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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

  • South Lake Tahoe, California

    Eagle Falls & Eagle Lake Loop

    2.39 mi / 617 ft gain
    Eagle Falls Trail is located off Highway 89 and is surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscapes in California. Eagle Falls is one of the most popular short hikes in Lake Tahoe because of its beautiful cascading waterfalls, lush green scenery, and trees. Alongside one of the bluest pristine...
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  • Yosemite Valley, California

    Mist Trail to Vernal Falls

    3.11 mi / 1319 ft gain
    This is one of the most epic short hikes that you can do in Yosemite. Highly recommend it for anyone staying in the valley or visiting with enough time for a 2-3 hour hike. While the distance isn't long, you will stop a lot along the way to take in the beauty and also spend time at the top of the...
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  • Azusa, California

    Little Jimmy Trail Camp

    3.36 mi / 607 ft gain
    Take Hwy 2 out of La Canada north along Angeles Crest Highway. Follow this for quite some time enjoying the fine views in all directions. After traveling through two consecutive tunnels continue to the Islip Saddle parking lot (on left). There will be a vault toilet & a picnic table. Display ...
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  • Santa Barbara, California

    Hike to Knapp's Castle

    0.8 mi
    One of the many hidden gems near Santa Barbara, Knapp's Castle is an abandoned home built in 1916 by George Knapp. Finding the trailhead can be difficult because it's not clearly marked and the road it's starts from is long, winding and narrow. Coming from the 154, turn right on East Camino Cielo...
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  • Agoura Hills, California

    Malibu Creek Rock Pool

    2.04 mi / 105 ft gain
    The trail starts out from the main parking lot past the ranger station at Malibu Creek State Park. Begin hiking west on Crags Road, a well maintained trail that meanders along the creek. As you walk, you'll pass under large oak trees and enjoy expansive views of the Santa Monica Mountains. Aft...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Camp at Glacier Point

    9.17 mi / 3491 ft gain
    Everyone that knows Yosemite, knows Glacier Point. An overlook that attracts thousands of people per day that drive up via Glacier Point Road is rarely vacant of the hustle and bustle of people. However, there is a loop hole here, and when the stars align you can have Glacier Point ALL to yoursel...
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  • Big Sur, California

    Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce & Estrella Camps

    6.07 mi / 1919 ft gain
    Feel free to hike Salmon Creek Trail at your own pace – you can choose to turn back at any point, or at the Spruce (2 miles in) or Estrella (3.25 miles in) sites. The trail leads to open vistas of the coast, giving stunning views of the cliffs and ocean. Around 2 miles in, follow the fork to the...
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  • Berkeley, California

    Hidden Waterfall in Codornices Park

    0.5 mi
    Park along the street in front of Codornices Park in Berkeley. Follow the stream to the left of the playground. Take the path up the hill to the right (don't head over the bridge on the left). Keep walking up multiple concrete stairs. After the first flight of stairs you'll see a path on the left...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Trail

    5.04 mi / 1155 ft gain
    Getting to the parking lot near the trailhead and finding an open space can seem like the most daunting part of this whole excursion. There are free parking lots along the road to the trailhead, so keep an eye out. There are also several ways to get to the trailhead from other parking areas; I ad...
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  • Sausalito, California

    Hawk Hill

    0.76 mi / 144 ft gain
    If you're leaving from SF, head over the bridge and exit onto Alexander Ave. Make the immediate left under the overpass and you'll be on the road to Hawk Hill. There's a parking area just below the gate leading up to Hawk Hill. From the parking lot you can walk west about ten yards along the outs...
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  • Avalon, California

    Trans-Catalina Trail

    37.67 mi / 8189 ft gain
    This adventure is a great way to see the entire island of Santa Catalina. Catalina Island is situated less than 30 miles off the coast of Southern California, and can be reached by ferry from Dana Point, San Pedro, or Long Beach. Catalina Express in the company that operates the ferry. This adve...
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  • Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

    Whalers Cove Loop

    1.42 mi / 253 ft gain
    Point Lobos is one of the hidden gems of the California coast. Located just off of Route 1 right after Monterey, Point Lobos is a state park on the coast. The cost to explore inside is ten dollars, but so worth it. As you explore, be sure to hike around Whalers Cove, which is incredible at sunse...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Little Yosemite Valley Campsite and Half Dome

    13.88 mi / 4800 ft gain
    First things first. You will need to get a wilderness pass by entering the lottery for Half Dome access. If you don't get a pass via lottery just go to the Yosemite Valley visitor center, tell the clerk you are backpacking to Little Yosemite Valley and that you would like to hike up Half Dome. Th...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Hike to Bassi Falls

    1.22 mi / 194 ft gain
    109' tall Bassi Falls is located in the Crystal Basin area of the El Dorado National Forest. These gorgeous falls at peak Springtime flow crash over enormous boulders and the water sheets over huge, flat slabs of granite. It is located off a rural, pot-holed dirt road (high clearance vehicles re...
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  • Yosemite Valley, California

    Half Dome via the Mist Trail

    15.94 mi / 4800 ft gain
    Be sure to arrive early early in the morning to beat the crowds or if you want to break up the hike, first-come, first served campsites are available at Little Yosemite Valley Campground - make sure to check out the details in that adventure and obtain a wilderness permit. Even if you are just da...
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  • Redwood City, California

    Hike Russian Ridge

    4 mi
    Russian Ridge offers a great place to jump on the trail and in the right season, see some of the best wildflowers blooming. On top of that, you get access to amazing views from the ridge. Once you hit your parking space, add a little extra warm up before jumping on the trail to make this 3.7-mil...
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