Where To Hike In Northern California


Popular hiking destinations in Northern California include Yosemite National Park and Mount Shasta. The Lost Coast Trail and Lassen Volcanic National Park also offer exceptional trails.

Northern California beckons adventurers with its diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes, making it an ideal destination for hikers of all levels. From the misty coastlines to the towering Redwoods, the region promises a tapestry of trails suitable for leisurely walks or challenging treks.

Yosemite National Park’s iconic Half Dome and the scenic Pacific Crest Trail are favorites among the seasoned hikers. Meanwhile, casual hikers enjoy the beauty of the Marin Headlands or the tranquility of Point Reyes National Seashore. Every route rewards with breathtaking vistas and a chance to reconnect with nature. Visitors are encouraged to respect the natural environment and adhere to Leave No Trace principles to preserve these areas for future generations.

Trails Worth Exploring

Northern California’s rugged beauty beckons hikers of all skill levels. Unmatched natural backdrops promise memorable adventures. Here, towering trees and majestic mountains offer trails that deserve every hiker’s bootprints.

Redwood National And State Parks

Stand beneath ancient giants and feel dwarfed by their magnificence. In these parks, paths weave through lush forests and verdant fern undergrowth. Experience serenity and the fresh scent of the woodlands. Key trails to explore:

  • Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail – An easy loop with interpretive signs, perfect for families.
  • Tall Trees Grove Loop Trail – A secluded path leading to some of the world’s tallest trees.
  • Trillium Falls Trail – Encounter a charming waterfall amidst the redwoods.

Mount Shasta’s Alpine Trails

Scale new heights on Mount Shasta where trails take you through wildflower meadows to panoramic vistas. Alpine paths offer challenging hikes that reward with stunning views. Don’t miss out on these paths:

  • Bunny Flat Trail – A welcoming trail for beginners with picturesque surroundings.
  • Gray Butte Trail – Moderate hike featuring diverse landscapes and Mount Shasta views.
  • Green Butte Ridge Trail – A thrilling ascent for experienced hikers craving adventure.
Where To Hike In Northern California

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Coastal Treks For Nature Lovers

Northern California’s coastline is a paradise for hikers. Dramatic cliffs, whispering forests, and panoramic ocean views await. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a peaceful stroll, these coastal treks are sure to captivate your senses.

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes provides a spectacular array of hiking options. It’s a haven for wildlife and wildflowers alike.

  • Over 150 miles of walking trails
  • Chance to spot elephant seals and tule elk
  • Historic lighthouse for a perfect photo op

Beaches and headlands offer stunning vistas. Families and solo adventurers love these trails.

Lost Coast Trail

The Lost Coast Trail is California’s rugged wonder. Its untouched beauty presents a rare challenge.

Trail Length 24 miles one-way
Terrain Remote, mountainous
Highlights Secluded beaches, tidepools, old-growth forests

Prepare for tidal navigation and primitive camping. The trail is best for experienced hikers.

Waterfall Wanderlust

Northern California is home to some of the most breathtaking waterfalls.

Trek through lush forests and witness cascading waters.

Burney Falls

McArthur-Burney Falls Memorial State Park boasts the stunning Burney Falls.

A waterfall like no other, with crystal-clear water tumbling down a 129-foot drop.

  • Easy access with a short hike
  • Amazing year-round flow
  • Perfect for family outings

Feather Falls Loop

Feather Falls stands as one of California’s tallest waterfalls.

Trail Length Difficulty Best Time to Visit
9-mile loop Moderate Spring to fall

Embark on this adventurous hike and enjoy the stunning views.

  1. Start at the trailhead
  2. Hike through the beautiful forest
  3. Reach the spectacular 410-foot waterfall
Where To Hike In Northern California

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Epic Mountain Hiking

Northern California’s majestic mountains beckon adventurers to explore.

Epic mountain hikes offer breathtaking views, crisp alpine air, and a sense of accomplishment.

Lassen Peak Trail

Lassen Peak Trail towers in Lassen Volcanic National Park.

  • Active volcano summit
  • Stunning panoramic sights
  • A manageable 5-mile round trip

Prepare for a challenge with a steady incline.

Don’t forget your camera for the summit selfie with amazing views!

Tahoe Rim Trail

Highlights Trail Details
Multiple access points 165-mile loop around Lake Tahoe
Diverse ecosystems Forests, meadows, and peaks
Customizable hikes Choose your section or tackle the whole trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail is a bucket list adventure.

Suitable for both day hikes and extended backpacking trips.

Wildlife sightings add to the experience.

Family-friendly Options

Discovering the great outdoors brings joy to families. Northern California offers hiking trails perfect for all ages. Children and parents can explore wonders together with these family-friendly hikes.

Muir Woods National Monument

Stroll among giant redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument. The main trail features a flat, easy path. Perfect for strollers and little legs. Boardwalks and bridges keep the adventure safe and fun. Peek at the creek. You might see salmon! Remember:

  • Book your parking spot early.
  • Bring snacks and water.
  • Wear layers for changing weather.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park beckons with its oldest trees. Walk among ancient giants on the Redwood Loop Trail. It’s less than a mile and full of big trees. Educational signs teach about the forest. A nature center offers more learning. What’s great:

  • Picnic areas for lunch.
  • Easy trails with lots of shade.
  • Engaging Junior Ranger program for kids.
Where To Hike In Northern California

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Frequently Asked Questions For Where To Hike In Northern California

What Is The Best Time Of Year To Hike Northern California?

The best time to hike Northern California is during late spring through early fall, typically May to October, when the weather is mild and trails are accessible.

What Is The Famous Hiking Trail In California?

The Pacific Crest Trail is a renowned hiking trail in California. It spans 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada, traversing diverse landscapes.

What Is The Hardest Hike In Northern California?

The hardest hike in Northern California is often considered the Mount Shasta summit trail. It challenges hikers with steep, rugged terrain and high altitudes.

Is Mission Peak A Hard Hike?

Mission Peak is considered a moderately difficult hike due to its steep inclines and roughly six-mile round-trip distance. The elevation gain of 2,100 feet challenges many hikers.


Northern California’s hiking trails offer something for every adventurer. Whether seeking serene redwood havens or demanding mountain treks, this region caters to all. Remember, the right path not only reconnects us with nature but also rejuvenates our spirit. Ready your backpack and set out to explore these natural gems.

Happy hiking!



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