The 20 Best Hiking Spots in Northern California

Inexpensive and accessible, hiking has become a favorite activity among those seeking to improve not only their physical but also their mental health. Hiking also allows for people to be one with the natural rhythms of the environment, leading to a sense of spiritual reinvigoration.

People may claim they “do not have time” to go to the mountains, what with the hustle and bustle of urban life. However, the truth is that many trails are only within driving distance of residential areas.

So get ready to pack your bags and check out 20 of the favorite hiking trails in Northern California!

1.Fern Canyon

hiking feed fern canyon

Photo Credits: California Parks

A World Heritage site, this trail located in the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park offers stunning views of fern-covered walls. The trail begins with a stretch of California’s Northern Coast and ends with a lush forest that gives a view of the Fern Canyon.

 

2. The Mist Trail

hiking feed mist-trail

Two huge waterfalls take the spotlight along Yosemite Valley, creating mists which gave the trail its moniker. This hike is guaranteed to give a refreshing welcome to weary hikers with the cool mist that comes from the falls.

 

3. Matt Davis Trail, Mt. Tamalpais

hiking feed matt davis trail

Expect a panoramic view of oceans and dense forests at the end of this hike. A highlight in this trail is the Steep Ravine, a landscape created by rushing water surrounded by redwood trees and a diverse range of plants.

 

4. Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park

hiking feed prairie-creek-redwoods

Known for the Elk Prairie, a redwood-filled meadow where Roosevelt elks are found grazing the prairie. Tall redwoods cast shadows within the forest even during the brightest days, creating an ethereal mood for the adventurous hikers.

 

5. Coastal Trail, Rodeo Beach to Muir Beach

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Photo Credits: Chowla

Coastal views and beaches are visible through this trail. What makes this an interesting hike are the abandoned military structures in the distance that have deteriorated over time.

 

6. Founders Grove Trail

hiking feed founders grove

Photo Credits: California through my lens

This trail serves to memorialize the movement to save the redwoods in California’s North Coast. Knowing this makes your journey not only a rejuvenating experience but also a meaningful one.

 

7. Mt. Diablo

hiking feed mt diablo

Photo Credits: summitpost

This trail takes you to a loop that offers a view of the Bay Area and other surrounding sights, such as the Sierra Nevada and the Sta Cruz Mountains. Contrary to the name of the mountain, the trail offers heavenly sights of oceans and various landforms.

 

8. Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

hiking feed half dome

Photo Credits: Wikipedia

The most recognizable landmark in Yosemite, Half Dome is a hike so steep that it requires the use of cable systems for hikers to ascend the rock formation. Once on top, hikers are rewarded with a scenic view of lush greeneries and other rocky mountains.

 

9. Palomarin to Alamere Falls

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Photo Credits: Bayhiker

Before reaching the Alamere Falls that flow towards a stretch of beach, this trail will take you to a scenic hike through a forest of pine and oak trees.

 

10. The Lost Coast Trail

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Photo Credits: Wikipedia

There are areas in this trail that remain untouched by progress, making them ideal for the flourishing of a variety of fauna and flora. The 25-mile, however, is not an easy trek and requires at least 3 days worth of hike.

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