By Stefanie Michaels
California is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful hiking trails in the world. It offers a variety of topography and diverse range of climates and ecosystems.
Its high mountain ranges such as the Sierra Nevada, offers alpine meadows, glaciers, and rugged peaks. It’s also home to some of the tallest trees on Earth—the coastal redwoods, which can be found in the Redwood National and State Parks.
The Channel Islands, an 8 chain of islands across from Ventura, California, has unspoiled landscapes, including sea caves, cliffs, and tide pools. The surrounding waters is also a marine sanctuary, where scientists often uncover new species of marine life.
All these factors make California the perfect place for hiking and outdoor activities.
- Point Reyes National Seashore – Just a short drive north of San Francisco, Point Reyes offers hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing opportunities, such as the northern elephant seal to the small endangered Myrtle’s Silverspot butterfly.
- Mono Lake – This unique place is in the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains and is known for its tufa towers—limestone formations created by the interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake water.
- Pinnacles National Park – This lesser-known national park is located in Central California. There’s a bevy of hiking and rock climbing ops and a chance to see the endangered California condor.
- Big Sur – This beautiful stretch of coastline along Highway 1 offers stunning views and hiking and camping opportunities. Movies such as All the Knives out, filmed in 2022, and Basic Instinct, filmed here.
- Anza-Borrego Desert State Park – This desert park in Southern California offers hiking, camping, and a chance to see the famous “desert wildflowers” in the spring. Walk through fighting metal dinosaurs and sea creature art installations into a place of sandy landscapes and sun most days of the year. It’s also away from city lights, lending it a fantastic place to stargaze.
- The Channel Islands – This of eight island chain sits off the coast of Southern California, boasting rugged, unspoiled landscapes, including sea caves, cliffs, and tide pools. These islands are only accessible by boat. It’s a truly remote and wilderness hiking experience.
TIP: For additional information on the National Parks system check out:
EXTRA TIP: Visitors can now get free entry to California State Parks via local library cards.