Untouched mountain ranges, ancient redwood forests, and hundreds of miles of uninhabited coastline are just a few of the awesome terrains that bring hikers to northern California. Whether you're a lifelong resident or it's your first time exploring the Golden State, consider hiking one of the five trails we think are some of the best in northern California based on suggestions from Hikespeak.com and Trails.com.
Half Dome Trail
A challenging 16-mile loop through Yosemite National Park takes hikers to the granite summit of Half Dome to offer breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness, the High Sierra, and Yosemite Valley. The hike to Half Dome is spectacular, but not to be taken lightly, and you should familiarize yourself with what permits you'll need as well as the famous cable system that assists climbers up the last 400 feet of the trail.
Lake Clementine Trail
At just under 2 miles the Lake Clementine Trail is a scenic hike along the American River through a rocky down to the huge, peaceful lake that formed with the construction of the North Fork Dam in 1939. You'll find the Lake Clementine Trail to be a fairly easy hike that offers views of wild river rapids, forests, and other dynamic landscapes in Auburn State Recreation Area.
Spring Hill Trail
On the Spring Hill Trail, hikers follow a 2.9-mile lollipop loop that offers clear views of Black Butte, Mount Shasta, and the surrounding areas. The Spring Hill Trail is a short summit hike that ascends 625 feet of elevation and takes you through stands of evergreen trees and manzanita shrubs
Crags Trail to Castle Dome
You'll walk 5.6 miles round-trip hiking the Crags Trail to the base of Castle Dome, a 4,996-foot granite dome. You'll pass through a pine forest and past a rugged enclave of peaks known as the Castle Crags Tower, and you can take the extended trail to Indian Springs to make it a 6-mile hike.
Salt Point Trail
The Salt Point Trail is 3-mile round-trip hike through the grassy bluffs and Pacific coastline of Salt Point State Park. The path is level, well-marked, and gives hikers the quintessential experience of the northern California's dramatic, jagged coastline.
If you are headed south, also check out our best hikes of southern California.