California is a nature lover's paradise and one of the most scenic places in the United States with an abundance of stunning landscapes to explore. From towering mountain ranges to rugged coastlines, there's no shortage of California hiking trails to discover while traveling through the Golden State. So let's take a look at some of the best hikes in California with the best views, perfect for both seasoned hikers and beginners alike.
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and best hikes in California. With over 800 miles of trails to explore, there's something for beginners and expert hikers alike. Some of the most popular hikes include the Mist Trail to Vernal and Nevada Falls, the Half Dome Hike, and the Upper Yosemite Falls Hike. These hikes offer breathtaking views of the park's towering waterfalls, granite peaks, and scenic vistas. Check out the seasonal itineraries listed at Travel Yosemite for great trips ideas!
The Lost Coast Trail: Best Hikes in Northern California
Known as one of the best hikes in Northern California, the Lost Coast Trail in Humboldt County is a 25-mile backpacking trail that follows the rugged and remote coastline of Northern California. While this trail takes roughly 3-4 days to complete you'll come across stunning headland vistas, redwood trees and migrating whales (depending on the time of year). This hike is not for beginners, as it requires backpacking and camping skills. Check out this ultimate guide to backpacking The Lost Coast Trail for all the insider tips.
Located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the contiguous United States, standing at 14,505 feet (check out more interesting California Facts). Hiking to the summit of Mount Whitney is a challenging but rewarding experience that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The most popular route to the summit is the Whitney Portal Trail, which takes hikers on a 22-mile round trip trek with a total elevation gain of 6,100 feet. The National Park Service website offers some great tips on seeing and climbing this iconic peak.
Joshua Tree National Park: Best Hike in Southern California
Joshua Tree National Park is a unique and otherworldly destination that offers some of the best hikes in Southern California. The park is home to a variety of trails, ranging from short and easy nature walks to longer, more challenging hikes. Some of the most popular hikes include the Lost Palms Oasis Trail, the Ryan Mountain Trail, and the Barker Dam Trail. These hikes offer stunning views of the park's iconic Joshua Trees, rock formations, and desert landscapes. Easily one of the best views in California especially at sunset or sunrise.
Mount San Jacinto State Park
Located just outside of Palm Springs, Mount San Jacinto State Park offers some of the best hiking opportunities that can be found in Southern California. The park is home to over 50 miles of hiking trails, including the popular Cactus to Clouds Trail and the Mount San Jacinto Peak Trail. These hikes offer stunning views of the surrounding desert landscapes, as well as the San Jacinto mountain range. Check out these other great hike suggestions on alltrails.com. Due to conservation efforts a wilderness permit is required for both day and overnight visits.
Point Reyes National Seashore: Best Hike In the Bay Area
If you're looking for a coastal hiking experience, Point Reyes National Seashore, a protected coastline in Northern California, is the perfect destination and easily voted the best hike in the Bay Area. The park is home to over 150 miles of trails, ranging from short and easy walks to longer, more challenging hikes. Some of the most popular hikes include the Point Reyes Lighthouse Trail, the Tomales Point Trail, and the Alamere Falls Trail. These hikes offer stunning views of the park's rugged coastline, scenic vistas, and diverse wildlife. For history buffs, check out the 1870 lighthouse where you can see migrating gray whales. This place is so majestic we suggest you make plans to stay overnight to explore the best of this beautiful undisturbed area.
California is full of beautiful views! These are just the start of some of the best hikes in California waiting for you to discover. Whether you're looking for challenging mountain treks or scenic coastal walks, there's something for everyone in California. So grab your hiking boots and add these California hikes to your bucket list to experience the natural beauty of California.