: you still want to have some technical experience before tackling Shasta. Invest in quality items and you’ll find that the best hikes in California will only get better. Ever heard of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) – the 2,650-mile thru-hike on the West Coast, made mainstream famous by Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild? The north to south Lost Coast hike begins from the Mattole Beach Trailhead to the Black Sands Beach Trailhead respectively, and you’ll have to organise a shuttle transport (unless you have two hiking parties walking opposite directions with a car parked at each end). Note that this trail is accessible year-round, but winters can be a crapshoot. The Solstice Canyon Trail is among the most popular hiking trails in Southern California, as well as one of the best places to visit and admire nature in the Santa Monica Mountains. The best way to hike Mount Baldy is via a loop trail that starts up the Baldy Bowl Ski Trail and descends down the … This is easily one of the best hikes in Southern California, and probably the best if not including smaller hikes found in Joshua Tree NP. Since you’ll have to check-in at the ranger’s station, you can base yourself in Mt. It’s not too close where you won’t have your serene silence. Orizaba. The Panorama Trail is the perfect California day hike for nature lovers. If you didn’t catch on, the trail is named after the environmentalist/author/naturalist, John Muir, who fell in love with the Sierras and spent much of his life fighting to protect the wilderness among this mountain range. Shasta town or move onwards to McCloud which is en route to the trailhead. Following the Mist Trail will take you to both the top of Vernal and Nevada Falls and leave you with the option to loop back via the John Muir Trail. Below is a series of gear reviews that will put you in touch with everything you need for a fun, enjoyable, and successful hiking trek. - See 71 traveler reviews, 66 candid photos, and great deals for Eureka, CA, at Tripadvisor. Thanks for your support. All reviews easy hike parking lot howland hill road loop trail short hike smith river fallen trees parking is limited half mile huge redwoods awe inspiring parking area old growth Alternatively, you can combine this hike with the moderate five-mile James Irvine Trail that begins at Prairie Creek Redwoods State visitor center, which is where we decided to camp. At 10,064ft, it is challenging in length, height and terrain. The Trinity Lakeshore Trail—recognized as one of the best hikes in the Shasta-Trinity Forest—winds through an old-growth forest. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Choose day treks that take you through magnificent thickets of redwoods, through primeval ferns, or toward spectacular lakes or waterfalls. From the ancient coast redwoods of the north to the Big Sur coastline, from Lake Tahoe to the Eastern Sierra, and from Joshua Tree National Park to the coastal chaparral covered mountains of Southern California, the diversity of hiking zones in the golden state runs deep. What sets the Tahoe Rim Trail apart from other Sierra Mountain hikes is the infamous lake that the entire trail encircles: Lake Tahoe, an enormous, deep blue, subalpine lake surrounded by snowcapped peaks, green forests, and granite faces. Always hike out your own trash and any trash you find along the way. Bring a picnic and watch the elk graze with the Pacific Ocean stretching out behind them. Mount Adams South Climb, Washington 11 scenic hikes in yosemite national park. If you have the flexibility, consider trying to get a walk-in pass instead, knowing that it may require a few early mornings to be successful. Feel the cool mountain breeze on your cheek upon waking up as they also offer you a free breakfast. The 49 Palms Oasis Trail is among the most popular in the park. Before starting your hike, pick up an overnight permit in the town of Lone Pine. HIKING TIME: 3-4 hours (from the book 300 Day Hikes To Take With Your Dog Before He Tires You Out: Trails where you won’t be able to wipe the wag off your dog’s tail) For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. Picking just one day hike in Lake Tahoe was pretty difficult for me, what between Fallen Leaf, the jaunts around Eagle Lake, Desolation Wilderness, and Incline Village, but ultimately, I think the Rubicon Trail has some of the best views of Lake Tahoe, and a little bit of everything. Overlooking Washington Street, you can stay in this home with the whole family, make sure to head over to the Big Trees State Park the kids will love that, and then when it’s adult time, check out Murphys to taste some wine. A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the subdome. From McCloud, follow the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway east until you reach the intersection and left-hand turn (to the north) onto Pilgrim Creek Road. Your small efforts will be infinitely rewarded as you walk through a carved canyon covered in ferns and mosses with water dripping from the walls. The list below is a compilation of what we consider some of the best day hikes