Best Hiking Trails in California for a Backpacking Adventure!

California Hiking Trail

Backpack The Best Trails in California

California Hiking Trail

Looking for some great outdoor adventure? Southern California is the place to be! With miles and miles of hiking trails, there is something for everyone. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we will discuss some of our favorite trails in Southern California and why they are so popular. So, what are you waiting for—grab your backpack and get ready for an adventure of California’s best hiking trails!

Pacific Crest Trail

One of our favorite trails is the Pacific Crest Trail. This trail stretches for over two thousand miles from Mexico to Canada and passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in Southern California. If you’re looking for a challenge, this is the hike for you. The trail is steep and often climbs up to high elevations, so be prepared for a strenuous hike. However, the views are well worth it and you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something truly amazing once you reach the top.

The Pacific Crest Trail is a great choice for experienced hikers who are looking for a challenging adventure. The scenery is beautiful and there’s plenty of opportunity to see wildlife along the way. Be sure to pack plenty of food and water, as this hike can take several days or even weeks to complete.

John Muir Trail

John Muir Hiking Trail California

Another great trail is the John Muir Trail. This trail is named after one of America’s most famous naturalists and runs for over 200 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is an amazing hike for anyone who loves nature and wants to get away from it all. The John Muir Trail is known for being one of the most challenging and rewarding hikes in all of California. Located in Yosemite National Park, this popular trail offers its visitors

Sage Mountain National Recreation Trail

A less well-known trail, but no less beautiful, is the Sage Mountain National Recreation Trail. This hike takes you through some of the most rugged and remote country in all of Southern California. The views from the top of Sage Mountain are simply breathtaking, and on a clear day you can see for miles in every direction.

This trail can be difficult to find, so make sure you have a good map before setting out. As a less strenuous hike is the Sage Mountain National Recreational Trail is popular with families and advanced backpackers alike.

San Gorgonio Wilderness

If you’re looking for a truly epic backpacking experience, then look no further than the San Gorgonio Wilderness. At over 11,000 feet high, this is one of the tallest mountain ranges in Southern California. The trails here offer hikers incredible views of both the desert trail below and the snow-capped peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains.

The High Sierra Trail

High Sierra Hiking Trail California

The High Sierra Trail is another great option for backpackers and hikers who are looking for a challenge. This trail runs for over 70 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountains. The scenery is stunning and there’s plenty to see along the way. Be sure to pack plenty of food and water, as this hike can take several days to complete. It’s a must-do for any serious hiker.

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

Anza Borrego Desert State Park Trail

If you’re looking for a more relaxed backpacking experience, consider the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. This park is located in Southern California and offers plenty of trails for hikers of all levels. The desert landscape is unique and beautiful, and there’s always something new to see. Make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen, as this is a hot and dry area no matter the time of year.

What to Take on Your Southern California Backpack Adventure

You’ll want to make sure that you are adequately prepared for anything that comes your way if you’re spending the day (or multiple days) on the trails. Consider these must-have items before you start your trip.

  • Extra clothing – The temperatures will vary depending on where you are on the hike. Bring layers, extra socks, and sun protective gear.
  • Tent – Bring a tent that can stand up to high winds and reflect heat. Many Southern California backpack trails are desert-like, becoming very hot during the day but quickly cooling off at night.
  • Rain gear – In case the weather turns on you, a shell or packable rain jacket will work as additional protection from the elements.
  • First aid kit – Your first aid kit should be filled with over the counter pain medicines, antihistamines, gauze, topical antibacterial ointment, bandaids, tweezers, alcohol pads, sunblock, and bug spray.
  • Whistle – A whistle can help to scare wildlife away or let others aware of your location if you find yourself in a precarious situation, lost, or separated from your group.
  • Water – Familiarize yourself with what areas have fresh water, where water is provide and then plan accordingly. Consider bringing a water purifier, as well.
  • Food – Adequate calories are critical when completing such an advanced hike. Make sure that you have planned accordingly and have several high protein, high carb, and high calorie snacks that you can eat on the go. Foods like jerky, peanut butter, trail mix, granola bars, bananas, and more are good options for getting boosts of energy when you’re starting to feel burned out.
  • Cookware – Looking for a more substantial meal? Backpacking stoves are a great option to get in extra calories and have actual meals on the go.

Get out and start exploring the best trails in Southern California today

There are few things as rewarding as a challenging backpacking or hiking trip. If you’re looking for an adventure, Southern California is the place to be. With world-renowned trails and incredible views around every bend, these routes will leave you wanting more.


About The Author:  My name is Derek Edwards, and I am an outdoor enthusiast, adventure seeker, and journeyman blogger. Amongst being an avid outdoorsman, I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to various blogs such as and Humminbird to help spread my love for nature.


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