California is arguably one of the top destinations for hikers. Simply stated it is a hiker's paradise. Perhaps, no place in the world can boast of such a stunning variety of scenery. From breathtaking alpine landscapes, exotic deserts, lush coastal mountains and pristine beaches, California's incredibly diverse landscape is beyond compare.
California also offers some of the best weather for hiking. It doesn't matter what time of year, you can always find great hiking weather. If its too cold or snowy in the mountains, the Central Valley or Desert regions will provide optimum conditions. When the Desert gets to hot....you can always retreat the cool crispness of the mountains. And almost year round....California's 1000 miles of coastline offer spectacular views of the Pacific.
Below, find links to some of the best trails in the world. From handi-capped access trails to world-class hiking, you can find a hike to suit your needs.
However, just like everywhere else in the world, hiking can be dangerous. Here are a couple of websites to help improve hiker safety.
- HikeSafe.com - is a joint effort between White Mountain National Forest and New Hampshire Fish and Game. While not anywhere near California, this is a great resource for hiking safety.
- California State Park Hiking and Camping Safety Tips - Each year, thousands of people discover that walking and hiking on California State Park trails is safe and healthy fun, if you follow a few tips.
- Hiking - The Guide for Beginning Hikers
- American Hiking Society - Essential trail and hiking resources
- Six Day Hikes in Wawona & Mariposa Grove
- John Muir Trail
- Tahoe Rim Trail
- Lassen Peak Trail
- Sequoia National Park
Cross-Region Trail Info
- BAHiker.com - Bay Area Hiker was created to fully explore the diverse and wonderful spectrum of hiking in the San Francisco bay area.
- SoCaltrails.com - is committed to providing the most up to date, comprehensive information on all hiking trails in San Diego and the Southern California Area
- Pacific Crest Trail - Zigzagging its way from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) boasts the greatest elevation changes of any of America's National Scenic Trails.
- California Coastal Trail - A network of public trails for walkers, bikers, equestrians, wheelchair riders and others along the 1200-mile California coastline.
- CaliforniaTrails.org- California has recognized 26 different trail corridors as part of the Recreational Trail Act.
Californians love and value their coast, and the California Coastal Trail is an expression of the desire for preservation and responsible access. The Trail is a network of public trails for walkers, bikers, equestrians and wheelchair riders and other along the 1200 mile California coastline. It is currently more than half complete. Coastwalk California is a volunteer organization that advocates for completion of the Trail.
California Coastal Trail.info offers a complete Hiker’s Guide including detail maps, information, favorite hikes, ways to volunteer and inspirational stories of 10 hikers that that hiked from Oregon to Mexico in the summer 0f 2003.
Here are quick links for each Coastal Region
- Santa Cruz
- Monterey North
- Monterey South
- San Luis Obispo North
- San Luis Obispo South
- Santa Barbara West
- Santa Barbara East