Explore the most popular views trails in California with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great easy hike with beautiful scenery!

backpacking
10 hours ago

Great place to backpack for the first time. Definitely worth the effort to make it up to a beautiful lake. Our trail was about 8 miles there and 8 miles back. The lake was clear enough for you to see the bottom and was pure enough for you to even drink (we filtered our water.) Must come with family and friends and bring a chair for star gazing. We decided to take the water taxi back to enjoy the lake and view. It was 14 dollars and person and you can either pay with cash or card when you get back to the main dock.

hiking
10 hours ago

Started this hike at 6:30a on a Monday - parking lot was essentially empty besides a few cars from who we guessed were campers. Took us around 4.5 hours to summit and an equal amount of time to descend (this is definitely on the slow side relative to other hikers). 3L of water per person turned out to be a good amount.

The incline of the hike is pretty forgiving with a lot of relatively flat ground to cover in the first half of the hike. I think the main difficulty is the terrain at mile 2.5; lots of medium sized rocks you'll have to step carefully on. Besides that, main notes are that it can actually get a bit chilly at times in the morning so consider bringing a long sleeve if you start early, and plenty of sunscreen regardless.

hiking
11 hours ago

The trail immediately gets pretty steep, but it really isn't all that difficult. The final climb at the end once you leave the trees can get a little bit sketchy. You're climbing up the face of the dome, and all you have to rely on is your shoes gripping to the granite. So be careful, take it slow, and enjoy the amazing views from the top.

hiking
11 hours ago

End of August or early September .... great time to observe ELK during rutting season. Get to the trailhead early ... parking lot fills quickly. And being early on the trail is best for seeing ELK.

hiking
12 hours ago

Hard to believe this was just under 5 miles. It's very steep at the end, so you really just need to take your time. But this hike really has everything. It's beautiful to walk through the forest and see some lakes, beautiful wildflowers, and occasional deer. Then it gets fun when you scramble across some avalanche slides and then head up for what seems like an endless amount of time. Eventually, you get to the final summit which is mostly just climbing on a lot of big rocks, every one of which will shift, slide, or roll as you step on it, so WATCH YOUR FOOTING. The trail, as it almost always is, is a little harder to find on the way up, but if you just look for the big cairns and generally head up, you'll get there no problem. Views from the top are amazing with snow-capped mountains throughout the park still in August.

mountain biking
12 hours ago

it is called raptor ridge not raptor hill, an awesome ride, especially if you make it to the top, great views, I usually do night rides due to cooler conditions, but only recommend for experienced riders.

hiking
12 hours ago

I enjoyed hiking Hoffman. I've been to May Lake before but hadn't been all the way to the top. After May Lake, the trail gets a lot harder to follow, but that isn't super important because it's all just climbing over rocks and stepping through skree. Just make sure you eventually end up going to the left of the two knobs as you get above the trees and you'll be fine. But don't go too far left because that basin can be much steeper than it looks. I guided a senior hiking group (age 55+) on the trail and some questioned their stamina, but we had lunch and took it slow and they were fine. So, really, anyone that wants to do this can do it!

Beautiful views, and I saw at least 5 different bird species, but I don't appreciate how brief and crowded the hike is. Getting to the observatory at the top is a treat, though

I went on this trail on 8/18/18 for my first time alone for some me time and meditation. This trail does NOT disappoint. It's a real butt buster, and the most exciting part to me was how close to the edge some parts were! I can't wait to go back to this trail!

Loved it, took my 8 year old brother with me. Definitely less crowded.

hiking
13 hours ago

A nice shorter trail though getting to it adds a few miles to the hike. There were a lot of California thistles that I missed their bloom by probably a few weeks, would have made it much prettier. The hike to the loop isn't too exciting but once at the loop it quickly turns into a nice redwood grove. Going left at the loop gives a gradual climb at the end and gets you right into the redwoods. Going right will give you a steep climb at the end.

I've read some complain about ticks, i didn't get any until I made a wrong turn on the return and tried to take a shortcut.

hiking
14 hours ago

Nice hike overall..
the pond is a plus..I can appreciate this trail for years to come..eazy does it..

