Best California Hiking Trails

California has 88 hikes.

Located in the US, the hiking in California offers over thirty trail routes from which to choose. The best California hiking based on popularity are considered to be Pacific Crest Trail, Malibu Creek State Park, Mount Whitney Trail, Point Mugu State Park, and Western States Trail. For a detailed trail description and printable trailhead map, just select a California hiking trail below.


Angel Island State Park Annadel State Park Ballon Dome Bidwell Park Big Basin State Park Big Laguna Trail Bishop Pass/John Muir/ Piute Pass Loop Bizz Johnson National Recreation Trail Black Cone Trail Boggs Mountain State Forest Carter Meadows / Trail Creek Loop Castle Rock State Park China Springs Trail Chino Hills State Park Coastal Trail Cottonwood - Marble Canyon Loop Cuyamaca State Park Daley Ranch Damnation Creek Trail Dipsea Trail Ellis Peak / Ellis Lake Empire Mine State Park Estero Trail Folsom Lake State Recreation Area Foothills Divide Forks Blue-Ridge-Sawyers Bar Loop Gaviota State Park Gibraltar / Redrock Loop Golden Gate National Recreation Area Grouse Ridge Trail Hare Creek Trail Hartley Springs Trail Henry Coe State Park High Sierra Trail Humboldt Redwoods State Park Jackson State Forest James Irvine Trail John Muir Trail King Crest Trail Lake Oroville State Recreation Area Lakes Trail / Pear Lake Trail Little Bald Hills Trail Loon Lake South Shore Trail Lost Coast Trail Lost Man Creek / Holter Ridge Trail Lost Palm Oasis Trail Malibu Creek State Park Merced River Trail Middle Ridge Loop Trail Mill Creek Trail Moraines and Meadows Loop Trail Morro Bay State Park Mount Dana Trail Mount Lassen Trail Mount Lola Trail Mount St. Helena Trail Mount Tamalpais State Park Mount Whitney Trail New Army Pass Trail Noble Canyon Loop North Hills Trail Ortega Trail Owl Creek Trail Pacific Crest Trail Panorama Mountain Pine Ridge / Sykes Hot Springs Trail Pine Valley / Carmel River Trail Pioneer Trail Point Mugu State Park Romero Canyon Trail Salmon Falls Trail San Juan Trail Sand Ridge Lake Trail Santa Monica National Recreation Area Santiago Peak / Maple Springs Skyline Park Skyline Trail South Yuba River Trail Strawberry Creek Trail Strawberry Peak Loop Trail Summit Trail Tenaya Lake To Clouds Rest Topanga State Park Trabuco Canyon - West Horse Thief Trails Trans-Catalina Trail Western States Trail Whittemore Gulch Trail Yahi Trail
Hiking The John Muir Trail in California

Hiking The John Muir Trail in California


Whittemore Gulch Trail

Southeast of Half Moon Bay in the Purisima Creek Redwoods, the Whittemore Gulch Trail is a scenic hiking-only route through redwood forest. It is located out of town off Skyline Boulevard and passes through like redwoods.  MORE INFO

Lost Palm Oasis Trail

Northeast of Palm Springs, the Lost Palm Oasis Trail is an 8 mile round-trip route to a remote canyon full of palm trees. It can be quite hot here, so make sure to watch the temperature. The hike begins at Cottonwood Spring, close to the visitor center, which is about 6 miles inside the southern park boundary. The spring produces water all year round.  MORE INFO

Skyline Trail

East of downtown Los Angeles near Whittier, the 25 mile Skyline Trail travels through three endangered plant communities. The wildflowers are abundant in the winter and spring. This area and the 970 acres to the southwest are owned by Rose Hills Foundation and the City of Whittier and a wildlife corridor joint agency of powers are trying to purchase it for a wildlife reserve and corridor. The trail descends into the canyon through an oak woodland and coastal sage scrub mix.  MORE INFO

Mount Dana Trail

The Mt Dana Trail is a 6 mile round trip hike to the namesake peak at 13,000 feet from Tioga Pass. The summit offers amazing vistas of the High Sierra Crest and Mono Lake.  MORE INFO

Annadel State Park

East of Santa Rosa in the Sonoma Valley, the 5,000 acre Annadel State Park has miles of meandering hiking trails dirt roads shared with mountain bikers and horseback riders. The trails are well signed and pass through open meadows and oak/fir forests. As Annies Dell used to be an old quarry, the routes can be quite rocky.  MORE INFO