in California, broken down by region. This is the shortest hike on this list, but don’t let the distance fool you. The hike finishes at the Glacier Point visitor’s center, one of the best viewpoints of the valley, where I highly suggest catching the sunset with a well-deserved snack from the visitor center shop. 99.9% of hikers are firmly in the day-hike only camp, and usually it’s just a matter of not knowing how to start and where to go to gain some backpacking experience. Starts at 10,200 ft elevation, so don’t do it on your first day in the mountains, but mostly flat (about 500 ft elevation gain on granite stairs in a few places), and all along a creek and multiple lakes. And on a final note, please do read up on the leave no trace principles before embarking on any grand hiking adventures in California. There is a shuttle system to get back to your car. The trailhead is on the road just leading up to the ranch. Whether you’re in Sonora on business or traveling through the Sierra & Gold Country, look no further because this dreamy home offers just about everything you need. Before we get to the good stuff – the list of the best long hikes in California – we want to remind you to be a responsible hiker. Located 2 hours east of Los Angeles, Joshua Tree comprises two deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado. It is an easy hike, though it requires quite a few stream crossings so bring water shoes or good pair of sandals! This is the ultimate community accomplishment! With only an hour away from the Yosemite park, you can pop in and come back knowing there’s a warm place to rest your head after all the activities and adventures that take place on your endeavors. To qualify these hikes we asked ourselves the following two questions: The majority of the listed hikes below can be done in a half day or less. Best Hikes, Southern California 1. These 14 unforgettable days hikes span across all of Northern California. We know that’s not a priority, but it sure is nice to kick back and catch a flick if you’re taking a break some camping or trekking. 18. You should reach First Lake about4.5 miles in. The west side of Lake Tahoe gets considerably more snow than the east, so plan accordingly as you approach snow season. Hope you can join us! Camping is allowed along the entirety of the trail except in section 7, Desolation Wilderness, where you must obtain an overnight permit at the Tahoe Basin National Forest Information Center. (See the John Muir Trail above.). The trail starts in America’s treasure, Yosemite National Park at the Northern Terminus Happy Isles and continues through the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Sequoia National Park, King’s Canyon National Park until you reach Mt. Leaving no trace also means respecting the surrounding nature. For visitors traveling California state and wanting to get off the beaten path, this trail is the best way to explore both the most popular national parks AND the most under-the-radar wilderness areas simultaneously in the heart of the devastatingly beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. Enjoy a peaceful private room right outside of the National Park. Yosemite National Park is the most famous national park in California, if not the USA. Many people tackle the TRT in sections over years, and others complete the rim trail in one go. You should know this area well by now! This place is as close as you can get to the national park without actually staying inside but also giving you the same experience as if you were camping. As you reach the top, you get a straight-on shot of Yosemite Falls across the valley (see above picture), and views of Sentinel Dome, El Capitan, and Half Dome. The views of the valley and raging waterfalls (specifically in late spring) make this one of the best day hikes in California as well as one of the best hikes in the USA for waterfall chasers. The hike itself isn’t too difficult, but it is actually one of the best day hikes in the USA, let alone on this whole list. Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon is my favorite hike in all of Southern California. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered. The Rubicon Trailhead can be found at the end of Lester Beach Road close to Calawee Cove Beach. Given that it’s the Tahoe Rim Trail is actually a loop walk and has 10 official trailheads (plus all the sneaky unofficial ones), you’re really swimming in options! The demanding, extremely strenuous hike gains a total of 4,800 feet in elevation as a 15.35-mile round-trip hike. Best Easy Hikes in Yosemite - If a trail was under 4 miles long OR under 1,000 feet of total elevation gain, I rated this hike as “easy” 4. There’s parking here too if you’re driving but not a lot; make sure you show up early to nab a spot! Falls tend to be the driest and sunniest time of the year, though, and summers have less rain but tend to be foggy. Sometimes there's just no substitute for the therapy gained from a nature walk. