🎰 Top 11 Best Hikes in Southern California - Ready, Set, PTO

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California has one of the most diverse hiking landscapes in the US. Check out the 11 best hikes in Southern California and start planning your.


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And if you really want a challenge, you can climb to the top of a mountain peak. Hikers of all abilities can find a Southern California trail that.


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Switzer Falls, Angeles National Forest.


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10 Intense Southern California Trails For Avid Hikers lettuce and wild cucumber to join the old railway bed by a rock dome named the Cape of Good Hope.


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Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park Editor's Pick.


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San Jacinto Peak, Mount San Jacinto State Park.


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10 Scenic Hikes Under 5 Miles Everyone In Southern California Should Take. Sometimes you just need a short hike to stretch your legs and get.


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Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park Editor's Pick.


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Address: N. To beat the summer heat, hikers can enjoy the refreshing waters of the San Gabriel River much of the way to the bridge and back. The best time to visit is between November and May, when the high-salinity creek is at its heaviest flow. To beat the summer heat by the ocean, places like Crystal Cove State Park in Laguna Beach have thousands of acres of ocean canyon to explore. Numerous trails span throughout the arid environment of Anza-Borrego. For a unique capstone experience of visiting the Bridge to Nowhere, one of the few bungee jumping companies in California offers their breath-taking services on the side of the bridge on the weekends. One of the more challenging hikes of Southern California, the Cactus to Clouds Trail should be attempted by experienced and prepared hikers only. For even more hiking trails to explore, the top-rated hiking trails in California cover the state from south to north. Departing from the Jumbo Rocks Campground within Joshua Tree National Park—one of the best campgrounds in Southern California —the trail to Skull Rock immediately plunges visitors into a boulder-strewn desert environment. One of the most popular hikes to explore the unique forests and streams of this Southern California state park is the 3. Salt Creek Interpretive Trail. While the 1. Whether you want easy hikes or strenuous climbs that take the day, SoCal hiking trails have the distance and elevation you crave—not to mention the beautiful destinations worth hiking to. If the time and heat of the day allows, more eye-catching boulder formations can be found by navigating the Split Rock Trail from Skull Rock. To spend the night near Skull Rock, reservations are recommended for the Jumbo Rocks Campground during fall and spring peak seasons. Baldy is the tallest peak in this range just outside of Los Angeles. Baldy Loop as a training hike for larger summits in the state like Mt. Those hiking to Smugglers Cove, an eight-mile round trip with plenty of climbing, need to leave enough time to get back to the ferry. Mount San Jacinto. The largest island, Santa Cruz Island , is also the most popular to visit much in thanks to the Scorpion Ranch Campground and the challenging hiking trails that cross the island. The nation-spanning Pacific Crest Trail follows the route of these mountains, and those looking for day hikes can find peaks to bag and forested areas to ditch the traffic of the cities nearby. Opportunities to soak in the Arroyo Seco line the entire route. During wetter years in California, the Big Laguna Trail also passes by an idyllic lake. More on California California Travel Guide. Find the best places to enjoy the outdoors with our list of the top hiking trails in Southern California. Other hidden-gem hiking trails like Solstice Canyon and Bridge to Nowhere prove that Southern California has way more than just world-class surfing. Switzer Falls. Navigating badlands, slot canyons, and superblooms of wildflowers come spring, perhaps no hike in Anza-Borrego is as refreshing as the Borrego Palm Canyon Nature Trail. Baldy Loop. Other ways to reach the summit of Mount San Jacinto include trekking on the country-spanning Pacific Crest Trail from the mountain town of Idyllwild. Within the Mount Laguna Recreation Area of the Cleveland National Forest, this looped hike crosses the Sunrise Highway and tours through pristine meadows, pine forests, and an array of wildflowers come spring. With panoramic views of both the desert and the ocean, the Boucher Hill Loop climbs steadily until reaching the historic and still functioning Boucher Fire Tower. For desert attractions and potential winter hikes in Southern California, natural spaces like Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Park deliver with magnificent sand dunes and features like Skull Rock. Boucher Hill Fire Lookout. Discover destinations, find outdoor adventures, follow the journeys of our travel writers around the world, and be inspired. Farther north in the park, Badwater Basin offers the chance to hike at the lowest point in the country at feet below sea level. The Big Laguna Trail connects with the nation-spanning Pacific Crest Trail at the Desert View Picnic Area, and hikers will want to pay attention to the abundant trail signs to make sure they stay on the right route. More Related Articles on PlanetWare. To help inspire future road trip plans, many of the best West Coast road trips tour throughout California and connect scenic spots and bucket-list destinations. For a very strenuous hike to the top, the formidable Cactus to Clouds Trail , also known as the Skyline Ridge Route , spans 14 miles from the desert floor to the top of the mountain. The over 2, unspoiled acres of Moro Canyon within the state park is rare in Southern California, and Crystal Cove provides plenty of trails and backcountry camping sites to explore it all. Offering plenty of four-season paths, hiking trails in Southern California provide a fun California adventure every month of the year. Moro Canyon Trail. This is one of the more challenging hikes in Southern California—ambitious hikers often use