My Top Five Hikes in California

Hiking is good for the soul. From the marvelous views to the beneficial exercise, hiking gives you the opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. Merriam Webster defines a hike as “a long walk especially for pleasure or exercise.” The word pleasure in relation to hikes can be controversial because not everyone likes the outdoors and finds it to be a long awaited chore to reach their destination. In this article, I hope you find that maybe a hike is not so far out of reach and that it’s a great activity for everyone to participate in. The hikes are ranked from least to most difficult, so like everything in life, start off easy and go from there!

Lower Falls is located in Yosemite National Park and is 1 mile round trip. This trail is great for beginners and offers a short, easy walk that is rewarded with spectacular views of both Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls. You can also expect to be sprayed with water when standing on the bridge near the base of the waterfall. This hike is best used in spring to early summer and is a great hike for a sunny morning!

Burney Creek is located in Burney, California. It’s 2.5 miles round trip and is also of beginner difficulty. Burney Creek features a lake and is good for all skill levels. It’s known to be kid friendly, good for camping, fishing, and walking. This trail is best used from May until October and offers a beautiful waterfall that is even more stunning when seen in person.

Pincushion Peak is one of the more local trails listed here that the Central Valley offers. It’s located in Friant, California and is about 2.8 miles round trip. It’s moderately difficult due to a steep incline, but is doable for families if frequent breaks are taken. This trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding. It’s best to use this trail from March until October.

Mist Falls is located in Yosemite National Park and offers two destinations. It totals in 3 miles round trip to Vernal Fall and 7 miles round trip to Nevada Fall. It’s of medium difficulty but borders strenuous if you go all the way to the top of Nevada Fall. This hike has fabulous views scattered all along it, beginning with a bridge overlook, and ends with two spectacular waterfalls. You can expect to be sprayed with copious amounts of water from the streams of the falls, so be sure to pack a poncho if you plan to hike all the way. This trail is best used from April until June

Cloud’s Rest is located in Yosemite National Park. It’s the most strenuously difficult hike on this list because of a thousand-foot-gaining series of swift backs about a mile and a half into the hike. It offers a stunning and wide-ranging 360-degree view that stretches from Hawaii in the west to Nebraska in the east. This trail is best used from June until October.

Hiking is an amazing way to relax and rejuvenate. For me, it’s been a way to get outside, take in all the fresh air, get in some exercise, and take a break from all the stresses of everyday life. Hiking might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but know that everything in life is a challenge and the journey to the top of the mountain is just as rewarding if you stop to take it in the scenery.


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