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.