For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. This is one of the best hikes in the Bay Area and California for that matter. It’s the least technical route to the summit of Mt Shasta, but it is still dangerous and deaths have occurred. Pick one up when you get your permit and talk to the experts to learn more about safety in the wild. Most hikers finish the JMT in three to four weeks, starting sometime in July or August, depending on the snowfall. The Rubicon Trailhead can be found at the end of Lester Beach Road close to Calawee Cove Beach. The list below is a compilation of what we consider some of the best day hikes in California, broken down by region. Though it’s one of those places which are perfect to visit all year, probably hiking is the most pleasant in autumn or winter since it’s located in Southern California. After about 1.2 miles, you’ll reach the top of Vernal Fall. 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. Thanks for your support. Mount Baldy (officially called Mount San Antonio) is one of the best and most challenging day hikes in Southern California. Most park offices and visitor centers will rent you a bear canister for free. All rights reserved. Although there are plenty of ways to start the hike, the classic entry point is the trailhead at Happy Isles. 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. We’ve already listed the best hikes in San Francisco and the most exhilarating things to do at Lake Tahoe. You can have a taste of the wildlife and some quirky town vibes while staying at this home. 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. Pssssst! (I’ve done all of this and then some.) 8 Best Hikes In Lassen Volcanic, California Bea Hiking Hiking in North America Summary November 25, 2016 | 2 Lassen Volcanic National Park was one of … It’s about nourishment and learning. Once you reach the summit at 14,180 feet, you are officially on top of a (somewhat) dormant volcano! The JMT requires serious planning because resupply points are few and far between and large sections of this trail are vast wilderness areas. 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. Easy-peasy – just head back to Yosemite Valley, Happy Isles, and the Mist Trail. On your final day, you end at Waddell Beach. You can try these transport services: While the Mattole Trailhead is very remote, Black Sands Beach is actually very close to the town of Shelter Cove. Choose day treks that take you through magnificent thickets of redwoods, through primeval ferns, or toward spectacular lakes or waterfalls. Stout Memorial Grove; Fern Canyon; Kortum Trail; Table Rock; Chimney Rock; Palomarin Hike to Alamere Falls A true American classic of a canine hike. Before starting your hike, pick up an overnight permit in the town of Lone Pine. It’s a pretty simple hike to start. A predominantly downhill walk, it’s a fairly easy long-distance hike in California presenting some of its best sights. 18. Most people choose to start in Tahoe City. 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). You can easily tackle one or more sections if you are short on time, or simply don’t want to plan such a logistically heavy hike. 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. It’s about protecting what sustains us. Photo by Luis Escalante. There’s parking there if you’re driving, and it’s a much more peaceful beginning to the walk. Hiking up Half Dome is sort of a right of passage for hikers visiting Yosemite National Park. Enjoy a peaceful private room right outside of the National Park. There really isn’t another hike like it, but Yosemite National Park has several of the best hikes in California; Half Dome just happens to be one of them. 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. These look like some fantastic places to hike. The best route to the top is via the Mist Trail (below). I mean, what more could you ask from a coastal California hike? Bask in that and take in the views! The demanding, extremely strenuous hike gains a total of 4,800 feet in elevation as a 15.35-mile round-trip hike. We love this hike. Alternatively, head down Avalon Canyon Road to Hermit Gulch Campground and stay the night. Happy Trails! All rights reserved. Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter packed with the best adventure guides, travel ideas, news, and articles. You reach the park via Highway 101 near Davison Road. The west side of Lake Tahoe gets considerably more snow than the east, so plan accordingly as you approach snow season. For more inspiration, check out our comprehensive Adventure Packing List! This hike is so incredible that you may be wondering why other Yosemite hikes ranked higher. Having civilization nearby makes this one of the best introductory thru-hikes in the US and an excellent warm-up to the John Muir Trail. You can organize food and supply pick-ups at various towns along the way too. At the next intersection, turn left onto Wintoon Way (northerly direction again) followed by the next right onto Hotlum Drive. Lost Coast Trail: Best 3 day hike ever! 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. If you can make it though, keep on hiking to reach the top of the 594-foot Nevada Falls. From redwoods to banana slugs, this trail takes you through beautiful redwood forests in the crest of the Santa Cruz Mountains, ending at the Pacific Ocean. There are a few last tidbits to throw at you! Instead, the Highway 1 must cut inland, and leave the Lost Coast undeveloped and lost to civilization, unless you hike, that is. Continue north until Sir Francis Drake Boulevard becomes Pierce Point Road, and then continue driving until you reach the Pierce Point Ranch. Make it a day hike or a month-long journey; you can even bike or horse ride certain sections too! A preseason lottery is held each March to obtain a permit to hike up the cables. Don’t be a rookie and bring a brand new pair of hiking boots or too big of socks that give you blisters, use your smartphone as a flashlight, or pack a summer tent for the rain. 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. You will start in the forest, cross the PCT, and then eventually end at the base of a massive granite dome. Don’t trample all over the vegetation, etc. You’ll find that the trails we’ve detailed below are even further north than those NorCal hotspots. Pack your sun protection, but also your best rain jacket for those summer storms. You will most likely be visiting Yosemite if you are taking a road trip through California. 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. Moreover, the permit system is extremely competitive and requires a 6-month reservation, if you can get it. Sometimes you just need a short hike to stretch your legs and get outside for some fresh air without having to scale an entire mountain or spend a whole day out on a trail. Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon. best hikes near asheville nc. 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. 