Discover some of California's most popular and most reviewed hikes according to the AllTrails app. These hikes had well over 3,000 reviews from hikers, so keep in mind they are likely to be busy trails at any point of the week. Remember to mask up, and clean up any trash you see along the way to help maintain the cleanliness for yourself and others.
#5 Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail
Angeles National Forest, California
There's no doubt that this is one of the busiest trails in the greater Los Angeles area, but for good reason. On a clear day you can see the skyline of downtown Los Angeles, Catalina Island, and various popular Los Angeles landmarks such as the Rose Bowl Stadium and Hollywood.If you make it to Inspiration Point, they even have telescopes to help you locate some of these iconic views from a distance. It is a well maintained trail, and great for runners, and makes for an epic view at sunset!
View Hiking Trail Here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/echo-mountain-via-sam-merrill-trail--4
#4 Mission Peak
Mission Peak is a right of passage in the Bay Area hiking community. The steep incline is not for novice hikers, but those who do summit the top are rewarded with spectacular views. At the top, you can see Mt.Tamalpais, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mt. Diablo, Mount Hamilton, and the Sierra Nevadas on a clear day. As you hike the trail, you may come across some wildlife along the way such as goats and cows. Many hikers recommend doing this trail clockwise.
#3 Iron Mountain Trail
Start your hike early, because this is one of San Diego's most popular hiking locations! Hikers love this trail for the steady incline and the rewarding views from the top. At the summit you'll see the Cuyamaca Mountain range and Pacific Ocean in the distance. Many hikers noted the large rock formations, and to wear good hiking shoes because it can get a little slippery if you are not careful.
View Hiking Trail Here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/iron-mountain-trail--5
#2 Cowles Mountain Trail (4493)
La Mesa, California
San Diego is clearly a Mecca for hikers in Southern California, and Cowles Mountain ranks at the second most reviewed hike in the Golden State. Enjoy panoramic views of San Diego, and views out to Mexico and Orange County on a clear day! It is a short and steep hike, and people recommend to bring an appropriate amount of water, especially on a hot day!
View Hiking Trail Here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/cowles-mountain-trail
#1 Potato Chip Rock via Mt. Woodson Trail
San Diego, California
If you haven't heard of Potato Chip Rock by now, then which rock have you been hiding under?! This hike had over 5,800 reviews on All Trails, making this the most reviewed hike in California! Prepared to wait in line, as you wait to take a picture on the infamous shaped "Potato Chip" rock. The 7 foot long and thin rock is quite the tourist attraction, and the park rangers have stated over 400,000 visitors come to this trail every year!
View Hiking Trail Here: https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/potato-chip-rock-via-mt-woodson-trail
It comes to no surprise that some of the most reviewed hikes are in Southern California! Hiking in California is an awesome outdoor activity and there are lots of places to discover.
Personally, I prefer finding less-traveled trails, and we are fortunate to live in Sacramento, CA, where we are only a short distance from some spectacular locations. If you're looking for some awesome hikes in California that aren't on this list, I recommend a hike we did in Mount Shasta! You can learn more about it here.