Are you interested in hidden hikes in California?
Out of all the trails in California, there are some beautiful hidden hikes that not everyone knows about.
Updated 2/9/2020 – When you have the chance to take some hikes in California, you have to take the time to go on some of these walks, because they take you through plenty of gorgeous places.
What makes the perfect hike for you?
Some of these hikes in California will go through beaches, mountains, valleys, or more.
All of the hikes in California can be beautiful, but only some are popular and filled with tourists.
If you know how to plan your trip properly, you can go on some of the hidden hikes in California that are a little bit off the beaten path.
This way, you will get to see plenty of gorgeous scenes.
And if you enjoy taking pictures of wildlife, you can put your DSLR camera to use!
10 Best Hidden Hikes in California
Table of Contents
1. Broken Hill
Near San Diego, try to visit the Torrey Pines State Reserve and climb up Broken Hill.
Many people know about the Torrey Pines State Reserve, but Broken Hill is not yet one of the most popular hikes in California, and that is good news for you.
This pine tree reserve is actually where one of the rarest pine trees in North America grows, which is incredible if you stop to think about it.
This tree, called the pinus torreyana in its scientific name, only grows within this park and on a few of the Channel Islands, which you can find off the California Coast.
Most people have never seen this type of pine tree in real life, so you should absolutely make these hikes in California part of your bucket list.
The Broken Hill trail is only a few miles, so it is easy to accomplish in a day.
There are lovely views of beaches in California on this hike, and you can see plenty of the original flora and fauna of old California in this park.
When you hike up the trail, you can take either the North or the South loop, which connect at the midpoint.
No matter which of the two trails you attempt, you will be able to see a beautiful view when the loops connect at the midpoint.
On some days you can see Mount San Jacinto, and on other days you can see the Pacific Ocean and all of the Torrey Pines.
Photo credit: flickr/steveskinner
2. Goat Canyon Trestle
Within the Anza Borrego state park, you can go on some hikes in California and discover the largest freestanding railroad trestle.
This trestle is in one of the remote corners of the park, so it will take an entire day to get there.
The benefit of this hike is that few people know about it, so you can explore without lots of tourists around you.
The railroad trestle is great for photo ops.
Photo credit: dirttreaders.com
3. Smugglers Cove
Plenty of people think about California and hikes in California that take place on beaches along the coast.
That might be a nice way to spend a day, but in fact there are several other places where you can enjoy lovely walks along the beach.
Some of the best hikes in California can be found on the Channel Islands, which are a few miles off of the shore in California.
Five of these eight islands make up a state park, while the other three are generally open to the public.
The best beach hike is one that you can find on Santa Barbara Island, but you will need to get a boat from Ventura or Oxnard to reach Smugglers Cove.
The island got its name hundreds of years ago, but it has not become a popular place to visit yet.
The trail itself is about eight miles long, which is usually doable in a day for most people in moderately good shape.
People who take the trail say that they do not even feel like they are in the United States once they go on this hike, just because of how beautiful and different the scenery is.
The trail starts off on a grassy plateau, which gives hikers a lovely view of the Pacific Ocean along the shore.
Next the trail curves and allows you to see the other islands.
After that, the trail runs through a beautiful untouched olive grove and ends with a lovely beach at the end of the loop.
Photo credit: flickr/48051950@N00
4. Lost Palms Oasis
People everywhere know about Joshua Tree National Park because of its fabulous rock climbing opportunities, but it also presents some of the best hikes in California.
The Lost Palms Oasis hike has gorgeous views of some of the most remote places in the park, and it seems like an otherworldly place.
Some hikers can take the one mile loop, while others can go for the full seven mile adventure and see even more of the scenery.
Photo credit: flickr/35592860@N08
5. Moro Rock
Within the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.
You can see plenty of giant sequoias.
These trees are the largest trees found on the entire planet, and you can see many of them within this national park.
If you want to avoid all of the tourists, you should try out the Moro Rock trail.
It only takes about four miles to get to the end, but during this loop you will see some of the most beautiful sequoia trees in the entire park.
Photo credit: flickr/121776594@N07
6. Golden Canyon
Everyone thinks of Death Valley National Park and assumes that it is a desolate and lifeless place.
But that is not necessarily true.
If you take a hike to Golden Canyon, you will get a chance to see why this national park is worth preserving.
The canyon starts off narrow and then expands to show beautiful views of the surrounding area, which hikers would not get to see otherwise.
Make sure to add it to your list of hikes in California.
Photo credit: flickr/ladigue_99
7. Meysan Lakes
Go to the John Muir Wilderness in Inyo National Forest, and make sure to hike the Meysan Lakes.
There are some tough stretches on this eleven mile hike, but few tourists ever come this way.
You can see plenty of the Meysan Lakes along the way, but the best part is the gorgeous view of Mount Whitney at the end.
It will be challenging to complete the entire roundtrip hike without getting out of breath, but it is worth the trip.
Photo credit: seekalittlesolace.blogspot.com
8. Mist Trail
Everyone knows about Yosemite National Park, but within it are some of the hidden hikes in California that are a little more secret.
The Mist Trail is one of the best hikes to go on within Yosemite, because you can walk along and underneath waterfalls in the park.
You will get wet along this trail, because you pass directly underneath a high-powered waterfall.
The trail itself is not that long, so it is easy to add into a long day of hiking in the area.
Photo credit: flickr/le_carabinier
9. Bumpass Hell
Inside the Lassen National Park, you can explore some of the strangest geography in California on the Bumpass Hell trail.
This hike goes past several active volcanoes, so of course you should check the news before you go and make sure that no activity is predicted.
There are bubbling mud pits and hydrothermal pools in the area, and you can see several steam geysers in the area.
This hike is a great way to see different volcanic activity.
Photo credit: flickr/rschnaible
10. Fern Canyon
Once you reach the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, you can complete your hikes in California with a trip along Fern Canyon.
This hike is a visual spectacle, because it is one of the most green and pristine canyons that you can find in the area.
People love to visit here and take pictures, because the landscape is beautiful.
The hike is only a mile or so, but you will get to see plenty of the canyon along the way.
Photo credit: flickr/adriankleinphotography