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30 Must-Do Adventures in California

10.02.17

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30 Must-Do Adventures in California
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  • Damnation Creek Trail, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Stout Tree, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Fern Canyon, Pairie Creek Redwoods State Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • The Lost Coast Trail follows the coast where Northern California's King Range plummets into the seas.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Fog and lupine are common along The Lost Coast Trail.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Views up toward Gibson Peak from the Seven Up Pass Trail in the Trinity Alps. - 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  •  Northern California's Mount Shasta is a 14,000-foot volcano in the Cascade Range.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • View up toward Mount Shasta's summit (14,179 ft).- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Summit of Mount Shasta.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Summit views from Lassen Peak.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • A full moon rises over the caldera on Lassen Peak.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • McArthur-Burney Falls is Northern California must-see.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Full view of the McArthur-Burney Falls and the pool below.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Gaining some elevation above Big Bear Lakes in the Northern Sierra's Lakes Basin region.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Climbing to Round Lake with Big Bear Lake in view on the Bear Lakes Loop.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • The Sierra Buttes Trail ascends the tallest peak in the Lakes Basin region.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout Tower is open to visitors unafraid of heights.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Ravine Falls, North Table Ecological Mountain Reserve, is a hidden gem best viewed in spring.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Chimney Rock Trail along the Point Reyes National Seashore.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • The historic Point Reyes Lighthouse sits on a dramatic perch offering stunning views.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Located on the southern end of the Point Reyes National Seashore, Alamere Falls is one of only two waterfalls in California that plunges directly onto a beach.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Mount Tallac's summit offers one of Lake Tahoe's best views.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Pyramid Peak (9,984 ft) and the Crystal Range as seen from the Mount Tallac Trail. - 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Views south of Lake Tahoe along the Rubicon Trail.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Lake Tahoe's Rubicon Trail traverses across Emerald Point, connecting Emerald Bay and D.L. Bliss State Parks.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • El Captian towers above along Northside Drive in Yosemite Valley, one of many destinations you'll see on a valley floor bike tour.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Riding through Cook Meadow with Half Dome beyond.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Dawn vista over Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • The Upper Tuolomne River flows through Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Matthes Crest Traverse in Yosemite National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Looking south on a smokey day along Matthes Crest with climbers on route.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Yosemite's iconic Half Dome (8,836 ft) as seen from the John Muir Trail.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Looking up Half Dome's cables, the main ascent route.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Top of the cables on Half Dome's summit.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Viewpoint over Garnet Lake along the John Muir Trail.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • A JMT hiker climbing toward Muir Pass (11,955 feet) with Lake McDermand, Wanda Lake and Mount McGee in the background.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sunset over Seven Gables Peak along the John Muir Trail.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sunrise from the Whitney Massif near the end of the John Muir Trail.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sierra views along the Rae Lakes Loop, Kings Canyon National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Fin Dome along the Rae Lakes Loop in Kings Canyon National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Crescent Meadow lies nestled among the ancient sequoia trees of the Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Giant sequoia trees near Crescent Meadow.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Mineral King Valley in summer, Sequoia National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Quaking aspens (Populus tremuloides) showing off their fall colors in Mineral King Valley, Sequoia National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Lower Little Five Lake along the Glacier Pass, Sawtooth Pass + Big 5 Lakes Loop, Sequoia National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sierra sunrise over Lost Valley along Glacier Pass, Sawtooth Pass + Big Five Lakes Loop.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sierra sunset above Cyclamen and Spring Lakes near Sawtooth Pass, Sequoia National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Mono Basin lies just east of Yosemite on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Mono Lake is home to unique geologic calcium carbonate formations known as tufa towers.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Temple Crag, up the Eastern Sierra's North Fork Big Pine Creek drainage, is an impressive granite feature. - 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Hiking above Second Lake in the North Fork Big Pine Creek drainage.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Nearing the summit of Mount Whitney, looking west from Trail Crest toward Mount Hitchcock ( 13,184 ft), Sequoia National Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Views from the summit of Mount Whitney.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sea Lion Point and Sea Lion Rocks in Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Whales are frequently spotted in the nutrient-rich waters off of Point Lobos.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Looking south from Point Lobos along the Big Sur.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Sea Lion Rocks, Point Lobos.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Andrew Molera State Beach in Big Sur.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Evening light on Andrew Molera State Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Stare down with a bobcat (Lynx rufus), Andrew Molera State Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • The Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean converge along Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park's coastline.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • McWay Falls at Sunset, Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Big Sur coastline from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Above the clouds on Southern California's Mount San Jacinto.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
  • Views from the Marion Mountain Trail, near Mount San Jacinto.- 30 Must-Do Adventures in California
Article
Team

It’s no secret that California is home to some incredible outdoor destinations. From the serrated ridgelines of the High Sierra to the gargantuan ancient coast redwoods of the north coast, the territory comprising the golden state is a diverse, alluring and awe-inspiring landscape. 

With the exception of the central valley, California’s land mass primarily consists of coastal and interior mountains. The Pacific Crest links the southern volcanoes of the Cascade Range to the Sierra Nevada and to the drier mountains of southern California beyond. Although not nearly as tall, the coastal ranges flow north to south in similar fashion, with dense evergreen forests transitioning to oak savannah and chaparral through the state's lower latitudes. It is nestled among California's continuous topographic relief that countless immersions in nature and adventures await.

With so much terrain to cover, the question then becomes where to focus one’s time? Good places to start are in the regions that exemplify the spirit of the California landscape and that make it unique. We've culled together 30 must-do California outdoor adventures and destinations below. From easily accessible yet strikingly scenic waterfalls and state parks to multi-day backpacking excursions and demanding climbing routes, there's something in here for everyone.

Let us know what's on your California must-do list in the comments section below.

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