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The Best Hiking in California

Looking for the best hiking 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 Outbound community.

Top hiking spots in and near California

  • Palomarin Trailhead, California

    Alamere Falls via Palomarin Trailhead

    4.5
    13.54 mi / 1614 ft gain
    The hike to Alamere falls is a 12.2 mile out-and-back in Point Reyes National Seashore. Start at the Palomarin Trailhead located in the parking lot near the restrooms. After about 2 minutes on the trail, you'll see a map on your right that lays out the trail to the falls as well as a few campgrou...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Sunrise Lakes to Clouds Rest

    4.7
    18.93 mi / 1775 ft gain
    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 start back on the trail. Once re-connected to the Clo...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Lands End Trail

    4.7
    3.26 mi / 500 ft gain
    The Lands End Trail in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a fairly easy 3.26 mile out-and-back hike along the coastline of San Francisco. Entrances to the trail are at both the Visitor Center parking Lot just up from Cliff House or in the Sea Cliff neighborhood off of El Camino del Mar (...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Sykes Hot Springs via Pine Ridge Trail

    4.2
    18.96 mi / 7339 ft gain
    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 moderately challenging, you'll cross the river t...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Wisdom Tree

    4.8
    0.95 mi / 528 ft gain
    In Griffith Park, park along Lake Hollywood Drive and walk the paved quarter mile up Wonder View Drive to the start of Wonder View Trail. Here, walk through the yellow gate and make the first right after the road turns to dirt. Head up this unmarked single track path heading east up the mountain....
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  • Stinson Beach, California

    Cataract Falls

    4.2
    2.81 mi / 1184 ft gain
    Cataract Falls is one of the most stunning hikes in the bay area after a recent rain. The drive to the trailhead alone is beautiful as you pass Alpine Lake on Bolinas Fairfax Rd. Cataract is a 3-mile total out-and-back hike that gains 750ft in the first mile. Unlike Alamere Falls, where you trek ...
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  • Mill Valley, California

    Canopy, Panoramic, Redwood Trail, Sun, Dipsea Trail Loop

    4.7
    4.31 mi / 1145 ft gain
    While there are other, less crowded redwood groves in the Bay Area, Muir Woods National Monument is easily one of the best. It is a beautifully maintained site, with wooden footpaths meandering between towering redwoods that are between 600 – 800 years old. It’s home to some true giants, with its...
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  • Orick, California

    Tall Trees Grove, Redwood Creek, Emerald Ridge Loop

    4.4
    4.41 mi / 1043 ft gain
    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 into one of these areas and drive down as far as you...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Lover's Lane, Ecology, Mountain Lake Trail Loop

    4.5
    2.04 mi / 344 ft gain
    Tucked into a corner of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area is the Presidio, a beautiful little oasis of forests, beaches, and sweeping views that locals love. While the coastal trails get most of the attention here, the park covers 300 acres of prime real estate with lots of notable attract...
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  • Apple Valley, California

    Hike to Deep Creek Hot Springs

    4.2
    2 mi / 900 ft gain
    Deep Creek Hot Springs is nestled along the Mojave River at an elevation of 3,000 feet in the San Bernardino Mountains. This year-round mineral water retreat consists of three pools the size of large hot tubs, that range in temperature from around 96 degrees in the first pool to 102 in the third....
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  • Mill Valley, California

    Summit of Mt. Tamalpais Loop

    5.0
    1.15 mi / 394 ft gain
    Mt. Tam is a large park with plenty of amazing viewpoints, but the East routes and the East Peak are best for sunsets. Once you're at the top, it's an amazing spot to view a large number of Marin trails, which can help you can get a head start on planning your next adventure. At 2,570 feet, this ...
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  • Newport Beach, California

    Exploring the Arches at Little Corona del Mar

    4.9
    Little Corona del Mar Beach is a secluded beach located on Poppy Avenue across Ocean Boulevard in Corona del Mar. Known as one of the less crowded beaches in the area, this spot is the perfect place to chill for the day or photograph a sunset. You will find plenty of free street parking in the ne...
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  • Burney, California

    Hike to Burney Falls

    4.8
    1.3 mi / 157 ft gain
    Although the falls can be seen right from the parking area, this scenic 1.3 mile loop is a great hike for all levels of hiking ability. Heading out on this trail will take you to the base of this 129 foot tall waterfall. Allegedly, Theodore Roosevelt referred to these falls as the “eighth wonder ...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Clifftop Camping & Hot Springs in Big Sur

    4.7
    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 the shoulder and never stop on a curve in the road...
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  • Fremont, California

    Mission Peak via Ohlone Trail

    4.1
    6.16 mi / 2116 ft gain
    Breathtaking views of the Bay Area are your reward for making this climb to the top of Mission Peak. It’s a 3 mile trek to the top of the peak and then back down the same way. This is a moderate hike that provides a nice workout – so be prepared. Park at the Stanford Avenue entrance gate. There ...
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  • San Diego, California

    Hiking Torrey Pines

    4.7
    5.5 mi / 300 ft gain
    The beach trail brings you from the parking lot across the lodge from the bluff down to the beach. You can choose to visit the Red Butte, the Razor Point, and the Yucca Point trails along the way. Of the other trails, this trail seems to provide a complete walkthrough of geological features; it a...
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