California, the Golden State, is more than just beautiful beaches and bustling cities. It's also a hiker's paradise, offering a diverse range of landscapes and terrains to explore. Whether you're a seasoned trekker or just looking for a leisurely walk in nature, California has something to offer everyone. Grab your bags and let’s hit the road to these 7 must-visit hiking spots in California.
1. Yosemite National Park
Nestled in the heart of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Yosemite Mariposa County has the widest variety of hikes in California where one can explore all year round. The park boasts iconic trails like the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall and the Half Dome hike. The breathtaking waterfalls, towering granite cliffs, and lush valleys will leave you in awe no matter the season.
2. Joshua Tree National Park
For a unique desert hiking experience, head to Joshua Tree. Famous for its otherworldly landscapes, bizarrely shaped Joshua Trees, and fascinating rock formations, this park offers trails of varying difficulty levels. The Hidden Valley Trail and Barker Dam Trail are great for beginners. Don’t forget your water and SPF, pack your essentials in the Go Sling, it’s made for rugged terrain.
3. Big Sur
Along California's stunning Central Coast, you'll find Big Sur. Hiking here means dramatic ocean views, towering redwoods, and rugged cliffs. Take advantage of the McWay Falls Trail, where you can witness a waterfall cascading onto the beach.
4. Lake Tahoe
The Lake Tahoe area is a mecca for outdoor lovers year-round. In the summer, you can explore numerous trails that encircle the pristine lake. The Rubicon Trail offers splendid views of the azure waters and surrounding peaks.
5. Channel Islands National Park
Looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure? Take a boat ride to the Channel Islands National Park, just off the coast of Southern California. Here, you can hike amid rugged coastlines, spot wildlife, and camp overnight across different islands such as Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara Island.
6. Mount Shasta
In Northern California, Mount Shasta dominates the landscape. This active volcano offers challenging hikes for experienced trekkers. Keep your gear and first-aid kit organized with the help of the Admin Pouch.
The climb to the summit is an achievement for many, but there are also more manageable trails around the mountain for those seeking a less strenuous adventure. Check out the Lake Siskiyou Loop for beautiful views of the lake, forest and Mount Shasta in the distant.
7. Angeles National Forest
Photo by Max Kleine
Just a stone's throw away from Los Angeles, the Angeles National Forest is an oasis of nature. The Gabrielino Trail, which winds through the San Gabriel Mountains, is a local favorite. It's perfect for day hikes or multi-day backpacking trips. Grab this Shift Pack V2 backpack to start your prep.
Before you hit the trails, remember to prepare adequately. Check the weather forecast, bring plenty of water and essentials in your bag, wear suitable clothing and footwear, and respect the Leave No Trace principles to preserve these natural wonders for future generations. Happy hiking!