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trail running
17 hours ago

quick lil workout. I wish it had less people though

1st hike ever! Spent a few days in San Diego which we usually do once a year, wanted to do something different with my wife and two daughters 6/3. Drove to the South Beach parking lot from Hotel Circle (15-20 min) paid $15 for parking on a Monday and headed up the hill to get to the trails, that was the hardest part, my 3 year old was already on my shoulders and my 6 year old was already starting to complain. Finally got to the trail and they were more enthused. 6 year old did everything herself, with a helping hand on some steeper steps and sandy rock towards the bottom. They loved the end result of the ocean being right there at the last staircase. She now wants to do a hike again. I would recommend 5+ for newbies, yes younger can do it, but expect them to want to be carried for a bit.

How much water should I carry? For anyone having gone recently, I have a water filter, are there streams, etc to get water along the way (and therefore carry less)? I’m planning on going 8/26

on Half Dome Trail

19 hours ago

The view at the top of half dome and the feeling of accomplishment is worth every bit of sweat (and fear). Our group began from the Trailhead parking lot a little before midnight and reached the top of subdome around 5am, waited until it got a bit brighter and got to the top of half dome before 6am to watch the sunrise. Hiking up at night was great to avoid the heat and crowds. I probably sweat more on the way down in the sun than I did on the way up in the dark. We took the Mist Trail up (which is currently completely dry) and JMT down to save our knees. For me, the cables (especially going down) was quite terrifying. We were the first group on the cables so we thought it'd be best to leave large gaps between everyone while climbing. There were parts on the way down where I slid from plank to plank (even with very grippy hiking boots). I feel like if we had been there during a busier part of day, it may have been less scary with smaller distances between people and being forced to go much slower. We stayed at the top for almost an hour and got back to the car around noon. On the way down, we did encounter a ranger who was on her way up to subdome and asked to see our permit.

The views are spectacular. It’s not an easy hike but worth it. Start early at 6am if you want to beat the crowd. I was just there on Saturday and the weather was perfect so made the hike a lot easier than last September 2017. Will definitely go back again!

hiking
20 hours ago

This trail doesn’t have more Rattlesnakes than any other trial in Santa Barbara (it’s just a name). The East fork is overgrown and not worth risking poison oak but the main trail is in great condition and easy to follow. Surprised to see and hear water in the creek even in late August.

This trail was definitely not easy, not the hardest one but I definitely had to stop to take a break. The lakes are beautiful and totally worth it!

hiking
21 hours ago

I loved this hike! Beautiful views and great shade. I came back on Middle Ridge Rd. instead of coming back on Hollow Tree Trail and really enjoyed it.

hiking
21 hours ago

Great route with unparalleled views. Fun climbs.

Incredibly crowded route. Many unprepared and clueless people not following standard etiquette. You won’t find solitude here.

Very very long day hike. If you do this you will be the only one out there who didn’t camp out there.

I came in via bayview for the softer terrain and to avoid the tourist madness. This adds a few miles. I skipped the last loop and turned back after schmidell lake. With a nice lunch at middle Velma and one 10 minute rest stop it took me 9 hours total. I’m a fit middle aged guy. Plan accordingly.

Whoever rated this moderate must have a strange sense of humor, minus one star for that. It is NOT moderate.

First time here and absolutely fell in love with it ... awesome views and inspiring reads!!!! I hung out til it was pitch black..

hiking
21 hours ago

This hike is very pretty. I only made it to First Lake because it started to rain pretty heavily at that point and I was only wearing shorts and a tank top. Definitely be sure to bring a sweater (even if the weather is hot when you start the hike). Also, I was told the hike was only 3.8 miles to first lake... which definitely made me wonder if it was the altitude alone that made the hike seem so long. I gave this trail a 4 star rating because horses are allowed on the trail and you can pay $100 to ride a horse to third Lake. The path is narrow at some points which makes it difficult to avoid horse droppings in some locations (and the mess/smell the droppings made after being reconstituted by the rain was not entirely pleasant).
I’d definitely recommend bringing extra sunscreen (and wearing a hat and/or long sleeves). I’m very fair skinned and the first 2.5 miles or so don’t have much shade.

Great area, pretty funny essentially walking around a ski resort I’ve been to a dozen times in the winter. We continued along the pct and climbed granite chief which is a pretty casual peak to bag. Like others have said, download the all trails trail map or use your gps early on to save yourself some backpedaling. After a mile or so everything is pretty well defined and the trail is tough to lose but at the beginning it seems to go in a half dozen different unmarked directions!

hiking
21 hours ago

reminded me of biblical depiction of Hell. much smoke from the nearby forest fires. piles of loose jagged rocks jumbled with pumice, obsidian and various other. fascinating, but not fun today

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