King Crest Trail

South of Eureka and Honeyew in the King Range National Conservation Area, the King Crest Trail is a 9.9 mile hiking route from Saddle Mountain Trailhead in the south to North Slide Peak Trailhead in the north. This is a challenging route with over 4,000 feet of climbing while passing through forest, burn areas and chaparral. There are nice vistas from several summits.  MORE INFO

Lost Coast Trail

South of Eureka and Honeyew in the King Range National Conservation Area, the Lost Coast Trail is a 25 mile route from Mattole in the north to Black Sands Beach in the south. This is a very popular route and can be quite crowded on the weekends. This is the most popular King Range hike offers one of the few coastal wilderness hiking experiences in the US.  MORE INFO

Romero Canyon Trail

Southeast of Santa Barbara in the Los Padres National Forest, the Romero Canyon Trail is a rocky scramble up an old narrowing fire road into the Santa Ynez mountains. Its a five mile switchback ascent over 2,000 feet to the crest by unparalleled ocean vistas towards the Channel Islands through Chapparel.  MORE INFO

Loon Lake South Shore Trail

West of South Tahoe, the Loon Lake South Shore Trail is a 6 mile hiking route. Also known as the Rubicon Hiking Trail, this is a very scenic and very remote lake. The trail is shared with bikers and horseback riders.  MORE INFO

South Yuba River Trail

Northeast of Nevada City in the Tahoe National Forest, the South Yuba Trail is a 13 mile stretch of pristine hiking trail. This rolling trail is mildly technical bordering above the Yuba River on a cliff with lots of swimming holes and skinny dippers. It is shared with mountain bikers and horseback riders.  MORE INFO

Mount Lola Trail

Northwest of Truckee in the Tahoe National Forest, the Mt Lola Trail is a 9.5 mile one-way hiking route. The elevation ranges from 6,600 feet to 9,100 feet. The trail heads south to Mount Lola, and continues beyond to connect with a variety of other routes.  MORE INFO

Morro Bay State Park

West of San Luis Obispo, the Morro Bay State Park has a wide range of easy hiking trails to explore. The three more popular hikes within the park are the Quarry Trail, the Park Ridge Trail and the Live Oak Trail. If you are looking for some challenge, try the rocky scramble up the faint trail to the Cabrillo Peak (911 feet).  MORE INFO

Hare Creek Trail

South of Carmel and Lucia, the Hare Creek Trail is a 4.2 mile route trip route with about 500 feet of climbing. The Hare Creek Trail starts from the entrance kiosk and proceeds east up Hare Canyon through redwood forest.  MORE INFO

Big Laguna Trail

East of San Diego and El Cajon in the scenic Laguna Mountains, the Big Laguna Trail is a 4 mile one-way route. The Big Laguna Trail offers a pleasant hike through mountain meadows dotted with pines and large boulders where you can take in the view of Big Laguna Lake, a favorite watering hole for local furry, feathered and four-legged residents.  MORE INFO

Castle Rock State Park

Southwest of San Jose and Saratoga, the Castle Rock State Park has 32 miles of trails rolling through redwood and douglas fir forests. These trails are part of an even more extensive trail system that links the Santa Clara and San Lorenzo valleys with Castle Rock State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park, and the Pacific Coast.  MORE INFO

Angel Island State Park

North of San Francisco in San Francisco Bay, the Angel Island State Park is a relative hikers paradise. There are 13 miles of trails and roadways to explore. The North Ridge Trail from Ayala Cove up to Mt Livermore (788 ft) is a popular route.  MORE INFO

Damnation Creek Trail

South of Crescent City in the Redwood National Park, the Damnation Creek Trail is a route heading west to the coast. The trail descends 1,000 feet through old growth redwood and Sitka spruce. It leads down to the Coastal Trail. At the coastline, keep an eye out for Roosevelt Elk, sea lions and gray whales.  MORE INFO

Little Bald Hills Trail

East of Crescent City in the Redwood National Park, the Little Bald Hills trail is a steep, challenging hiking route through mixed confiers and open prairies. The five mile route (inside the park) is steep at times. It connects with the Paradise Trail in the National Forest for another 5 miles of treking. The trail starts with an 1,800 foot vertical climb through old growth forest. Next, it runs through a conifer forest along prairie.  MORE INFO

James Irvine Trail

South of Crescent City in the Redwood National Park, the James Irvine Trail is a scenic hike along an old gold miner trail. The route is relatively flat and runs through old growth redwoods. This route can be connected with Miners Ridge Trail for a longer hike.  MORE INFO