Hiking Northern California  by Bubba Suess

Hiking Northern California Guide Book

by Bubba Suess (Falcon Guides)
Hiking Northern California  by Bubba Suess
Hiking Northern California, the revised edition, will be fully revised and updated. Northern California has 80-plus diverse hikes throughout the northern two-thirds of the Golden State, from the Oregon border to the Southern Sierras. This guidebook features more than 600 miles of trails, accurate and up-to-date trail maps, and all the information you need for planning enjoyable outings year-round. Hikes include short, leisurely strolls and demanding days-long excursions, from well-graded trails to rugged, cross-country scrambles.

© 2017 Bubba Suess/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Hiking Northern California" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 80.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 80.

This trip is an adventure in hunting natural rock arches hidden in the rocky hinterland of the Alabama Hills. Off-trail exploration is encouraged among the rocks, where there are excellent views of the Sierra Nevada. Making your way south through the Sierra Nevada, you travel through a world of soaring alpine mountains. As you reach the southern section of the range, the great deserts of Southern California make their presence felt.
Lone Pine, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.7-1.3 miles
The highlight of this trip is an excellent waterfall plunging off a cliff directly into the Pacific Ocean. Along the way you enjoy wonderful ocean vistas and pass rare seaside freshwater lakes. The Point Reyes Peninsula is one of the most striking features on the Northern California coast. The presence of the peninsula is a testimony to the powerful forces that created most of California and continue to shape the landscape. Though the peninsula looks to be wholly connected to the mainland, it is separated by the San Andreas Fault. This seemingly invisible divider runs through the Bolinas Lagoon, along the length of the Olema Valley, and onward through Tomales Bay toward Bodega Bay on the Sonoma Coast.
Bolinas, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.2
Andrew Molera State Park presents a fantastic coastal adventure. The trail climbs over high hills with exceptional views of the Big Sur coastline and the mountains of the Ventana Wilderness and before following low seaside bluffs past a hidden, hikers-only beach on the way back to the trailhead. The coastal terrain around Andrew Molera State Park is gentler than most of the rest of the Big Sur region. Rather than steep mountainsides thrusting upward out of the Pacific Ocean, the land has low rolling hills and a broad, grassy plain. This distinct geography results in part from the presence of the Big Sur River, which meets the sea at the nexus of the rolling hills and the open plain.
Big Sur, CA - Hiking,Mountain Biking - Trail Length: 8.4
The hike to the Bear Lakes is a journey into glaciated alpine splendor with granite crags, rushing creeks, large lakes, and lots of potential for off- trail exploration on the outskirts of the Trinity Alps. The Bear Lakes are, without doubt, the most spectacular in the chain of lakes that line the northern and eastern perimeter of the Trinity Alps. Of all the numerous lakes found on these fringes of the range, it is the Bear Lakes that most closely approach the scale and awesome granite scenery found in the congregation of high peaks and large lakes that lie at the heart of the Trinities. The Bear Lakes do not need such a comparison to recommend them, for they are stunning in their own right. Surrounded by soaring white towers and almost completely enclosed in a giant granite bowl, Big Bear Lake is a marvelous sight.
Weaverville, CA - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 8.5
Cutting deep into the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, this long hike features giant old-growth redwoods and a trio of awesome waterfalls in a wild setting. Of all the redwood groves south of San Francisco, the most magnicficent groves and the greatest redwood wilderness is found in Big Basin Redwoods State Park, deep in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The park, California’s oldest state park, preserves 18,000 acres, more than half of which is old- growth forest. The rest of the park is made of second-growth redwoods and mixed forests of oaks and firs and coastal chaparral. While the ancient redwoods are a chief attraction, the park also boasts numerous beautiful waterfalls.
Boulder Creek, CA - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 6.2-10.2 miles
The short, steep hike up Blue Canyon is one of the best hikes in the volcanic high country around Sonora Pass. Excellent wildflowers, small waterfalls, and a sapphire lake all contrast sharply against the dark, barren canyon, where tall peaks loom ominously overhead. The mountains around Sonora Pass are in many ways the high point of the Central Sierra. In practical terms, this is where you find the highest peaks in the region. Numerous summits rise above 11,000 feet, the highest being Sonora and Leavitt Peaks. Sonora Pass is also the area where the pyroclastic mudflows that overlaid much of the granite bedrock of the Central Sierra reach their greatest manifestation. Rather than simply appearing as dark caps set upon a granite pedestal, the entire mountain block is composed of the ancient volcanic flows.
