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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.