10 Best Scenic Hikes To Experience In California

Cliff-lined beaches and Redwood forests define California. The rugged terrain of California is the reason why it is a hikers’ paradise. Whether you prefer the beach, the desert or the mountain, California has something for everyone. The Torrey Pines State Reserve and the Devil’s Slide Trail give a majestic view of the Pacific Ocean. The Golden Canyon Trail and the Lost Palms Oasis Trail are perfect for the lovers of wilderness, whereas the Fern Canyon and Mist Trail satisfy the lust for greenery within you. Overwhelmed about where to go hiking in California? Have a look at these best hikes in California!

1. Golden Canyon, Death Valley National Park

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Image Source: Flickr.com

The Golden Canyon trail in Death Valley National Park is the best way to experience the unforeseen wilderness of the park. The sandstone canyon and golden mudstone hills are the most amusing features of the trail. With an elevation gain of 721 feet, the hike takes 2 to 3 hours to finish. The trail is best when visited between October to March. The Golden Canyon in Death Valley National Park is one of the most scenic hiking trails in California.

Difficulty level: Hard

Trail length: 3 miles

Attractions along the way: Star wars filming locations, Manly Beacon

2. Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park

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Image Source: Flickr.com

Mist Trail is the signature hike of the Yosemite National Park. It is famous because of the amazing scattered views along the route. It offers an elevation of 4000 feet at the trailhead, 1000 feet to top of Vernal Fall and 1900 feet to top of Nevada Fall. the hike takes minimum 2 hours to finish and depends on how far you go. The Mist Trail, which offers one of the best hikes in California is best visited during the months of April to June. 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Trail length: 3 miles

Attractions along the way: Vernal Falls

Also Read - 13 Caves to Explore in California

3. Eagle Lake, Emerald Bay

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

What’s better than taking a dive into a chilling lake after a tiring hike! The Eagle Lake Trail in Emerald Bay not just offers great views of the Eagle Falls and Eagle Lake, but also gives you a chance to experience the serenity of the waters. The trail has an elevation gain of 433 feet and it takes usually one to two hours to complete the hike. The Eagle Lake Trail is at its best from May to September. The Eagle Lake Trail is among the top hiking trails in California.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Trail length: 1.8 miles

Attractions along the way: Eagle Lake, Eagle Falls

4. Smugglers Cove, Channel Island National Park

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Image Source: Flickr.com

The Smugglers Cove Trail in the Channel Island National Park offers stunningly beautiful views of the ocean. Along with these sublime panoramic views, the trail also offers you a chance to walk along the historic olive orchard. The trail has an elevation gain of just 675 feet and hence is deemed as a moderate-level hike. It generally takes 3 hours to finish the hike. The Island is mostly visited by tourists from June to August. 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Trail length: 8 miles

Attractions along the way: Scorpion Ranch, Smugglers Cove

Also Read - 12 Best Beaches In California

5. Lost Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park

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Image Source: Flickr.com

Located in the southernmost part of Joshua Tree National Park, the Lost Palms Oasis Trail is one of the popular places to hike in California. The trail is graced with palm trees and also is home to bighorn sheep. With an elevation gain of 1026 feet, the trail will surely make you tired. It takes almost 3 hours to finish this hike if you start early. The Lost Palms Oasis is also one of the best day hikes in California.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Trail length: 7 miles

Attractions along the way: Victory Palms

6. Telescope Peak, Death Valley National Park

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Telescope Peak is the highest peak housed by the Death Valley National Park and the Telescope Peak Trail is one of the best California backpacking trails. The trail offers a great view of the Badwater Basin and the surrounding mountain ranges and the wilderness. The elevation gain of a whopping 3323 feet is what makes the hike even more challenging and exciting. If you take the official route, you can complete a round trip in 7 hours. The trail is accessible year-round and best visited in summers.

Difficulty level: Hard

Trail length: 14 miles

Attractions along the way: The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, Rogers Peak

Also Read - Best Spring Break Destinations in California

7. Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Hiking through the Kelso Dunes in Mojave National Preserve is the best way to experience the vast expanse of desert. This trail is one of the unique hiking spots in California because of the sand ways and hard-to-predict paths. Despite the very low elevation gain of 423 feet, the trail still gives difficulty to the hikers with the constantly flowing wind and sand. It is recommended to go hiking there at the time of sunset. 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Trail length: 4.7 miles

Attractions along the way: the Granite Mountains, Devil’s Playground

8. Bridge to Nowhere, San Gabriel Mountains

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Bridge to Nowhere hike is a quintessential hike when in California. The river crossing part of the hike makes it even more fun. The Bridge of Nowhere was built in 1938 and to reach it, you have to hike for 10 miles. The elevation gain of this trail is 2113 feet. The trail can be covered within 4-5 hours. The Bridge to Nowhere Trail in San Gabriel Mountains is one of the popular spots for hiking in Southern California.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Trail length: 11 miles

Attractions along the way: East Fork of the San Gabriel River

9. Gray Butte Trail, Mt Shasta

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Gray Butte Trail in Mount Shasta is the easiest hiking spot in the mountain range. It has an elevation gain of 750 feet and can be completed in just 2 hours. The trail offers stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. You can also get glimpses of some parts of Northern California while hiking. Best time to go hiking through the Gray Butte Trail is between late June to late October.

Difficulty level: Easy

Trail length: 1.7 miles

Attractions along the way: Views of Mount Shasta

10. Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

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Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Fern Canyon Trail is all about fifty feet-fortress like walls covered with enchanting ferns. The Fern Canyon hike in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park is one of the most beautiful hiking trails in Northern California. The trail is best visited during summers, as in the winter season the fern turns brown and the creek expands. Hiking through the Fern Canyon Trail seldom tires you. It is a refreshing and soothing hike.

Difficulty level: Easy

Trail length: 1.1 mile

Attractions along the way: Fern Canyon

Amp up your fitness game by hiking at these trails in California.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Raised in an unconventional and feminist family, Revati believes in hope and love more than anything else in the world ...

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