Pinecrest, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.6
This easy hike leads through magnificent old-growth redwoods to the stunning Boy Scout Tree, a mammoth specimen of coast redwood. The path continues past the tree to pretty Fern Falls, a scenic waterfall surrounded by large ferns and more redwoods. Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is in the heart of the region that boasts some of the best examples of old-growth coast redwoods. Walking among these monumental trees induces hushed voices and whispers of quiet astonishment. The Boy Scout Tree is a particularly exceptional specimen, but the tree itself is only part of this hike’s charm. The trail to the Boy Scout Tree passes through magnificent redwoods that are massive in their own right as it pushes into the wilderness, where a sense of deep isolation prevails.
Crescent City, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.2
A short hike that ventures into the Sierra Nevada’s northernmost wilderness area, this trip leads to Gold Lake, a beautiful mountain lake set at the base of stark cliffs. Though granite, the rock that is so closely identified with the Sierra Nevada, is exposed in the deep canyon formed by the North Fork of the Feather River, there isn’t much visible at higher elevations as you move south from the Sierra Nevada’s northern terminus at Lake Almanor. The first encounter with what would be recognized as a classic Sierra landscape is in the Bucks Lake Wilderness. This highland area reaches elevations above 7,000 feet, the northernmost part of the Sierra Crest to do so. The area is part of the divide that separates the Feather River’s north and middle forks.
Quincy, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
This beautiful hike to Powell and Chewing Gum Lakes ventures into the gorgeous Emigrant Wilderness, which lies in the transition zone between the volcanic Central Sierra and the vast granite expanse of the High Sierra. The trail passes panoramic vistas, a meadow- and lake- studded valley, and plenty of beautiful granite high country.
Pinecrest, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 5-9 miles
This hike is a journey into the remote backcountry of eastern Lassen Volcanic National Park. In addition to the deep isolation, it visits two large, unusual lakes; passes by dark lava flows and the beautiful Painted Dunes; and offers a short, steep side trip to the top of the Cinder Cone.
Mineral, CA - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 3-13 miles
Canyon Creek is a journey into the heart of the Trinity Alps, boasting large waterfalls, meadows, glittering lakes, towering alpine peaks, and old mining relics. This is the most direct route into the splendid core of the Trinity Alps’ granite wonderland. The Trinity Alps are one of Northern California’s most spectacular mountain ranges. With the exception of the glacier- clad flanks of Mount Shasta, this is the most alpine region in the northernmost part of the state. Here there are towering granite peaks, powerful waterfalls, jewel-like mountain lakes, expansive meadows, and deep, remote forests. Indeed, all the best features of a mountain paradise are found in the Trinity Alps.
Weaverville, CA - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 16
With numerous lakes and beautiful forest, this hike through the Caribou Wilderness explores lightly traveled volcanic country just east of Lassen Volcanic National Park. In many ways the 20,833-acre Caribou Wilderness is an extension of the eastern half of Lassen Volcanic National Park. Both regions are shaped by volcanism and feature tranquil forests and numerous lakes. They even share a border, creating one large wildlands block. This hike utilizes the wilderness’s most accessible trailhead and makes a lollipop through a dense collection of lakes and ponds. Most of the trip crosses an old lava flow that has long been covered by vast forestlands.
Susanville, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.5
A pleasant hike through cool mountain forests leads to a stunning High Sierra loop that connects six lakes under the watchful gaze of the mighty Cloudripper. The name Cloudripper alone inspires visions of talon-like towers thrusting upward into the clouds, cutting them in two as they pass overhead. In truth, this is not far from reality. The Cloudripper is the highest summit in the imposing Inconsolable Range, one of the numerous subsections of the High Sierra. This range is adjacent to the mighty Palisades, a cluster of 14,000-foot glacier-clad crags just to the south. While the name Inconsolable may sound ominous, the trails at the foot of the range are a hiker’s paradise, filled with joyous creeks and shimmering lakes.
