Top hiking destinations in California

A view of a forest along a hiking trail

Over the past decade, hiking has become somewhat of a staple when talking about staying fit and trendy. Apart from being an incredible Instagram-worthy sightseeing activity, hiking is also really healthy. It’s essentially walking, though there are some things that set it apart. It’s also a great way to spend some quality, phone-free time with your friends and family. Something that’s great about hiking along beautiful coasts and nature is that, once you’ve reached your goal, the fun doesn’t stop. You can organize everything from sporting activities to picnics, all while enjoying a spectacular view. Here are some mesmerizing hiking destinations in California.

What to bring with you

Before embarking on this journey, you need to be aware of what it entails. It’s more than just picking the most attractive spot, so your safest bet would actually be to explore different sources and recommendations and see what would be the best fit for you. Nevertheless, whichever location you choose, you will need some essentials.

  • Hiking or traveling gear
    Be it a quality set of headphones or good sportswear, you need to think of this step. Being comfortable while hiking gives you huge motivation. Make sure that you’re not carrying anything too heavy or that the weight is at least well distributed.
  • Water and snacks
    The most important thing for you to bring to one of these California hiking destinations is something to hydrate properly. No matter how easy the hike you’re going on might be, you still want to be prepared. Something else that might be a good idea is bringing some healthy snacks like nuts or fruit.
  • Be physically prepared
    Going hiking, although not the most demanding thing in the world, still requires some preparation. Being in shape will help you enjoy the activity much more and actually get to enjoy the other aspects of it.
  • SPF
    Depending on how much sun exposure you’ll get, seriously consider not only applying sunscreen with a high SPF but also taking it with you. Some of these hiking spots can get pretty sunny and you don’t want your skin to suffer.
A bottle of sunscreen
You need to both apply sunscreen beforehand and take some with you just in case

Top  hiking destinations in California

Hiking is a great way to stay fit while traveling, as it’s a perfect combination of exercise and sightseeing. Especially in popular destinations such as California, people have been discovering some great hiking spots and making the most out of them while still enjoying the nature. Here are some of the best hiking spots in California that you must visit.

Yosemite Falls

The Yosemite Falls hiking trail is about three miles long, which makes it seem quite easily bearable. However, it’s quite a steep way to the top. This is why many remain in the lower part of the falls. Nonetheless, you should really try and make your way to the top. It’s certainly worth the sore muscles you might have the day after. The whole hike lasts usually for around six hours so it’s really important to bring everything you might need.

A beautiful view of Yosemite Falls
Visiting Yosemite Falls has to be on your bucket list when it come to the top California destinations for hiking

Mount Shasta

A typical attempt to climb Mount Shasta takes about two days on average. It’s truly one of the most amazing hiking destinations in California. However, something to keep in mind before heading off on this adventure is that there’ll be plenty of challenges along the way. This means that you really need to be well prepared and in top shape, but also that you’ll need to take more serious equipment with you.

McWay Waterfall

One of the easier, yet most beautiful hiking places in California is certainly McWay Waterfall. The road is perfectly paved for you here. There’s really little effort that goes into making this hike. It’s quite short and it doesn’t demand any sort of preparation. If you want to spend a day enjoying yourself with some fine food while looking at the most gorgeous views in California, this is the spot.

James Irvine Trail

A hike through the woods has never looked more tempting and magical. This hiking destination in California looks like it came straight out of a fairytale. When it comes to the difficulty of the hike, it’s pretty moderate. It’s the perfect point where physical activity and lively conversation can co-exist. What makes the experience special is that you can also enjoy bird watching while taking breaks on your way to the finish line.

A person standing on the top of a cliff looking at a distance.
After exploring the best hiking trails in California, you might want to expand your horizons.

Don’t limit yourself

Apart from the incredible hiking places in California and many more that haven’t made their debut, there are plenty of other hiking places that are a must-visit. Don’t limit yourself to one place or one country. Every place is special and has something else to offer. Be sure to make the most of any experience that’s offered to you.

A haven for all nature-lovers

If nature is your, well, second nature, it’s really difficult to go back to your normal routine once you’ve experienced all the beauty that some of these hiking places in California have to offer. If you want tomove near one of these locations, you need to dedicate some time to get to know the good and the bad. Only then can you decide where and if you want to make this your permanent spot.

Don’t overdo it

If you’re a first-time hiker, it might be best to stick to the less demanding trails. This way, you’ll be inspired to go hiking again. If you get misled by all the wonders some of the more difficult hiking destinations have to offer, you might end up getting too overwhelmed. Just take it easy and enjoy every step of the way.

16 thoughts on “Top hiking destinations in California

  1. nortoncharity August 22, 2020 / 4:31 pm

    I love to hike but I’ve never been to California before. I would love to go sometime and will keep all these hiking destinations in mind too. Thanks for sharing!

    • markstraveljournal August 23, 2020 / 7:49 am

      There are so many great hiking trails but these are worth the trip for sure. Thanks for the comments,

    • markstraveljournal August 23, 2020 / 6:08 pm

      They certainly are great hiking spots. Thanks for the comments,

  2. Virevolte August 24, 2020 / 10:14 am

    Great suggestions! I’m impatient to be able to travel to the US to hike there 🙂 Yosemite looks amazing it’s in my to-do list for years now.

    • markstraveljournal August 24, 2020 / 3:44 pm

      Hard to beat Yosemite. Hope you get there more sooner than later. Thanks for the comments

  3. Richie August 27, 2020 / 9:41 am

    Hi Mark. Loving the photos – they really help the reader to picture the scenes that you describe. Is that you in the James Irvine Trail picture or are you the photographer? Not sure if we’ll ever make it to the USA, but if we do these hiking treks sound very tempting.

  4. Marvin August 29, 2020 / 10:22 am

    Even though another trip to California is off the table for now – this is a great overview of hiking destinations in the Golden State. Reading about the Yosemite trail brought back good memories of my last trip to the park 3 years ago. Thanks for sharing!

    • markstraveljournal August 29, 2020 / 10:52 am

      Yeah, can’t wait to get back there. Thanks for the comments

  5. Ellie-M August 29, 2020 / 12:59 pm

    McWay Waterfall sounds just beautiful. Hiking is a huge passion of mine. Unfortunately, the heat in Dubai this time of year means I have to wait another few months to get back out there. Would love to make it to California some day and check out the hiking trails.

  6. aspoonfulpofvanilla August 29, 2020 / 1:22 pm

    It sounds like there are lots of great places to hike in California. I have heard of Yosemite Falls hiking trail before but none of the other ones you have mentioned. If I ever get to visit California hiking there will be on my to-do list.

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