Best Trails of California

This list represents the most popular trails in California (learn more about Top Trails). Use this list to plan your next California outdoor trip. Select a state and/or activity below to find even more top trails.

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#1. Half Dome


Half Dome is the symbol of Yosemite; its summit the goal of just about everybody who has ever donned a pair of hiking boots. It is a grueling workout, especially if you do it in one day, but if you sp…
From the guidebook "Hiking Yosemite National Park"
Yosemite, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 16 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in CA - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#2. Deep Creek


A cluster of natural hot springs in an isolated canyon in the high desert. Deep Creek has become a favorite spot for those who like to go without clothing. Requires a gradual 6-mile hike or a steeper…
From the guidebook "Touring California and Nevada Hot Springs"
Hesperia, CA - Hiking, Scenic Drives - 12 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in CA - Click to view allBestHiking, Scenic Drives Trail - Click to view allBestHiking, Scenic Drives Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#3. Mount Whitney


This expedition takes you to the top of the highest peak in the contiguous United States, and to unparalleled views.…
From the guidebook "Hiking Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks"
Lone Pine, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 22 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in CA - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view allBestBackpacking, Hiking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#4. Holy Jim Trail


The hike into Holy Jim Canyon is one of the most scenic and interesting in the Santa Ana Mountains. The hike passes under a multitude of trees and crosses Holy Jim Creek many times before eventu…
From the guidebook "Best Easy Day Hikes: Orange County"
Corona, CA - Hiking, Mountain Biking - 2.7 miles Top Trail in North America - Click to view allBest Trail in CA - Click to view allBestHiking, Mountain Biking Trail - Click to view allBestHiking, Mountain Biking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#5. American River Bike Path


Arguably one of the most successful and beautifully paved bike paths in northern California, this 32-mile gem of a trail stretches from downtown Sacramento eastward to Folsom Dam (64 miles round-trip)…
From the guidebook "Mountain Bike! Northern California"
Sacramento, CA - Mountain Biking - 64 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestMountain Biking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#6. San Diego Area Campgrounds


On Presidio Hill in the city of San Diego stands the Serra Museum. A short distance down the hill, Old Town provides another sense of the state’s early settlement. Downtown, the Gaslamp Quarter, a nat…
From the guidebook "Camping Southern California"
San Diego, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#7. Pinnacles Campground


Pinnacles National Monument is a fascinating park. Miles of challenging trails thread over rock outcrops, along creeks, and even through caves. Unfortunately, the park’s prime walk-in campground, on t…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Paicines, CA - Campgrounds Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#8. Aliso / Wood Canyons Regional Park: Rock-It / Cholla Loop


One of Orange County's most popular riding spots, Aliso/ Wood Canyons Regional Park-part of Laguna Niguel Regional Park lies hidden between Laguna Beach and Laguna Hills. It is a unique combination of…
From the guidebook "Mountain Biking Southern California's Best 100 Trails"
Laguna Beach, CA - Mountain Biking - 10.2 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestMountain Biking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Fine Edge Productions

#9. Big Santa Anita Loop (Mt. Zion Loop) (Backpacking)


In the lush and shady recesses of the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains you can easily lose all sight and sense of the hundreds of square miles of dense metropolis, and the millions of Angeleno…
From the guidebook "Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State"
Arcadia, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 9.4 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Wilderness Press

#10. Canyon Creek Lakes and L Lake (Backpacking)


A hiking companion posed this question on a recent trip, “What if you could hike only in one mountain range for the rest of your life, which would it be?” After careful thought, I firmly responded, “T…
From the guidebook "Backpacking California: Mountain, Foothill, Coastal, & Desert Adventures in the Golden State"
Weaverville, CA - Backpacking, Hiking - 16.5 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Wilderness Press

#11. Cowles Mountain


Touted as one of the largest urban parks in the country, Mission Trails Regional Park, in San Diego’s San Carlos district, preserves some of the last remaining open space close to the heart of this sp…
From the guidebook "101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert"
La Mesa, CA - Hiking - 2.8 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Wilderness Press

#12. San Francisco Bay Area Campgrounds


Ocean access, marvelous views, and temperate weather—these define the San Francisco Bay Area. Add the human contributions—the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcad…
From the guidebook "Camping Northern California"
San Francisco, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#13. Mission Trails Regional Park: Combined Trails Loop


This nature lovers’ mecca in the middle of suburbia is a favorite of hikers, cyclists, and dog walkers.…
From the guidebook "60 Hikes within 60 Miles: San Diego"
La Mesa, CA - Hiking - 4.2 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#14. Blue Ridge - Fiske Peak Trail


If any entirely uphill hike can be enjoyed, it’s this one. Your hike begins at the white gate on CR 40, where you’ll see a notification that the bridge is out (it isn’t), along with several other impo…
From the guidebook "60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Sacramento"
Sacramento, CA - Hiking - 8.6 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#15. Cleghorn Ridge


An exciting and scenic drive. An easy trail is intertwined with a difficult trail. Choose an easy or difficult route at almost every fork. Finish at beautiful Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area. Ma…
From the guidebook "Guide to Southern California Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails"
San Bernardino, CA - Off-Highway Drives - 15 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestOff-Highway Drives Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by FunTreks

#16. Sykes Hot Spring


General description: A cluster of natural hot spring pools at a popular backpacking campground in the forested coast range of California. Only accessible by foot on a 10-mile trail, this spring is pop…
From the guidebook "Touring California and Nevada Hot Springs"
Monterey, CA - Hiking - 20 miles BestHiking Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#17. Tillie Creek Campground


Tillie Creek is a campground for all seasons. I love Tillie in the fall when the leaves change; in the winter and spring when it’s warm on the plateau and there’s snow up above in the mountains that r…
From the guidebook "The Best In Tent Camping: Southern California"
Kernville, CA - Campgrounds Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Menasha Ridge Press

#18. San Bernadino County Campgrounds


The San Bernardino Mountains span the county from east to west, dividing it roughly in half. The southern part of the county is fertile and populated, while the north is sparsely inhabited desert. In…
From the guidebook "Camping Southern California"
San Bernardino, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#19. Sacramento and Western Sierra Foothills Campgrounds


Tourists traveling to the Sacramento and Western Sierra Foothills Area from the north via the Golden Chain Highway are welcomed to the region by the gold rush towns of Nevada City and Grass Valley. On…
From the guidebook "Camping Northern California"
Sacramento, CA - Campgrounds, Horseback Riding Best Trail in CA - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view allBestCampgrounds, Horseback Riding Trail - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Falcon Guides

#20. Santa Anita Canyon Loop


In the lush, shady recesses of Santa Anita Canyon and its tributary, Winter Creek, you can easily lose all sight and sense of the hundreds of square miles of dense metropolis and the millions of peopl…
From the guidebook "101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore and Desert"
Sierra Madre, CA - Hiking - 9 miles Best Trail in CA - Click to view all (About Top Trails)
Published by Wilderness Press