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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

  • Malibu, California

    Jim Morrison Cave

    1.2 mi / 600 ft gain
    Note: Jim Morrison Cave is closed indefinitely. The bright colors of the Jim Morrison Cave are something to not be missed, and is appreciated by people of all ages. The cave also provides a beautiful outlook of the Malibu canyon, Malibu State Park and the Pacific Ocean. There is a ton of rock ho...
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  • Forks of Salmon, California

    Grizzly Lake via China Gulch Trailhead

    14.6 mi / 5112 ft gain
    Grizzly Lake is in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. The lake is know for its brilliant waterfall flowing from the lake's surface straight off the side of a cliff and roughly 600 feet down to the meadow below. Grizzly lake is located in some of America's most amazing and remote alpine wilderness, incl...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Murphy's Ranch

    3.21 mi / 679 ft gain
    This three-mile out-and-back hike begins at the beginning of a very nice neighborhood in Santa Monica. You will be trekking on a dirt road for about 1.5 miles until you reach some stairs that will be visible on your left-hand side. You will need to descend down those (what seem to be never-ending...
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  • Fairfax, California

    Carson Falls

    3.75 mi / 863 ft gain
    Are you tired of crowds on your hikes? First, shame on you for getting up so late and moving so slowly. Did you really need Philz before you got on the trail? Ok, now that you’ve been thoroughly chastised, let’s start planning a hike to the less-frequented Carson Falls. Like any of the falls in ...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    West Trail Loop

    1.85 mi / 463 ft gain
    The trail starts near Dell Picnic area, near the Trails Cafe. On this wide fire road, you can choose to run or hike, but don't expect to have the trail to yourself, especially if you're heading out on the weekend. With that said, you can time your run or hike around sunset and get amazing views b...
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  • Ojai, California

    Matilija Falls

    8.6 mi / 0 ft gain
    Note: This trail is temporarily closed. For more updates, please visit the Forest Service website for more updates.  ...If you've read most of my blogs, you'll probably notice I have a fascination for waterfalls! I've done this hike multiple times, but it wasn't until this day where I saw these ...
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  • Chimney Rock Trail Head, California

    Chimney Rock

    1.82 mi / 151 ft gain
    Chimney Rock is a 1.8-mile out-and-back, single-track trail. The trailhead gets crowded (even on weekdays) with amateur and professional photographers, as well as nature lovers clutching field guides. Hikers seeking a quiet nature experience may wish to look elsewhere. The display is impressive, ...
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  • Tuolumne County, California

    Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias

    2.67 mi / 653 ft gain
    The Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias is one of three sequoia groves in Yosemite National Park. This particular grove has gorgeous forest scenery and provides great solitude compared to the crowded Yosemite Valley. The trail used to be an old road offering a wide path with a gradual descent, makin...
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  • Mariposa County, California

    Clouds Rest via Tenaya Lake

    14.5 mi / 1775 ft gain
    The "younger" brother of the world famous Half Dome, Clouds Rest is in fact a solid 1,000 feet taller despite receiving significantly less attention. If you know about this hidden gem however, you're in luck. Starting out from the Tenaya Lake trailhead will save you crowds on the trail and the ...
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  • San Diego, California

    Black's Beach via the Ho Chi Minh Trail

    0.61 mi / 259 ft gain
    Finding the actual trail is 80% of the adventure. Once you turn down La Jolla Farms Road you will follow it for about 3/4 of a mile and there won't be anything too apparent that you are there, except a few cars parked along the street. Make sure to plug in the directions from the map so you know ...
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  • Rancho Palos Verdes, California

    Pelican Cove

    0.38 mi / 95 ft gain
    Getting There Coming from San Pedro, make a U-turn at the Hawthorne Boulevard stoplight onto Palos Verdes Drive South. From here, you can access the parking lot for Pelican Cove, where you'll get a 120° view of the ocean. It might be tempting to take in the sunset from the car, but you should def...
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  • Los Angeles County, California

    San Gabriel Peak

    2.79 mi / 1040 ft gain
    At 6,000 feet, San Gabriel Peak gives you one of the best views of the Los Angeles basin on the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. As you pass through Muller Tunnel, the trail will be littered with rocks and boulders. A little over 100 feet in, the road will fork in thre...
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  • Los Gatos, California

    Hike the Saratoga Gap Trail

    4.7 mi
    The Saratoga Gap Trail is relatively lightly trafficked trail that is good year round, although waterfalls peak in late winter and spring. Overall, this 4.7 mile partial loop hike is moderate, with about 1000 feet in elevation change. Trailhead elevation is about 3090 feet. The featured hike desc...
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  • Inyo County, California

    Summit of Mt. Whitney

    20.85 mi / 6100 ft gain
    Mt. Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States. It stands over 14,500ft high at its peak (elevation gain of 6100') and it sure feels like it when you are up there. Getting There Located just West of Lone Pine, CA you take Whitney Portal Road West for 13 miles all the way to its...
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  • Kyburz, California

    Smith Lake

    5.6 mi / 1785 ft gain
    To get to the Twin Lakes Trailhead from the Bay Area/Sacramento, head east on HWY 50 past Kyburz for 4 miles until you see the left-hand turnoff for Wrights Road. If coming westbound on HWY 50, this will be a right-hand turn 5 miles past Strawberry. Follow this paved road for 8 miles (watch for p...
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  • Topanga, California

    Eagle Rock in Topanga State Park

    5.99 mi / 1106 ft gain
    Eagle Rock is located in Topanga State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains, and it is a unique formation that provides an amazing panoramic view of Santa Monica. On a clear day, the Catalina Islands and Palos Verdes Peninsula are visible. You can park on along the street of Entrada Rd. or pay $10 ...
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