Sometimes there's just no substitute for the therapy attained from a nature walk. Whether it be a jaunt through the woods, a day out in the mountains or a morning stroll along the coast, getting out for a hike leads to a range of benefits that supports a healthy mind, body and soul. While there is a nearly endless list of great hiking destinations throughout the country, perhaps no land mass holds a broader diversity of day hikes than the state of California. From the ancient coast redwoods of the north to the Big Sur coastline, from Lake Tahoe to the Eastern Sierra, and from Joshua Tree to the coastal chaparral covered mountains of Southern California, the diversity of hiking zones in the golden state runs deep.
The list below is compilation of what we consider some of the best day hikes in California, broken down by region. To qualify these hikes we asked ourselves the following two questions:
The majority of the listed hikes below can be done in a half day or less. There are, however, a few excursions included that are serious full-day endeavors due to length and/or elevation gain.
Please make sure to let us know which are your favorite California day hikes in the Comments section below. Happy Trails!