5 Most Popular Hikes in California


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!


https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/echo-mountain-via-sam-merrill-trail--4



#4 Mission Peak

Fremont, California

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.


https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/california/mission-peak-loop-from-stanford-avenue-staging-area


#3 Iron Mountain Trail

Poway, California

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.


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!


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!


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 enjoy finding less trafficked trails, and considering we live in Sacramento, CA we are just a short distance from some amazing locations as well. If you are looking for some awesome hikes in California that are not on this list, I recommend you check out a hike we did in Mt.Shasta! You can read about it here.



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Welcome to the Brittsbellavita Blog, a California based travel and adventure community geared towards inspiring others to find their "Bella Vita." I am a Licensed Drone Pilot and Content Creator with a passion for exploring the outdoors, finding hidden gems, and getting off the beaten path. I live in Northern California, and love showcasing the Golden State, West Coast, and beyond!

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