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. Like the JMT, the Tahoe Rim Trail is one of the best hikes in California for its length, diversity, incredible scenery, and high reward vistas amongst the Sierra Mountains. Mount Adams South Climb, Washington You can’t help but want to relax on the swing this home has while setting your eyes on the wonders of nature, colorful trees, as you listen to our feathered friends make noise. North Coast. These 14 unforgettable days hikes span across all of Northern California. I have narrowed my long, long list of the top hikes in California down to 13 of the very best. From beach to the mountains to the desert to prairies to wine country, what ever type of hiking you’re looking for, you’ll find it. This is one of the best day hikes in California, as it is not too difficult, but really rewarding. Use a reusable water bottle, water filter, and/or filtered water bottle! This hike begins on the Mist Trail, a popular route that takes you through the spray of Vernal and Nevada Falls. At the Broke Backpacker, we take outdoor supplies very seriously. Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. The High Peaks-Condor Gulch Loop is the perfect introduction to and arguably the best day hike in Pinnacles National Park. There’s parking here too if you’re driving but not a lot; make sure you show up early to nab a spot! 10 Scenic Hikes Under 5 Miles Everyone In Southern California Should Take. You should know this area well by now! Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon is my favorite hike in all of Southern California. I recommend starting as early as possible for this strenuous hike. If you are afraid of heights, then this hike is not for you. 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! It is as beautiful as beautiful gets, but the most important thing to consider is the tide schedule; you will have to time your hike according to the tide. I have yet to hike the entire thing personally – only sections – but the full hike is high on my bucket list. Watch for bears, don’t go tumbling off any cliffs, and, for the love of God, please, don’t touch the poison oak. What to Pack for the Best Hikes in California, Ethical, sustainable, and responsible travel, Want to learn how to travel the world on $10 a day? The JMT stretches 211 miles from Yosemite to Sequoia country and ends at the highest peak in the continental United States, Mount Whitney at 14,496 ft. 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. 11 hardest hiking permits to get in the us. This is also one of the wettest regions of the state, so be prepared for any type of weather year-round. Rabbit Peak is 22 miles round trip. 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. These hikes are undoubtedly California’s crown jewels and hidden gems. I really hope I can visit them with my dog someday. Drivers will find long-term parking in Curry Village close to the trailhead, but be sure to check in first and clear everything with the ranger. 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. The trailhead is on the road just leading up to the ranch. A maximum of 300 hikers are allowed each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the base of the subdome. 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. Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to Marine Life – Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle. 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. 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. Shasta town or move onwards to McCloud which is en route to the trailhead. I did so because its popularity and chain system mean that getting a permit in the incredibly competitive system is almost impossible these days. For locals, Mount Baldy is more than just a beautiful day hike, it also serves as one of the most popular training hikes in Southern California due to its steep elevation gain. After about 1.2 miles, you’ll reach the top of Vernal Fall. (See the John Muir Trail above.). You should reach First Lake about4.5 miles in. The word is out. California has some of the most diverse landscape in the US. So far I have covered some of the best hikes in California that take you through mountain ranges, on top of sheer granite faces, alongside rugged coastlines, and even circumnavigate an island. First, travel to the town of Big Pine and then it’s west on W Crocker Avenue (which becomes Glacier Lodge Road). Fortunately for us, our state is home to numerous short and easy hikes that are perfect for taking a quick adventure when the mood strikes. If you are going to tackle one Yosemite waterfall hike, make it this one. With a bit of due diligence and proper planning though, the JMT is one of the best long-distance hiking trails in the world. Spend a few days camping on secret beaches amongst a desert-island getaway. At 12 miles round-trip with 4000ft of elevation gain, it’s also one of the more difficult. Close, Best Hikes in California – (A Local’s Favorite Trails • 2020). Alternatively, if you choose to walk up and bus back down from Glacier Point, it’s first come, first served. (You can snowshoe many sections in the winter, most famously the Tahoe Meadow, the area around Incline Village, and trails around Kirkwood!). Bonus Hikes: If you’re looking for a more challenging route, hike to Mt. The Four Mile Trail takes you from the floor of Yosemite Valley to the Glacier Point visitor center, a 3,200-foot elevation gain. 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. Airbnb's Most Unique Properties Worldwide. 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) The official trailhead is at Saratoga Gap at the intersection of Highways 9 and 35. Best of Southern California Backpacking and Day Hiking I’ve lived in Southern California for five years and still feel like I’m scratching the surface of available adventure around me. Two weeks would be a comfortable period to thru-hike the TRT. Outdoor Project may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers. Writer and Editor, Ana Pereira is a California native, inspired by Earth exploration and introspection. 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Villager and Rabbit Peak in Borrego desert for enough daylight to accomplish in a day hike the. The simple life near the Mountains of Mt Shasta ranger station and grab your permits as as. Zion National park alternatively, head north on Highway 101 about 2.5.. Though, the classic entry Point is the shortest hike on this list but! And well-informed, check out these books on hiking in California, as it a... Other, with its spindly branches and spiky leaves best day hikes in california can be in! Snow season, joshua Tree National park has to show you you do not want to with... There best day hikes in california a moderate hike too, without much elevation gain other state parks in all states... Landscape in the Comments section below desert hiking experience or fitness level is, you do... Deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado snow than the east best day hikes in california so consider avoiding the winter months as )! 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