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

  • Ventura, California

    Potato Harbor Trail

    5.0
    4.34 mi / 404 ft gain
    As California’s largest island, Santa Cruz Island of the Channel Islands is the perfect little getaway from Los Angeles. Getting to the island is possible only by a one hour boat ride through Island Packers, click here to find out more about them. Be sure to pack light since you’ll be carrying ev...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Hike to Artist Point in Yosemite National Park

    4.8
    2 mi / 500 ft gain
    Park at the Tunnel View parking lot. The Pohono Trail, which you fill follow for the first half mile, starts on the left side of Wawona Tunnel. You should notice a small path starting from the parking lot. The trail quickly ascends up a series of switchbacks before reaching a junction. If you...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Hike to Pfeiffer Falls

    4.0
    2 mi
    This trail is a staff favorite at Big Sur. This family-friendly waterfall trail provides only a moderate challenge for young children and older family members. There are two starting points for this hike depending on where you stashed the car. If you’re parked near the gift shop, the head up the ...
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  • Twentynine Palms, California

    Camp at Hidden Valley in Joshua Tree

    4.8
    Joshua Tree National Park is known for its world class rock climbing, out of this world landscapes, and some of the darkest skies around. Having a base camp inside of the park is incredibly important as it's quite massive and I found that Hidden Valley Campground is strategically placed smack dab...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    10 Lakes Basin in Yosemite

    5.0
    13.38 mi / 2200 ft gain
    Beginning at the Ten Lakes trailhead, the trail to the lakes is a moderately strenuous uphill grind to Ten Lakes pass, followed by a quick downhill into the lake basin. We met a woman at the top who made sure we didn’t miss the short side trail to a vista point on the pass that offered a sweeping...
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  • Wawona, California

    Cathedral Lakes

    4.8
    9.04 mi / 1100 ft gain
    Starting at the Cathedral Lakes Trailhead near the Tuolumne Meadows parking lot (if parking is full at the TH), this trail wanders through the classic High Sierra forest with large white granite boulders and pine trees. After approximately 4 miles of quiet solitude in the forest, you will reach ...
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  • Penn Valley, California

    Fairy Falls Trail to Shingle/Beale Falls

    4.1
    4.87 mi / 535 ft gain
    Start at the Fairy Falls trailhead in Spenceville Wildlife Area Field Trial Grounds in Penn Valley (careful on the bumpy roads in). From the parking lot, cross a small bridge and make a right onto a dirt road. After about a mile you will follow the road to the right and continue through the gate....
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  • Malibu, California

    Sandstone Peak

    4.8
    3.03 mi / 971 ft gain
    If you live in Los Angeles, Sandstone Peak is a must! The hike to the summit can be done on a 2 mile hike up and back on Sandstone Peak Trail, or a 6.5 mile hike up and back on Backbone Trail. The shorter trail is more popular, yet both are equally rewarding. You won't believe the views from the...
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  • Homewood, California

    Eagle Rock

    4.0
    0.84 mi / 105 ft gain
    Starting at an outcrop off Highway 89 in Tahoe Pines, hikers make their way up the trail through a gradually sloping forest. Climbing rocks and logs, it is strenuous at times but only takes about 15-20 minutes to accomplish. Once at the top, the elevation is 6,286 feet and consists of an absolute...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Ewoldsen Trail (Closed)

    4.5
    4.2 mi / 1500 ft gain
    This trail is temporarily closed. For updates, please head to Parks.CA.Gov. The Ewoldsen Trail is one of the more accessible yet challenging hikes in Big Sur. It is a stunning hike through the redwood forest up the mountains of Big Sur to a gorgeous overlook of the Pacific. It is a beautiful ~4...
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  • Altadena, California

    Thalehaha Falls

    1.71 mi / 679 ft gain
    The trails starts in a foothill neighborhood of Altadena CA at the corner of Pleasantridge Dr. and Rubio Vista Rd. This is one of the better entries into the Angeles National Forest because it is one of the lesser known. Find a place to park on the street and head out on the trail into Rubio Cany...
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  • Inyo County, California

    Camp in the Alabama Hills

    4.8
    The Alabama Hills Recreation Area is a area owned by BLM and open to the public. Camping is free and you can say for a max of 14 days.The are has 100+ open desert sites that are shadowed by some of the tallest peaks in the Sierra Nevada range. And if that wasn't enough, the area was the backdrop ...
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  • Arcadia, California

    Mt. Wilson Loop from Chantry Flat

    5.0
    12.74 mi / 4852 ft gain
    Mt. Wilson is one of the more difficult mountains in the San Gabriel to hike, making this adventure Intermediate. While 5,700 feet doesn't seem that tall, the mountain has a prominence of almost 5,300 feet, meaning that hike is steeper and longer than some of the other popular mountains that star...
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  • Tulare County, California

    Moro Rock

    5.0
    0.47 mi / 577 ft gain
    Moro Rock is a granite dome with a staircase leading to the 6,725 foot summit, where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Great Western Divide. From Generals Hwy, you can drive up Crescent Meadow Road to the parking lot at the base of Moro Rock (summer weekends the road is closed for shuttles ...
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  • Malibu, California

    Newton & Zuma Canyon Falls

    4.3
    2 mi / -600 ft gain
    Three waterfalls in one short hike?!...I'll take it! That's what you'll get if you make the visit to these falls in the Santa Monica mountains in Malibu. The trailhead starts on Kanan Dume road, which is also where the Backbone trail meets. Park in the designated (free) parking area and take the ...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Bronson Bat Caves

    3.3
    0.61 mi / 66 ft gain
    Who doesn't enjoy a short hike to a scenic/remote location? I know I sure do! After hearing about this spot through word of mouth and the internet, and seemingly never having the time to check it out, I honestly have to say it was a worthwhile trip. This short 0.6 out and back hike/walk to the f...
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