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

  • Riverside County, California

    Night Shoot at Arch Rock

    If you're setting up camp, be sure to check out White Tank Campground, which is home to one of the most epic rock formations. The Arch is located here. It's only about 1/2 round trip of walking to this spot. Geology Tour Road offers some flat wide open views of Joshua Trees in all directions. If ...
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  • Junction City, California

    Canyon Creek Lakes

    14.35 mi / 2605 ft gain
    Numerous starting points with over 550 miles of trail and easily 50+ different featured trails depending on length and what type of activity you are are looking for. One of the more popular trails, and rightfully so, is Canyon Creek Lakes Trail. This 16 mile roundtrip hike has an overall elevatio...
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  • Mammoth Lakes, California

    Duck Lake via Duck Pass Trail

    9.29 mi / 1880 ft gain
    The Duck Pass trail in the John Muir Wilderness combines breathtaking views, wildflowers and plenty of icy mountain lakes for swimming into a trail that is moderate in both difficulty and distance. With multiple lakes along the way to pitch your tent and plenty of day hike options from a base cam...
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  • Mount Baldy, California

    Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon

    11.13 mi / 4157 ft gain
    Start hiking early, before the sun rises so you can maximize the day out of the heat and to give yourself plenty of time for the hike. As you get to higher elevations, it will be a little cooler and there might be snow on the ground, so be sure to pack layers. This hike requires a permit. If yo...
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  • Lake Forest, California

    Hike Borrego Canyon to Red Rock Canyon Trails

    4.2 mi / 500 ft gain
    Just south east of the city of Irvine, on the southern end of Orange County, is the scenic Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Don't let the newly developed shopping centers restaurants fool you, because just beyond the parking lot ($3 Daily Use Fee) of the Borrego Canyon Trailhead, you will find your...
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  • San Luis Obispo County, California

    Camp at Montaña de Oro State Park

    Located about 7 miles south of Morrow Bay, follow Los Osos Valley Rd into the state park. Watch for the signs to park, as you will be cited after 10pm.The campground is located just across the road from the famous Spooner's cove, but there are any number of trails and hikes you can enjoy (check ...
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  • Laguna Beach, California

    El Moro Canyon Trail to Lower Moro Campground

    6.37 mi / 997 ft gain
    Located off of Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach is Crystal Cove State Park. There are three primitive sites located in Crystal Cove: Deer Canyon, Upper Moro, and Lower Moro. The site I stayed at was Lower Moro campground. All three of these sites require the backpacker to hike everything in...
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  • Orick, California

    Camp at Gold Bluff Beach

    Located at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, the access road to this beach is a dirt road through the redwoods. Once you arrive to the beach area there is a park booth. The charge to overnight is $35 per day. Can also pay a day use fee which is less. The campground is situated some 200 yards fro...
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  • Bolinas, California

    Glen Camp Loop via the Palomarin Trailhead

    15.72 mi / 3091 ft gain
    Day 1 Before heading to the trailhead, make sure to stop by the Bear Valley Visitor Center to pick up your permit. To stay overnight in Point Reyes, you must stay at one of the trail camps.   Camping anywhere else in the park is not allowed.   Permits for the trail camps can be booked up to 6 mo...
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  • Inyo County, California

    Badwater Basin's Salt Flats

    1.92 mi / 43 ft gain
    Taking a walk on the salt flats at Badwater Basin is like no other experience in Death Valley National Park. These flats cover nearly 200 square miles across the park, which makes them one of the world’s largest protected salt flats. With an elevation of 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin i...
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  • Auburn, California

    Coon Creek and Hidden Falls Loop

    8.47 mi / 1017 ft gain
    -- Important: 7-day a week parking reservations required until further notice during the COVID-19 crisis. Follow park social distancing measures. Learn more online, -- Not far from California's capital is Hidden Falls Regional Park. Th...
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  • Los Olivos, California

    Backpack Zaca Ridge

    7.32 mi / 2077 ft gain
    From Santa Ynez, CA take Armour Rd until it hits Happy Canyon Rd, and make a left. Follow this scenic drive through vineyards and oak shaded pastures into the Angeles National Forest. A half-mile section of asphalt is rough from winter storms, so drive slow. The road becomes Sunset Valley Rd and ...
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  • San Diego County, California

    Hike to the Goat Canyon Trestle

    7 mi
    The main attraction of this hike is the wooden trestle. This engineering marvel was built in 1932 and still remains the tallest and longest curved wooden trestle in the U.S.This hike is recommended for the physically and mentally prepared. From Mortero Palms, it's a 3.5 mile (7 miles roundtrip) t...
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  • Winters, California

    Homestead & Blue Ridge Loop

    4.46 mi / 1299 ft gain
    At the bend in the road on Highway 128, you will pass two silver gates. The gate with the UC Davis logo is the entrance to the trailhead. Past the entrance there is a large dirt pullout off the road with plenty of parking. Starting at the trailhead, go left in the fork to start the loop trail. T...
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  • Santa Barbara County, California

    Beach Camp on Santa Rosa Island

    19.72 mi / 3097 ft gain
    Channel Islands National Park is California's least visited National Park. If you visit, you will see many unique plants and animals, including a rare native fox species, and Torrey Pines, only found here and in a small grove near San Diego. This adventure is not for the inexperienced. There is ...
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  • Redwood City, California

    Hike or Bike the Old Growth Redwood Loop at El Corte de Madera

    8.8 mi / 1900 ft gain
    This hike starts at the middle parking lot of the El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve. The middle lot is located roughly a mile south on Skyline Boulevard from the Skeggs Point Vista. From the parking lot, take the Methuselah Trail for 0.3 miles until you reach the Timberview Trail. Take this ...
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