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Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast

06.30.16

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Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
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  • Point St. George Heritage Area is just a few miles south of the Oregon border in Crescent City.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Hiking through old-growth coastal redwoods along the Damnation Creek Trail.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • The Lost Coast Trail.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Seals along the Long Coast Trail- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Vista south overlooking Sonoma Coast State Park's Kortum Trail. The trail can be seen running parallel to the bluff's edge.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • The Chimney Rock Trail traverses a narrow peninsula with Drake's Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Sunset over the Pacific from the Sky Trail Loop on Point Reyes.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Looking south toward Alamere Falls, Point Reyes National Seashore.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • A view from the Coastal Trail between Rodeo Beach and Muir Beach in the Marin Headlands.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • The Dipsea Trail traverses Mount Tamalpais State Park's coastal slopes.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Lands End Point above Mile Rock Beach.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • The town of Pacifica, with Marin in the distance, seen from Montara Mountain Trail.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Whales are a common sight in the nutrient-rich waters off Point Lobos.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Coastal trails along Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Andrew Molera State Beach framed by Molera Point headland.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
  • Viewpoint overlooking McWay Falls in Big Sur's Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.- Best Hikes on the Northern California Coast
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Team

One of the best aspects of the California coast is that it generally offers a mild and hospitable climate for outdoor recreation year round. While the coastline further north is often barraged with heavy storms throughout winter, it's not uncommon to find the Northern California coast basking in 65-degree, calm and sunny weather, making it a great destination for winter trail time. Add to that a raw and verdant landscape, where forest- and chaparell-covered mountains descend steeply into a rocky ocean at the edge of the continent, and you'll soon discover (if you haven't already) that this is prime terrain beckoning to be explored.

Fortunately, hundreds of miles of serene coastal trails make this rugged landscape accessible. Whether you're interested in a casual walk along bluffs above crashing surf or a longer excursion into the coastal mountains high above the Pacific, hundreds of miles of serene coastal trails await. Between the Oregon border and Big Sur, outings range from wandering through a fairy-tale land of the giant trees of the Redwood Empire to a multi-day, tide-timed trek along the Lost Coast, to a stroll to a waterfall plunging into the ocean at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

Where to start might you ask? We pulled together the list below, oriented north to south, to help you start exploring some of coastal Northern California's finest.

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