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Much of the hike is exposed and quickly gains more elevation, so be prepared with sun-protection and ample water, and the potential for altitude sickness. You reach the park via Highway 101 near Davison Road. While this is a year-round hike, it may be limited after rains, so consider avoiding the winter months. California is a leader in the national First Day Hikes program, in which state parks in all 50 states and Canada participate. You do not want to get stuck behind a bunch of hikers at the cables. Our favourite travel backpack is the Aer Travel Pack 2. First, travel to the town of Big Pine and then it’s west on W Crocker Avenue (which becomes Glacier Lodge Road). Easy-peasy – just head back to Yosemite Valley, Happy Isles, and the Mist Trail. On Section 3 of the TRT, you will hike through Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park on the Nevada side of Tahoe. Moreover, the permit system is extremely competitive and requires a 6-month reservation, if you can get it. The hike itself takes you through wild forests and empty stretches of beach. This route begins at the Clear Creek Trailhead (elevation 6390 ft). Joshua Tree National Park has long been a popular destination for hikers in Southern California. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Best Moderate Hikes in Yosemite - If the trail was within the 4-7 mile range OR between the 1,000 to 2,500 feet of total elevation gain, I rated this hike as “moderate” 3. You’re back in Yosemite Valley and at Happy Isles. This is the Southernmost glacier in North America! This article has been updated since it was originally published in November 2016. On your final day, you end at Waddell Beach. Consider making this a longer hike 9-mile total hike, which my boyfriend decided to casually run like the show-off he is. This hike is so incredible that you may be wondering why other Yosemite hikes ranked higher. Often times there is a reason you must stick to the trails, especially in protected reserves, parks, and lands. Hiking to Nevada Falls and back takes around 6 hours. We promise not to annoy you, but if you wish, you may unsubscribe at any time. While there is a nearly endless list of great hiking destinations throughout the country, perhaps no land mass holds more diversity for day hikes in terms of terrain type, ecology and climate variety than the state of California. It’s crazy important to buy excellent travel insurance coverage before embarking on any grand advntures. On this hike, you get to summit Mount Shasta, a volcano with a glacier and ski lift on it… This grueling hike gains 7,900 feet, so it is not for the faint-hearted. Bonus Hikes: If you’re looking for a more challenging route, hike to Mt. At the end of this road is the main trailhead for the Big Pine Creek North Fork Trail. Whether it be a jaunt through the woods, a day out in the mountains or a morning stroll along the coast, getting out for a hike leads to a wide range of benefits that supports a healthy mind, body and soul. Do your part to help keep these trails clean and beautiful, and always practice leave no trace principles when camping or trekking in the backcountry. With an early rise the next morn, you can reach the next designated campsite (Black Jack Campground) with plenty of daylight left and even make a side-hike to the summit of Mt. A preseason lottery is held each March to obtain a permit to hike up the cables. Once you get to the High Peaks area, the views are nothing but sensational in all directions. Check out the Broke Backpacker’s Bible…. (I’ve done all of this and then some.) At 6 miles round trip, this hike goes up from the very beginning and is a leg workout the entire way. Monte Bello Open Space Preserve, California. It’s about protecting what sustains us. Both the Mist Trailhead and the John Muir Trail (the same as before) begin in this spot. We’ve already listed the best hikes in San Francisco and the most exhilarating things to do at Lake Tahoe. Pack your sun protection, but also your best rain jacket for those summer storms. Reduce (or eliminate!) You can either start or finish the hike at Glacier Point (the other trailhead is on Southside Drive leading into the Yosemite Valley). The official trailhead is at Saratoga Gap at the intersection of Highways 9 and 35. If it’s rained recently, consider a different hike – there are some slippery, wet parts … No matter how long it takes you to complete the TRT, you are invited to join the famous TRTA 165 Mile Club upon completion, in which you are assigned a member number and sent a certificate, pin, and patch. If you are hiking and camping overnight, you will need a bear canister! Please make sure to let us know which are your favorite California day hikes in the Comments section below. Malibu has a lot of great hikes, but a local favorite is the Solstice Canyon Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The Lost Coast Trail is a section of Northern California coastline – from Northern Mendocino into Humboldt county – that is so rugged and wild, the old logging companies tried and failed to build a road here. Trails and chilling out on the balcony this apartment has lottery is held each March to a. 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