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30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California

02.10.18

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30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California

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  • View of Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon from Glacier Point.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Winter view of Yosemite Valley from Tunnel View Scenic Overlook.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Peter Grubb Ski Hut.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Views of the lake are good motivation to push through to the summit of Hidden Peak. - 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Hidden Peak.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • The views from Jake's summit never get old.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • The relatively level trail makes this adventure appropriate for all ability levels.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Sledding near the Lassen visitor center is a popular activity for families.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Exploring the terrain around the southwest entrance.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Looking up the West Face of Shasta from camp.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Climbing one of many bowls en route to Hidden Valley.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Undergrowth in the redwood forest.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Visitors dwarfed by the redwoods.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Some portions of the grove are covered with massive ferns.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Battery Point Lighthouse is one of California's oldest lighthouses.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • At higher tides Battery Point Lighthouse is inaccessible on foot.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • The picturesque natural bridge.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • The picturesque natural bridge from the side.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Cooper Canyon Falls.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Giant sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) stand apart in Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest. - 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Exploring Arch Rock by kayak.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Middle and West Anacapa from Inspiration Point.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Generally user-friendly waves break along a reef on the north end.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Catching a few waves in at the end of the day.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Looking south from Luscomb's Point.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Manhattan Beach.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Arches Rock Nature Trail in Joshua Tree National Park.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • A clear night sky showcases a gorgeous starscape over Arches Rock Nature Trail in Joshua Tree National Park.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Sunrise over Death Valley National Park from Zabriskie Point.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • First sun on the Panamint Mountains.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Cabrillo National Monument.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Not a bad place to catch a sunset.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Pear Lake Ski Hut is a welcome sight following the steep 6-mile ski or snowshoe approach.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • The hut doubles as a National Park Ranger Station during the summer months.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • The peak of Donner Ridge with panoramic views of the Sierra.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Donner Peak.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Andesite Peak.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Skiing corn on Castle's south face.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Castle Peak's south face.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Sierra Hot Springs.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • The main lodge and office building at Sierra Hot Springs.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Ridge Lakes base camp.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Mount Diller (9,087 ft) from Ridge Lakes.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Battery Point Lighthouse is one of California's oldest lighthouses.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Tamarack Lodge.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
  • Tamarack Lodge offers historic and delux cabin rentals.- 30 Must-Do Winter Adventures in California
Article
Contributor

There are plenty of reasons California is an ideal winter destination for outdoor enthusiasts. With nine national parks, the proximity of the mountains to the ocean, and the relative quiet and lack of crowds compared to other times to visit and take advantage of the Golden State’s natural beauty, there is a lot to love about California’s colder months.

To best appreciate this state as a winter destination, visitors should allocate some time to tromp around in the snowy Sierra Nevada as well as as explore the coastline. You’ll be blown away that you can go from a nearly freezing day at over 8,000 feet to a comfortable coastal chill in just one day.

Locals, however, should definitely take advantage of the breadth of adventures here in California as often as possible. Don’t feel pressure to squeeze these ideas into each weekend. Instead, stretch them out over the entire weekend and make the place where you live the place where you play.

From Sierra summits to seaside scenes, here are just a few of our favorite winter adventures in California.

Desert

The best time to visit the desert in California is hands down in the winter due to fewer crowds and more comfortable temperatures. 

Surf and Sun in SoCal

Escape the cold and bask in the land of eternal summer. 

Big Trees

From the Sequoias to the Redwoods, you'll want to stand beneath California's giants.

Central and Northern Coast

The weather may be chillier, but the views are breathtaking.

Alpine Adventures

Craving snow? Head straight for the Sierra and Southern Cascades.

Looking for more California winter adventures? Consider this road trip to see the state covered in a blanket of white. 

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