For some people, a vacation is a great time to reconnect with the great outdoors. What better way to relax and unwind than with a big breath of fresh air and a beautiful trail at your feet. We polled experts at everytrail.com, hikers from the Sierra Club, locals and blogger Josh McNair to create our list of the top five hiking destinations in California.
Santa Monica: Within a few hours of Santa Monica, hikers have a multitude of hiking options available, including Griffith Park (25 miles away), Devil’s Punchbowl and Echo Mountain in the Angeles National Forest and Mount Baldy (a 63-mile drive). The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation area has an entrance in Topanga, about 11 miles from Santa Monica. This recreation area contains 500 miles of trails and includes Griffith Park in the Hollywood area. Many popular trails offer stellar views of Malibu and the ocean. Hiking trails in Point Mugu State Park and Topanga State Park are popular as well. And for newbies seeking an easier hike, a friend from the Sierra Club recommends hiking from Trippett Ranch in Topanga State Park to Eagle Rock. A 3.8 mile loop trail in Will Rogers State Park in the Pacific Palisades offers great views.
Cathedral City: Eight miles from Palm Springs, Cathedral City offers options for hiking in nearby Palm Springs along with hikes in Cathedral Canyon. In Cathedral City, Victor Trail, via Palm Canyon, is an easy loop trail in Indian Canyons, where the ancestors of the Agua Caliente Indians first hunted more than 2,000 years ago. The Murray Hill hike offers views of the southern Santa Rosa Mountains. The pyramid-shaped Murray Hill is named after Welwood Murray, a Scottish settler, who built the first hotel in Palm Springs in 1886. See Palm Springs listing below for hikes around that city.
Palm Springs: This town offers an abundance of hiking trails from easy trails to more challenging treks. The most popular hike is ascending Mt. San Jacinto. Most hikers catch the Palm Springs Tram up to 8,000 feet and then hike to the 10,000-foot summit. Other popular canyons to explore include: Palm Canyon, Andreas Canyon, Murray Canyon and Tahquitz Canyon, which features a waterfall.
San Diego: Top trails to hike within the city that are less than 20 miles from downtown are: Cowles Mountain, west of El Cajon, with views of Lake Murray, downtown, Mexico and the ocean and Los Peñasquitos Canyon, which includes waterfalls and river views. Popular spots to hike in neighboring communities, include: Razor Point Trail and Yucca Point Trail in Torrey Pines State Reserve in La Jolla; Mount Woodson and Iron Mountain Trail in Poway; Cuyamaca Peak Loop Trail in Descanso and Palomar Mountain Observatory Trail in Palomar-Julian.
San Francisco: The City by the Bay has great food, drink and hiking trails, where you can work up an appetite. Great trails within the Presidio include: the Batteries to Bluffs trail with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin, the Presidio Ecology Trail and the Presidio Bay Area Ridge Trail. Other trails in San Francisco include a Crissy Field Exploration Trail and Land’s End in the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, which includes a cliff-top walk.
ResorTime is eager to assist you in booking your hiking escape. You can chat with us online or give us a call at (877)867-6506.
Sources: http://www.everytrail.com/best/hiking-california, http://californiathroughmylens.com/top-ten-hiking-trails-southern-california http://bestwestcoasttravels.com/sandiego/2011/10/19/top-10-best-hikes-in-san-diego/