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

  • Truckee, California

    Backpack the Palisades Creek Trail

    4.0
    15 mi / 2200 ft gain
    After driving out to Kidd Lakes and parking at the trailhead, you take off through some easy forest hiking past Cascade Lakes and Long Lake. Pay attention to the cairns marking the trail as you traverse across a large granite section with Devils Peak to your West. The trail is easy to follow and ...
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  • San Diego, California

    Explore Chambers Hidden Dam and Waterfall

    3.2
    0.5 mi
    Once you get off on Poway road, turn right onto Sabre Springs Parkway. Take your immediate left onto Creekbridge Road and park right there on the hill. Walk straight down towards the black gate and go down the hill. Turn right on the trail and walk down 1/4 mile to the dam, and another 500 yards ...
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  • Antioch, California

    Hike the Old Homestead Loop

    5.0
    6.5 mi
    This is a fun day hike that takes you through the beautiful hills of the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve and a bit of the Contra Loma Recreational Area as well. You can hike here year round, but I suggest going in the spring time when the hills are covered in soft, green grass and the wild ...
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  • Sequoia National Park, California

    Backpack the High Sierra Trail

    5.0
    71 mi
    The High Sierra Trail begins at Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park, on the West side of the Sierra Nevada range, and ends at Whitney Portal on the East, traversing the highest and most beautiful part of the Sierras. From deep river canyons to high alpine peaks, lakes, and meadows, this hike...
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  • Loch Leven Lakes Trailhead, California

    Loch Leven Lakes Trail

    4.4
    7.6 mi / 1480 ft gain
    The trail is easy to follow for the first half mile until you get to some large slabs of granite. As you continue up the trail look for stacked rocks, these will give you a an easy route as you continue up the mountain. The trail then starts to switch back eventually leading to a small bridge. Af...
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  • Mountain Center, California

    Mount San Jacinto via Devil's Slide

    4.5
    14.57 mi / 4475 ft gain
    Mt. San Jacinto is the second tallest peak in Southern California at 10,834’. Although this route requires a fair amount of work, the effort is more than rewarded by the expansive views, forest, meadows, and dramatic topography. You will need an Adventure Pass ($5/day) to park at Humber Park, as...
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  • San Bernardino County, California

    Aztec Falls

    3.3
    1.23 mi / 16 ft gain
    From Lake Arrowhead, take the 173 to Hook Creek Road until you dead end onto Squint Ranch Road. Take a right at the first fork in the road, and park in the lot for Splinters Cabin. The dirt road can be a bit rocky and might not be the best for small cars. Once you're there, be sure to display you...
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  • La Honda, California

    Sam McDonald Park Loop

    5.0
    12.19 mi / 2192 ft gain
    The Pescadero Creek Park Complex is a great place to escape for a day or overnight hike in the heart of the Bay Area. You will need to get a permit to stay overnight - these can be attained on a first-come, first-serve basis from the ranger station. Most of the campsites here are also available f...
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  • Half Moon Bay, California

    Gray Whale Cove Trail

    4.5
    2.23 mi / 367 ft gain
    Gray whale cove trail is a splendid, short, and easy hike for the entire family with beautiful ocean views. The starting point is conveniently located near a parking lot that accesses Montara State Beach. From the south end of the parking lot, follow the trail up through the coastal scrub. Within...
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  • Redwood City, California

    Hike Purisima Creek Redwoods OSP

    4.6
    7 mi
    There are two places to park for this specific loop- the main parking area on Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) and a smaller parking lot on the western end of the park. I would recommend parking at whichever is closest. Find directions to both on Openspace.org. From the main parking lot, the trail ...
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  • Lafayette, California

    Briones Park's Lafayette Ridge

    4.3
    5.31 mi / 981 ft gain
    This is a nice and casual hike through the meadows and rolling hills, dotted with cows and hawks and sometimes goats or foxes. As you head up Lafayette Ridge, you'll be rewarded with the beautiful vista spanning from the Oakland Hills to sparkling Lafayette Reservoir. The hike is mostly through ...
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  • San Diego County, California

    Camp On the Abandoned Santa Margarita Lookout Helipad

    4.3
    Starting in Murrieta, CA you don't have to venture far to enjoy a beautiful view and less light polluted skies.From Murrieta on the I-15 freeway you're going to want to take the Clinton Kieth Road exit and head west. If you're low on gas make sure to fill up at the 7 Eleven on the left corner. Th...
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  • Stinson Beach, California

    Matt Davis-Coastal Trail Loop

    4.7
    6 mi / 2231 ft gain
    This hike is an alternative to the famous Matt Davis to Steep Ravine Loop. The hike starts at Stinson Beach, just behind the fire Station. I recommend parking at the Beach parking lot. The Matt Davis trail is one of the best constructed trails I have ever seen. After 2.2 miles, turn left on the ...
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  • Borrego Springs, California

    Camping in Anza-Borrego State Park

    5.0
    With over 600,000 acres, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States. 500 miles of dirt roads, 12 wilderness areas and miles of hiking trails provide visitors with an unparalleled opportunity to experience the wonders of the Colorado Desert. The park i...
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  • San Bernardino County, California

    Trona Pinnacles

    4.6
    The Trona Pinnacles in the California Desert National Conservation has a very unusual-looking landscape, which consists of hundreds of tufa spires reaching about 140 feet, all with varying shapes and sizes. From the drive-in to the drive-out, bone-chilling and awe-inspiring landscape as far as t...
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  • Avalon, California

    Camp at Parsons Landing

    5.0
    7 mi / 0 ft gain
    The distance can vary depending on where you start. It is a 2.5 mile hike from Emerald Bay or 7 mile hike from Two Harbors or you can kayak in. There are 8 primitive campsites (6 people/ site) which means there is no running water, no supplies...you must pack in everything. The campsites are spre...
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