Best Hikes in California

 

Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, CA
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Perhaps one of the most iconic hikes in California, Half Dome is a granite dome located in the Eastern end of Yosemite National Park.  Reaching a total elevation of 8,844 ft with a prominence of 4,737 ft above the valley floor, this is a very strenuous hike that should only be attempted by experienced hikers with proper gear and footwear.  This hike takes 10-12 hours to complete and starts out along the Merced River on the Mist Trail, passing by Vernal Falls and through Little Yosemite Valley.  The final 400 ft ascent is through the use of seasonal steel cables that require a permit obtained before entering the park.

 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – McWay Falls overlook, Big Sur, CA
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Not so much of a hike as a destination, this is a short hike under a mile to one of the most recognizable features of Big Sur.  McWay Falls falling 80 ft onto McWay Beach.  The exit for this landmark is right off of Cabrillo Highway, and after a short walk under the highway you’ll be rewarded with a view of one of very few waterfalls that fall directly into the ocean.

 

Pinnacles National Park,  Paicines, CA
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A national park in North-Central consisting of the eroded remains of an extinct volcano, this hike offers interesting rock formations and caves far from some of the more touristy destinations.  The High Peaks Loop covers just over 9 miles with over 1,400 ft elevation gain.  Highlights include the California Condors, Talus Caves, and bats!  Temperatures tend to climb during summer months so make sure to stay hydrated.

 

The Goat Canyon Trestle, Anza Borrego State Park
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Nicknamed the “Impossible Railroad”, the Carrizo Gorge Track consists of 17 tunnels and a number of trestles, including the Goat Canyon Trestle, the largest trestle in the world.  The hike starts at the Mortero Palms trailhead and is a pretty technical one.

 

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