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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

  • San Diego, California

    Los Penasquitos Waterfall via Los Penasquitos Canyon Trailhead

    4.15 mi / 115 ft gain
    The Los Penasquitos Preserve waterfall is a hidden gem of San Diego and a popular spot for locals within the area. The hike to the waterfall lies within a preserve of approximately 4,000 acres. There are many different trailheads that lead to the waterfall all offering a unique experience. I alwa...
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  • Pioneer, California

    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 water falls. The area is located next to Silver L...
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  • La Verne, California

    Bridge to Nowhere via East Fork Trail

    9.65 mi / 1798 ft gain
    The trail on this 10-mile hike is predominately slow and steady, but can be a little rocky, so be prepared to scramble. When you’re fording the river, the water level can range from knee to chest high, especially in the wet months. A good pair of waterproof hiking boots is helpful, but water shoe...
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  • Greenfield, California

    Adventure at Arroyo Seco

    This off-the-beaten-trail adventure has a little bit of everything for everyone, and is as challenging as you make it. Many just make it about a mile down to the river for a leisurely day of relaxing, swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a few cold beverages. Others embark on a 7+ mile adventure up...
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  • Oakland, California

    East & West Ridge Loop

    3.47 mi / 833 ft gain
    Tucked away in the hills of Oakland, you will find one of the homes of California's Coastal Redwoods. Created by a unique geographical circumstance, this forest breathes winds funneled through the Golden Gate across the bay, which created environment opportune for Redwood growth. These Redwoods a...
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  • Arcadia, California

    Hermit Falls Trail

    2.49 mi / 1014 ft gain
    Note: Hermit Falls is Temporarily Closed From Roberts Camp, many hikers will head to Sturtevant Falls, which is an amazing 60-foot waterfall. But, if you choose to head in the opposite direction on First Water Trail, you’ll be rewarded with a fresh water swimming hole at this 35-foot tumbling wa...
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  • Arcadia, California

    Sturtevant Falls

    1.61 mi / 423 ft gain
    This trail is currently closed. Visit the Forest Service website for updates.  As you head down to Roberts Camp, a historic set of historic cabins, you’ll head out on a steep, paved road for approximately 0.6 miles. Once you reach the camp, head over the bridge and keep an eye out for the sign f...
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  • San Francisco, California

    Tank Hill

    0.14 mi / 49 ft gain
    Looking for a cool, under-the-radar spot that’s perfect for picnics, chilling out, and chasing the sunset? Look no further than Tank Hill. This little gem of a mini-park is 650 feet high and tucked away in Cole Valley. It’s so small that many maps of San Francisco don’t even include it. To get ...
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  • Escondido, California

    Lake Hodges Overlook

    6.73 mi / 1407 ft gain
    Elfin Forest is one of the most beautiful and unique trails in all of San Diego, CA. The parking is free as well as the overflow parking area. There is an Interpretive Center located in the staging area where you can speak to park rangers, learn about the wildlife and trail locations. The parking...
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  • Mill Valley, California

    Tennessee Beach via Tennessee Valley Trail

    3.64 mi
    The Tennessee Valley trail is leisurely 3.6 mile roundtrip hike that turns around at Tennessee Valley Cove. Along the way, you’ll hike past shrublands, wetlands, and a lake before you get to a cool little secluded beach that many people picnic at. This is probably the easiest to access, and most...
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  • Poway, California

    Mount Woodson and Potato Chip Rock

    6.45 mi / 900 ft gain
    Mt. Woodson is located in Poway's most eastern region and is one of San Diego's most popular and most iconic hiking trails. Known for its grand photo opportunistic "Potato Chip Rock", Mt. Woodson is a 7.5mi out-and-back trail with amazing vistas, convenient rest stops and breathtaking views. The...
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  • Sunol, California

    Little Yosemite via Canyon View Trail

    3.01 mi / 705 ft gain
    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 area at ebparks.org.  After entering the kiosk you...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Hollyridge Trail to the Hollywood Sign [Closed]

    3.5 mi / 383 ft gain
    This trail is closed as is the Beachwood Gate which is used to access the Hollyridge Trail will be permanently closed on April 18th, 2017 due to a court order. Check out Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Trail for an available option.  There are three ways to get to the Hollywood Sign. This route ...
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  • Morgan Hill, California

    Uvas Canyon Waterfall Hike

    1.5 mi
    Uvas Canyon offers up to 6-miles of hiking trails, which includes a 1.5 mile loop, which runs along Swanson Creek and passes many of the park's waterfalls. To take short loop, head North out of the parking lot to the Swanson Creek Trail. Once you find Swanson Creek Trail, you'll be on the Waterfa...
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  • Echo Lake, California

    Backpack to the "Waterfall Camp" in Desolation Wilderness

    10.5 mi / 1522 ft gain
    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 parking above the marina and you even have the option ...
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  • Santa Ysabel, California

    Three Sisters Falls

    3.42 mi / 906 ft gain
    Three Sisters Falls is by far the best hike, for the most reward, that I've gone on in the close vicinity of San Diego. Only a short hour and a half drive from downtown San Diego, the hike offers all the draws of a National Park: remote wilderness, strenuous hiking, scenic mountain views, and ama...
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