the Mt. The Salt Creek Interpretive Trail barely scratches the surface of things to do in Death Valley National Park, the biggest national park in the contiguous states. The state park surrounding San Jacinto offers many trails to explore, and for those looking to hike to the top, one of the most popular routes includes starting with a ride on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Outnumbering the national parks in California, state parks in California deliver with similar scenic appeal—including lots of places to pitch a tent or park an RV. From the Moro Campground , the 1. On portions that aren't shared with the Pacific Crest Trail, it's common to see mountain bikers also enjoying the Big Laguna Trail. The roughly mile Mt. With a couple of route options available, nearly all hiking trails to the top of Mt. Following the banks of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River , this mile round trip is a quintessential hike of Southern California. A great starting point in one of the hottest and driest places on earth, the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail at Death Valley tours the national park's few places to find water. Delivering hikers within 2,feet of the summit, the Round Valley Trail is the most frequented summit trail from the Upper Terminal of the mountain station. Flash flooding occurs along the route, and the trail crosses the San Gabriel River at least a dozen times. An hour's drive from Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, Solstice Canyon provides a vibrant sagebrush environment with views of the ocean. Written by Brad Lane Sep 20, From desert floors to snow-painted peaks, the best hiking trails in Southern California span a vast array of beautiful environments. Adding shades of life to an otherwise harsh environment, a half-mile boardwalk trail navigates Salt Creek, where visitors can catch a glimpse at the resident wildlife, like Salt Creek pupfish. Traversing a scenic canyon and the attempted path of a highway connecting the San Gabriel Valley with Wrightwood, all that remains of this washed-away road is the impressive bridge spanning the "Narrows" part of the canyon. Both trails encompass panoramic views and calf-burning inclines, with the route up the Ski Hut Trail providing the most elevation gain. The crown jewel of the San Gabriel Mountains, Mt. Discover California: The top-rated tourist attractions and best places to visit in California are just the beginning of everything California has to offer. Baldy Loop is a challenging trek to the top and around this mountain also known as Mount San Antonio. Solstice Canyon Trail. All rights reserved. Big Laguna Trail meadow. Those looking to hike at Channel Islands National Park, a chain of five islands off the Southern California coast, need to take a ferry or seaplane to get here. Unauthorized duplication in part or whole without prior written consent prohibited by international laws.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Bridge to Nowhere. A three-mile loop, this popular hike and spring-fed destination is marked by palm trees and is also frequented by many species of migratory birds. California Travel Guide. California in Pictures: 20 Beautiful Places to Photograph. The nearby Burnt Rancheria Campground in Mt. Popular with locals and world-travelers alike, the Mt. For a more difficult hike, the Rising Sun Trail can be connected to the Solstice Canyon Trail for a steep four-mile loop. More California Adventures: For some of the most outstanding scenery and breathtaking landscapes in the state, the best national parks in California deliver with places like Yosemite, Joshua Tree, and Redwoods. Departing from the Scorpion anchorage, where ferries drop off passengers from Ventura and Oxnard, hikers can go up either Smugglers Road or Scorpion Canyon to reach the cove. The multi-use Solstice Canyon Trail stretches for a mile to explore the riparian habitat from the parking area near the Pacific Coast Highway , including notable trail markers like a perennial waterfall and the Robert Ranch House ruins. A popular mile hike under an hour's drive east of San Diego , the Big Laguna Trail highlights the many different environments found in Southern California. The world-famous Mesquite Sand Dunes stand high with mountain-like status near Salt Creek, and the more difficult, nine-mile Mosaic Canyon trailhead is also a short drive away. An assortment of desert flowers and cactus line the route to Skull Rock, with interpretive information about the various flora along the way. Highlighting much of what makes Channel Islands one of the best national parks in California , the Smugglers Cove Trail on Santa Cruz Island comes with generous ocean views and a true sense of wilderness. The rest of the Joshua Tree National Park encompasses weeks and months of other hiking trails, including routes that lead to spring-fed oases, Hidden Valleys, and other high points like Ryan Mountain. One of the best state parks in California , Anza-Borrego State Park is also the largest, encompassing over , acres of rugged desert landscapes and wilderness. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}From desert floors to snow-painted peaks, the best hiking trails in Southern California span a vast array of beautiful environments. Numerous mountain ranges run in every direction in Southern California, with abundant hiking trails switchbacking their way throughout. The lower section of the falls is two miles down the trail, and the upper section of the falls requires a challenging quarter-mile scramble with exposed rock ledges. For some unique spots to add to a California itinerary, our guide to California Off the Beaten Path and the California Desert Region can help you discover a wilder side of the state. Baldy Loop can be done either clockwise or counter, by heading up either the Ski Hut Trail straight to the summit, or the Devil's Backbone Trail with a detour at Baldy's Notch. No water or resources exist on the Channel Islands, meaning visitors need to come prepared to spend the day outside. Hikers will want to avoid trekking to the Bridge to Nowhere when water levels are high, or any speculation of a storm is in the forecast. Laguna offers over sites available for tents and RVs. The largest of all state parks in California , Anza-Borrego Desert State Park also offers abundant desert landscapes, including spring-fed oases pocketed by palm trees. Devil's Backbone Trail on the Mt.