Best Backpacking in California

Looking for the best backpacking in California? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around California. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the incredible Outbound community.

  • Backpack Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest

    Start out at the Tenaya Lake Trailhead, where you can head directly onto the trail for Clouds Rest or you can branch off after 2.7 miles to Sunrise Lakes. This allows you to break up the hike, spend a night relaxing and help you have an early star...

    15.5 miles 1775 ft gain

  • Backpack to the Ventana Wilderness' Sykes Hot Springs

    The trek to Sykes Hot Springs is about 10-miles one way along the Pine Ridge Trail. This is a great backpacking trip, but can be done as an out-and-back hike from the campgrounds at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park if you're really moving.The trail is ...

    20 miles 5600 ft gain

  • Backpack Redwood National and State Parks

    Day 1: Check with the Rangers station before heading up for best camping opportunities. Assuming you've checked with the rangers for approval...if there are openings, off of the main road, there are side streets with access to the beaches. Pull in...

    6 miles

  • Clifftop Camping & Hot Springs in Big Sur

    Campsite:There is nothing quite like driving or biking along US-1, the Pacific Coast Highway. Make sure you get a chance to do the drive during the day so that you can see all that Big Sur has to offer. Be careful when pulling off especially onto ...

  • Camping at The Pots

    This fantastic camping or chilling spot has beautiful granite pools and slides of all sizes. The area consists of a river flowing over a granite slab creating pools some of which are over ten feet deep. The water cascades down the granite in small...

  • Hike to Little Yosemite in the Sunol

    Please note this is a fragile ecosystem and watershed. There is NO swimming allowed in Alameda Creek and trespassing is prohibited on Water Department lands that are not accessible to the public. You can learn more about the restrictions and the a...

    4 miles

  • Backpack Eaton Canyon to Idlehour

    Idlehour is nestled deep in the Angeles National Forest, so it feels like you're in the heart of some untapped wilderness instead of six miles away from a bustling metropolis. The trail camp is accessible by foot through a variety of locations, bu...

    12 miles

  • Climb Cone Peak in Big Sur (Sea to Sky Backpacking Route)

    While you can make a day-hike out of it by driving up the gorgeous Sur-Nacimiento Road from Highway 1 to the Coast Ridge Road and take a 2 mile trail to the summit with 1300' of elevation gain (4 miles roundtrip), the more adventurous types do a S...

    23 miles 5300 ft gain

  • Backpack to the "Waterfall Camp" in Desolation Wilderness

    Although this hike can be done as a day hike, it is an awesome place to camp. There is a lot to explore and you will want to spend as much there time as you can. The easiest way to start this hike is to start at the Echo Lakes. There is ample park...

    10.5 miles 840 ft gain

  • Backpack the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail

    Want to experience one of the bay area's most memorable backpacking trips? We've got the details to get you out on the trail.To start the trek, drop your car at the Castle Rock State Park Parking Lot, which is located ~2.5 miles south of the junct...

    30.8 miles

  • Backpack The Lost Coast: Mattole to Black Sands Beach

    This is an absolutely stunning 25 mile thru-hike on the northern part of California's coast. To accomplish this hike, you'll either need to bring 2 cars or use a shuttle service. It's recommended that you drop one car at the Shelter Cove Trailhead...

    24 miles

  • Backpack to Point Reyes' Wildcat Camp

    In order to make this trip possible, go to recreation.gov and make a reservation for Wildcat Camp (available year-round). On your way to the trailhead, make sure to stop by the Bear Valley Visitor Center to grab your camping permit. For more infor...

    11.4 miles 1945 ft gain