California has some of the most beautiful mountains and ocean-front scenery in the world and one of the best ways to get immersed in the wilderness is by hiking and backpacking. According to Max Gorin
, there are endless trails throughout the state that offer adventure and spectacular views. Some of the trails are so famous, you’ll meet hikers from around the world, and other trails are rarely taken and give you a true wilderness adventure.
Summit Lake Trail
This is a trail that gets much less press than other trails in the state, and you may want to keep it that way. It is a 17.7-mile loop that begins on the Summit Lake Trail
and goes 7.3 miles to a spur that has a campsite on Horseshoe Lake. A permit is required to camp, but it is free. The trail continues on to several other lakes. Lassen Volcanic National Park includes the 10,457-foot Mount Lassen, a volcano that hasn’t erupted for almost 100 years. However, it still rumbles occasionally and you may feel the ground shake.
The Lost Coast
is not a stroll on the beach and may not be the best place for beginners, but it is a trail that hikers keep coming back to because there is something new to see every time. Starting from the Usal trailhead you hike north about 33 miles round-trip to Bear Harbor and back through a variety of landscapes. Starting with a grove of mile-high redwoods, where the filtered sunlight is magical and makes everything underneath the canopy glow. If this is the only part of the trail you follow, it will be worth the effort. After the magical forest, comes a 1,000-foot bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, which is an excellent spot for whale watching. You’ll pass through another redwood forest and, in the summer, a meadow of colorful wildflowers.
Redwood Creek Trail
makes you feel like a miniature of yourself especially if you reach Hyperion, the tallest living tree in the world. Its 379 feet which is 70 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. There’s an eight mile one way hike that passes through Tall Tree Grove where other giants reside. You can hike in for 7.5 miles and camp on the gravel bars of Redwood Creek. The next day you’ll see the tallest trees in the grove, some up to 363 feet high, then retrace your steps towards home.
John Muir Trail
This has the reputation for being the most beautiful hiking trail in the United States. The trail reaches from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney, and there is not a dull moment in between. You’ll pass through steep granite cliffs, view sharp peaks, see spectacular waterfalls and delightful, flower-strewn meadows. All of this wonder is mirrored in crystal clear lakes. It is recommended to begin at the northern end and hike south. You’ll pass through amazing-sounding places such as Cathedral Peak, Ansel Adams Wilderness, Tuolumne Meadows and Devil’s Postpile. The highest pass is Forester Pass at 13,180 feet and after that is the eastern end of Sequoia National Park and onwards to Mount Whitney. This 221 mile trek may not be for everyone, but for those who can, it’s definitely worth the effort.
If outdoor adventure is your idea of a great vacation, the California trails have a lot to offer.