So much more than the beautiful beaches it's known for, Southern California offers hikers many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors, with sights ranging from the San Bernardino Mountains to the Mojave Desert. So if a SoCal hiking adventure is in your immediate future, consider taking one of the trails we've highlighted here, based on recommendations from Trails.com and Hikespeak.com.
Canyon Creek Trail
The 16-mile loop called the Canyon Creek Trail offers hikers the chance to experience the best of what the Trinity Alps have to offer, including views of wildflower fields, old growth forests, jagged granite peaks, permanent snowfields, as well as lakes, streams, and waterfalls. Some of the best scenes of the Canyon Creek Trail include Boulder Creek Lakes, Sawtooth Peak, and Thompson Peak.
Geology Discovery Trail
A 9-mile loop through the Crystal Cove State Park called the Geology Discovery Trail takes hikers through some of Orange County's most beautiful backcountry. Also known as the Backcountry Loop, the Geology Discovery Trail makes use of several dirt trails to let hikers explore the canyons, grassy plains, and Pacific coastline at their leisure.
Deep Creek Hot Springs Trail
The gradual 6-mile trail to Deep Creek Hot Springs, a cluster of natural thermal hot springs nestled in an isolated canyon, takes hikers through a diverse range of wildlife habitats. After enjoying the landscapes of the surrounding Mojave Desert and San Bernardino National Forest, you can relax and enjoy yourself by soaking in the warm pools.
Moro Rock Trail
You'll pass some of the largest trees in the world and through active wildlife habitats hiking the trail to Moro Rock, a huge granite dome in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. The 4-mile out-and-back trek begins in the Giant Sequoia area of the park to pass through forests and meadows before arriving at Moro Rock, where the ascent offers unobstructed views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, San Joaquin Valley, and Great Western Divide.
Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail
The Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail is a 5.2-mile out-and-back route that offers hikers an easy path to experience the rugged San Jacinto Mountains. On this hiking trail you'll pass through peaceful forests to views of Strawberry Valley, Tahquitz Rock and the mountain town of Idyllwild.
Headed north? Also check out the greatest hikes in Northern California.