Hikes in Northern California
Northern California is a great area for outdoor pursuits, with evergreen forests, pristine mountain ranges, and volcanic wonders. The coastline in Northern California has limited development, dramatic waterfront, and enchanting redwood forests. Basically, this area can’t help but lure visitors into the outdoors.
The North Coast is made up of Del Norte County (which starts at the Oregon Border), followed by Humboldt County, Mendocino County, Sonoma County, and Marin County (just above San Francisco). A string of coastal California State Parks provide excellent hiking opportunities while preserving a unique slice of the American landscape.
If your goal is to set foot in a forest of ancient coastal redwoods, the best place to go, or really the only place to go, is the North Coast of California! Start by exploring Founders Grove or one of the other trails in Humboldt Redwoods State Park.
Inland from the coast lie greater mountains and valleys. Siskiyou County and Shasta County offer superb mountain hiking and camping. At 14,179 feet, Mount Shasta is the biggest mountain in this area, and the imposing volcano provides a scenic backdrop for nearby hikes (like Spring Hill and the Haystack).
Northern California Hiking
This collection of trails in Northern California lists hikes from north to south. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, GPS maps, elevation profiles, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes. Below the table is an interactive map showing the location of each hike.
|Stout Memorial Grove
This short loop explores an exceptional old growth grove of coastal redwoods in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
|Yurok Loop and Hidden Beach
This hike explores a rugged and beautiful area of California's north coast, combining Yurok Loop Trail and the Hidden Beach Section of Coastal Trail to visit beaches, forests, and ocean vistas.
|Fern Canyon Trail
This loop or out and back hike in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park explores a lush canyon with walls of ferns.
This lollipop loop hike tours the top of a volcanic dome with excellent views of Mount Shasta.
This lollipop loop hike hits a short summit near Mount Shasta with excellent views of Mount Shasta, Black Butte, and the surroundings.
|Lake Siskiyou Trail (South Shore Loop)
This short and easy lakefront loop offers great views across Lake Siskiyou toward Mount Shasta and the surrounding evergreen wilderness.
|Faery Falls and Ney Springs
This short hike travels along a creek up to an impressive 50-foot waterfall, passing the ruins of an old resort along the way.
|Heart Lake and Little Castle Lake
This hike visits lakes in a beautiful area of Shasta-Trinity National Forest, including the charming-contoured waters of Heart Lake.
|2 - 3 miles
|Castle Peak and Heart Lake
This off trail hike ventures above Heart Lake to a summit with extraordinary views of the Castle Crags and Mount Shasta.
|Crags Trail to Castle Dome
This out and back hike in Castle Crags State Park ascends through a garden of granite crags to the base of Castle Dome,
|5.6 - 6 miles
|Root Creek Trail
This out and back hike in Castle Crags State Park takes a level and easy course to a tumbling creek in a mossy forest.
|Vista Point Trail
This short hike reaches the principal viewpoint in Castle Crags State Park, which has a great perspective of granite peaks known as the Castle Crags, along with views of Mount Shasta and the surrounding wilderness.
|Hedge Creek Falls Trail
This short hike leads to a forest-wrapped waterfall, passing behind the falls to arrive at a Sacramento River Overlook.
|Bailey Cove Trail
This easy 3.1-mile loop circles a hill-covered peninsula that extends into Shasta Lake, providing both lake views and shade.
|Drury-Chaney Loop Trail
This lollipop loop provides an easy and enchanting hike through redwood trees at the park's north end.
This short loop in Humboldt Redwoods State Park wanders across a forest floor covered in sorrel, visiting giant redwoods that include the Girdled Tree, which had its bark stripped away.
|Founders Grove Nature Trail
This short loop in Humboldt Redwoods State Park explores an ancient grove honoring the founders of the Save-the-Redwoods League.
|Gould Grove Trail
This loop explores a forest of ancient redwoods adjacent to the in Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center.
This hike explores patches of redwoods surrounded by a shaded oak forest in Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park.
|1 - 1.25 miles
50 - 325 feet
|Durphy Creek Trail - Tan Oak Springs Trail Loop
This loop climbs a forest ridge before descending to Lookout Point, where you can enjoy an unimpressive view to the south over Richardson Grove Redwoods State Park.
|Laguna Point Boardwalk
This boardwalk in MacKerricher State Park provides an easy stroll with plentiful ocean views.
|Salt Point Trail
This out and back hike explores the jagged coastline at the heart of Salt Point State Park.
Camping in Northern California
This well-shaded 59-site campground has level sites on a bluff next to Shasta Lake.
|Castle Crags State Park Campground
There are 76 developed campsites within this state park that are nestled within a pine forest with access to nearby trails.
|Castle Lake Campground
This six-site campground in Castle Lake is shaded by conifers in Shasta-Trinity National Forest.