Bishop, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.7
This hike leads past breathtaking Convict Lake and ventures into amazing Convict Canyon, where soaring cliffs, painted with amazing warped strata, tower above the creek. The hike ends at gorgeous Mildred Lake, surrounded by incredible alpine scenery. The Sherwin Range occupies a compact corner of the High Sierra in the John Muir Wilderness, just south of the community of Mammoth Lakes. The range is not well known on its own, but some of its constituent parts, chief among them Convict Lake, are among the most famous destinations in the Eastern Sierra. The Sherwins are recognized as a subrange of the Sierra Nevada not because they stand distinct from the surrounding mountains but because their geology is so radically different from anywhere else.
Mammoth Lakes, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3-10.2 miles
This memorable hike leads to the southernmost major lake basin in the High Sierra and the John Muir Wilderness. Large forests of attractive foxtail pine line the trail that leads to extensive alpine meadows and numerous lakes, all within the gaze of 14,000-foot Mount Langley.
Lone Pine, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 10.7
This memorable and beautiful hike pierces directly into the awe-inspiring Desolation Valley, in the heart of the Desolation Wilderness. The ?rst half of the hike ascends above Tamarack Lake to a saddle dotted with scattered meadows. The latter half then makes a loop connecting massive Lake Aloha with beautiful Lake of the Woods, offering sublime vistas.
Echo Lake, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.9
The walk to Devils Postpile leads hikers along the beautiful San Joaquin River to a fascinating collection of basalt columns. Continuing past the Postpile leads to awesome Rainbow Falls, one of the finestwaterfalls in the Sierra Nevada. With its strikingly geometric shapes, the Devils Postpile is one of the more unusual and beautiful formations in the eastern Sierra Nevada. Composed of columnar basalt, the Postpile is testimony to extensive volcanic activity that has taken place around the Long Valley Caldera. An active volcanic area, the caldera includes the volcano Mammoth Mountain, the Inyo Craters, Hot Creek, lava flows, glass flows, and even geothermal power plants. Yet the Devils Postpile is the most famous bit of evidence that the fiery forces beneath the surface have shaped the world we see.
Mammoth Lakes, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.8-5 miles
This beautiful hike explores a spectacular corner of the remote Siskiyou Wilderness. The trail leads through an unusual forest and up into an incredible granite bowl, where towering cliffs and beautiful blue lakes complement vistas of massive Preston Peak. The Siskiyou Mountains are the northernmost subrange of the Klamath Range and, along with the Trinity Alps, are part of the largest mountain block within the Klamath region. This crescent-shaped mountain range extends in a large arc from the Siskiyou summit in southern Oregon west toward Grants Pass before turning south into California. These mountains form the divide between the Klamath River and Rogue River watersheds. Though the highest peak in the range lies in Oregon, the California half of the range is more rugged.
Happy Camp, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4-10 miles
This hike leads to the Dinkey Lakes, a cluster of alpine lakes on the western side of the Sierra Nevada. Large meadows and easy terrain capped by granite mountains make this a pleasant and scenic trip. The Dinkey Lakes Wilderness protects a cluster of tall peaks and alpine lakes that rise far to the west of the main crest of the Sierra Nevada. An island of granite high country in the midst of a vast sea of forest, this pocket wilderness is a haven for hikers looking for mountain beauty but not wanting to work too hard to get to and appreciate it. The obvious highlight of the area is the large collection of lakes that huddle around the tall Three Sisters, a long ridge crest that has three prominent points, and Dogtooth Peak, a spiked tower best viewed from Courtright Reservoir.
Shaver Lake, CA - Backpacking,Hiking - Trail Length: 7.1
This hike to a pass over the Sierra Crest features sweeping panoramas of the High Sierra and passes four alpine lakes in a wide mountain valley. From the pass you can look down at massive Duck Lake, one of the largest backcountry lakes in the Sierra Nevada. Duck Pass, which crosses a low point in the Sierra Crest just south of the Mammoth Lakes Basin, is one of the easiest routes into the High Sierra backcountry. From the paved roads of the Mammoth Lakes Basin, it is a convenient hike over the pass and into the vast backcountry of the northern John Muir Wilderness. While the splendid mountains beyond the pass are generally the domain of extended backpacking trips, the pass itself and the lakes that surround it make fantastic hikes on their own.
Mammoth Lakes, CA - Hiking - Trail Length: 7.8