Collected by Bryan Kitch, AFAR Contributor
California has such a tremendous range of climates, ecosystems, and natural phenomena -- there is always something new to discover. Whether hiking, cycling, trail running or enjoying the coastline, you'll never be bored here.
24898 Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Burney, CA 96013, USA
only 4 hours up north of san francisco is Burney Falls State Park. The 129 ft falls is a beautiful Oasis set among pristine forest area. There are campgrounds not far from the falls and you can catch Rainbow Trout in the picturesque river..... The...
1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
Just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge is Muir Woods National Monument, a 554-acre park; old-growth coast redwoods, the tallest trees in the world, cover 295 of those acres. Peaceful and lush, the forest is ideal for simply communing with...
Mt. Whitney, California, USA
This was the view out of my tent opening as I went to bed early to prepare for my Summit bid on the Mountaineers Trail on Mount Whitney. Without another team in sight, and with Iceberg Lake all to ourselves, this was a great way to end the day.
Furnace Creek, CA 92328, USA
hiking through mesquite dunes in death valley is an amazing communion with mother nature. One knows civilization is directly south once out in the middle if dunes, but the feeling of being completely lost is overwhelming among the high dunes and...
2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046, USA
The trek to the HOLLYWOOD sign may be the most famous L.A. hike to outsiders, but if you're looking for downtown views, celebrity sightings, and a typical L.A.-style glamour hike (not necessarily strenuous, but very fashionable), the 3.3-mile...
I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset,...
Los Angeles, CA 90068, USA
Main Beach, California 92651, USA
One of the main attractions of Laguna Beach is, well, the beach. The Main Beach lifeguard tower is probably the town's most recognizable landmark (it was built in 1929, and was originally part of a gas station located across the street). During...
32350 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265, USA
on a stretch of coastline between malibu and oxnard, i encountered a rare find: crashing waves, tide pools and rock formations reminiscent of the pacific northwest. the small, easy to overlook access to el matador beach keeps it quiet.
Mt Baldy, CA 91759, USA
Whether sunshine or snow, a day at Mt. Baldy is a thrilling adventure above the clouds. At 10,068 feet the trek to the summit along cliff-hugging trails gets your adrenaline pumping. The best route is to tackle the steep 4.5 mile climb up the Ski...
Echo Mountain, California 91001, USA
Echo Mountain has a great deal to offer, from the switchback trail, which will give you a great workout on your way up the mountain (start early to avoid the blistering afternoon sun), to the views—on a clear day you can look out over Pasadena, ...
200 Nevada Ave, Moss Beach, CA 94038, USA
At any time of day this forest feels enchanted. As you walk along, what are now, well marked paths there are phases of to this coastal journey. Depicted is the cypress forest which leads north to the tide pools and south to Three Palm, which needs...
Peralta Hacienda, Oakland, CA 94601, USA
A 15-minute drive up into the hills above Oakland's Fruitvale district, Redwood Regional Park is my go-to spot for a quick hit of real NorCal nature. An easy walk leads you along a creek beneath big, beautiful trees. The air is clean, the...
Twin Peaks, San Francisco, CA, USA
The best views of San Francisco are from the top of Twin Peaks, the two hills that are located in the geographic center of the city. Only from Twin Peaks can you get a 360-degree view of the entire city. If you are lucky, on a clear day you can...
Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA, USA
Alamo Square is home of the "Painted Ladies," eclectic musicians, and some of the most incredible views of San Fransisco. The trolleys won't take you all the way there, but cabs are easy to catch. We couldn't have chosen a better way to burn the...
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA 94130, USA
Treasure Island is still technically located in the city of San Francisco, but you probably wouldn't venture to the island unless you're making a trip over to Oakland and the east bay. I have often noticed the great views of SF from the bay...
75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA
Visit the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco for a calming escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. It's located beside the De Young and Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, and offers a variety of snacks to nibble on while enjoying...
Sierra Buttes, California 96125, USA
One of the most spectacular views in the central high Sierra (about one hour's drive north of Truckee, CA) is surprisingly accessible. This wasn't always the case. The first time I saw these lakes--near to far, Young America, Upper Sardine, Lower...
1 Muir Woods Rd, Mill Valley, CA 94941, USA
It's hard to believe that I had lived in Marin for 13 years before learning about the Tourist Club on Mt. Tam. This past weekend my friends and I hiked from downtown Mill Valley, starting on the Dipsea Trail and following it to the Sun Trail,...
Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA, USA
In Los Angeles, the cliché is that people drive one block to get a soda. But there are lots of staircases hidden in the hills of L.A. In Silver Lake, I like a two-and-a-half mile loop of stairs known as the Music Box. Parts remind me of...
16th Ave, San Francisco, CA, USA
If you’re looking for views over the city, head to Grandview Park in the Inner Sunset neighborhood. Also known as Turtle Hill, Grandview has the views of Twin Peaks but without the busloads of tourists, and also boasts one of the best climbs up to...
Balboa Park, San Diego, CA, USA
Balboa park is a landscape of arts and culture in San Diego, including museums, such as The Natural History Museum, and the Museum of Photographic Arts. The photo above is of the large koi pond outside the botanical garden house. It makes for a...
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