Best Trails of California

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

  • #1 Half Dome Trail

    44 Reviews

    Yosemite National Park, CA

    Half Dome Trail is a hiking trail in Mariposa County, California. It is within Yosemite National Park. It is 1.8 miles long and begins at 8,748 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.1 ...
    •  1.8 miles

    Half Dome Trail is a hiking trail in Mariposa County, California. It is within Yosemite National Park. It is 1.8 miles long ...

  • #2 Pinnacles Campground

    2 Reviews

    Paicines, CA

    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, ...
    •  Guide

    Pinnacles National Monument is a fascinating park. Miles of challenging trails thread over rock outcrops, along creeks, and ...

  • #3 Big Santa Anita Loop (Mt. Zion Loop) (Backpacking)

    11 Reviews

    Arcadia, CA

    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 ...
    •  2 days
    •  9.4 miles
    •  Guide

    In the lush and shady recesses of the Front Range of the San Gabriel Mountains you can easily lose all sight and sense of ...

  • #4 Cowles Mountain

    8 Reviews

    La Mesa, CA

    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 ...
    •  2 hours
    •  2.8 miles
    •  Guide

    Touted as one of the largest urban parks in the country, Mission Trails Regional Park, in San Diego’s San Carlos district, ...

  • #5 San Francisco Bay Area Campgrounds

    2 Reviews

    San Francisco, CA

    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 ...
    •  Guide

    Ocean access, marvelous views, and temperate weather—these define the San Francisco Bay Area. Add the human contributions—the ...

  • #6 Mission Trails Regional Park: Combined Trails Loop

    7 Reviews

    La Mesa, CA

    This nature lovers’ mecca in the middle of suburbia is a favorite of hikers, cyclists, and dog walkers.
    •  3 hours
    •  4.2 miles
    •  Guide

    This nature lovers’ mecca in the middle of suburbia is a favorite of hikers, cyclists, and dog walkers.

  • #7 Tillie Creek Campground

    1 Reviews

    Kernville, CA

    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 ...
    •  Guide

    Tillie Creek is a campground for all seasons. I love Tillie in the fall when the leaves change; in the winter and spring ...

  • #8 Mount Tallac Trail

    16 Reviews

    Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, CA

    Mount Tallac Trail is a hiking trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. It is 4.7 miles long and begins at 6,428 feet altitude. ...
    •  4.7 miles

    Mount Tallac Trail is a hiking trail in El Dorado County, California. It is within Desolation Wilderness and Lake Tahoe Basin ...

  • #9 Sacramento and Western Sierra Foothills Campgrounds

    2 Reviews

    Sacramento, CA

    Campgrounds included in this guide are: Malakoff Diggins, South Yuba, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Scotts Flat Lake, White Cloud, Skillman Group Camp, Rollins Reservoir, Auburn, Parker Flat OHV ...
    •  Guide

    Campgrounds included in this guide are: Malakoff Diggins, South Yuba, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Scotts Flat Lake, White ...

  • #10 Otay Mountain Truck Trail

    9 Reviews

    Ocotillo, CA

    Otay Mountain Truck Trail is a well-maintained road that winds over the ridge tops of the San Ysidro Mountains. The trail is well used by the U.S. Border Patrol, which takes advantage of its ...
    •  Difficulty
    •  2 hours
    •  16.2 miles
    •  Guide

    Otay Mountain Truck Trail is a well-maintained road that winds over the ridge tops of the San Ysidro Mountains. The trail ...

  • #11 Blue Ridge Trail North

    15 Reviews

    Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument, CA

    Blue Ridge Trail North is a hiking trail in Yolo County, California. It is within Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. It is 3.9 miles long and begins at 565 feet altitude. Traveling the ...
    •  3.9 miles

    Blue Ridge Trail North is a hiking trail in Yolo County, California. It is within Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. ...

  • #12 Santa Anita Canyon Loop

    7 Reviews

    Sierra Madre, CA

    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 ...
    •  5 hours
    •  9 miles
    •  Guide

    In the lush, shady recesses of Santa Anita Canyon and its tributary, Winter Creek, you can easily lose all sight and sense ...

  • #13 The Upper Natural Bridge of Calaveras County

    9 Reviews

    Angels Camp, CA

    One of the wonders of the Gold Country, this remarkable cave on Coyote Creek cuts clear through a limestone ridge, permitting people to swim or wade through the heart of the hillside. Even if ...
    •  1 hour, but allow more time to explore the cave.
    •  2 miles
    •  Guide

    One of the wonders of the Gold Country, this remarkable cave on Coyote Creek cuts clear through a limestone ridge, permitting ...

  • #14 Boulder Creek Road

    0 Reviews

    Julian, CA

    Beautiful views to the west, from well over 3,500 feet, of fog coming in off the ocean. Rolling, chaparral-covered mountain tops strewn with granite as you drive along a winding mountain road. ...
    •  Difficulty
    •  1.5 hours
    •  24 miles
    •  Guide

    Beautiful views to the west, from well over 3,500 feet, of fog coming in off the ocean. Rolling, chaparral-covered mountain ...

  • #15 Big Basin Redwoods State Park Campgrounds

    5 Reviews

    Boulder Creek, CA

    This park is the granddaddy of all the incredible California state parks. Big Basin has wonderful camping, as well as tent cabins with interior wood stoves. Lovely Wastahi Campground is all walk-in ...
    •  Guide

    This park is the granddaddy of all the incredible California state parks. Big Basin has wonderful camping, as well as tent ...

  • #16 Backbone Trail / Castor Crest

    11 Reviews

    Malibu, CA

    This is a lollipop-shaped route where the sucker is a lot bigger than the stick, but every part is worth devouring. Much of this ride takes place on the Backbone Trail, a path that snakes across ...
    •  12.6 miles
    •  Guide

    This is a lollipop-shaped route where the sucker is a lot bigger than the stick, but every part is worth devouring. Much ...

  • #17 Loch Leven Lakes Trail

    14 Reviews

    Tahoe National Forest, CA

    Loch Leven Lakes Trail is a hiking trail in Placer County, California. It is within Tahoe National Forest. It is 3.6 miles long and begins at 5,795 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is ...
    •  3.6 miles

    Loch Leven Lakes Trail is a hiking trail in Placer County, California. It is within Tahoe National Forest. It is 3.6 miles ...

  • #18 Marion Mountain Campground

    4 Reviews

    Banning, CA

    From L.A., the ride to Marion Mountain Campground on I-10 through “The Inland Empire” (aka “Land of Swirling Gases”) is, at best, horrifying. Persevere, though, and head up CA 243 from Banning, ...
    •  Guide

    From L.A., the ride to Marion Mountain Campground on I-10 through “The Inland Empire” (aka “Land of Swirling Gases”) is, ...

  • #19 San Gorgonio Mountain

    9 Reviews

    Big Bear Lake, CA

    This memorable trip is perhaps the finest backpack route in southern California, touring the region’s most scenic high-mountain landscape. Glacial cirques, virgin forests, windswept alpine ridges, ...
    •  2 to 3 days
    •  21.3 miles
    •  Guide

    This memorable trip is perhaps the finest backpack route in southern California, touring the region’s most scenic high-mountain ...

  • #20 Leo Carrillo State Beach Campground

    0 Reviews

    Malibu, CA

    At first glance, the Leo Carrillo State Beach campgrounds look very similar to the nearby facility at Big Sycamore Canyon, but Leo Carrillo caters to a different clientele. While it lacks the ...
    •  Guide

    At first glance, the Leo Carrillo State Beach campgrounds look very similar to the nearby facility at Big Sycamore Canyon, ...