One of the benefits to living in California is the abundance of beautiful parks, mountains and scenery. If you’re a hiking enthusiast, you’ll appreciate the tremendous variety in hikes that California has to offer. Whether you prefer the beach, the mountains or the desert, there is a gorgeous trail ready to be explored.
Going for a hike outdoors is beneficial to the body, mind and spirit. In addition to helping you stay active, hiking and walking can also help you deal with stress and reconnect with nature. If you’re ready to lace up your shoes and hit the trails, here are seven of the best outdoor hikes in California.
1. Lost Palms Oasis in Joshua Tree National Park: Joshua Tree is known for its unique rock formations and is a popular destination for rock climbers and hikers alike. The Lost Palms Oasis is a remote hike with gorgeous views, though it may be difficult to complete in the summer heat. When you reach the Oasis, you’ll be greeted by stunning views of the desert, the Salton Sea and the only bank of fan palm trees in the park.
2. Torrey Pines State Reserve: Found in San Diego, this park features incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the cliffs on the coast. It is important to check with the park before setting out on your hike, as local weather conditions and beach erosion can close some trails.
3. Smugglers Cove, Santa Barbara Island: This hike isn’t found on the mainland of California; rather, it is on the Channel Islands off the coast. You can catch a boat to this hike with stunning coastal views from either Ventura or Oxnard.
4. Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park: Famous for the giant sequoia trees, Moro Rock in Sequoia National Park is a great place to view them. Accessible by a stone stairway of 350 steps, climbing Moro Rock also gives you a great view of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east and the San Joaquin Valley to the west.
5. Golden Canyon in Death Valley National Park: Death Valley is one of the most unique terrains in all of California. Hiking the Golden Canyon gives you the opportunity to see many unique geologic features including craters, ruins and sand dunes.
6. Mist Trail, Yosemite National Park: The Mist Trail is one of the most stunning trails found in Yosemite National Park. This hike features spectacular views along the entire trail, plus the option to visit multiple waterfalls.
7. Fern Canyon, Redwoods State Park: Northern California is known for its lush green forests and massive redwood trees, and this is best experienced in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. With an extensive trail network in the park, the Fern Canyon trail is by far the most popular, and as a result, can sometimes be a bit busy. However, the park remains mostly untouched and there is something to see everywhere you look, from wildlife, to dense greenery, to the magnificent redwoods themselves.
Before you get out on the trails, make sure to pack plenty of water and snacks that will keep you fueled along the way. You can make delicious treats, like Medifast granola crunch, trail mix and energy balls, that are easy to make and nutrient-dense. Here’s to the great outdoors, and all the benefits that come with a well-planned hike!