California Hiking Trails – Top Hikes in the Wine Country

California Hiking TrailsCalifornia hiking trails are some of the best hikes you’ll find anywhere. Discover the top California hikes. Get detailed information on nature hikes throughout California. Access hiking trail maps, tips, and directions.

California is a large state with diverse geographic opportunities to enjoy. Enjoy hiking along the coastline with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy breathtaking mountain views hiking through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Hike through dense redwood forests or beautiful desert scenery. California has so much to offer. Plan an outdoor getaway soon!


Northern California Hiking Trails


redwood forest California
Armstrong Woods State Natural Reserve

Coastal redwoods are the tallest living thing on the Earth. This state reserve is the place to visit and enjoy these amazing trees. Experience the amazing serenity and beauty of this redwood forest. The tallest tree in this redwood grove is 310 feet high.

Hiking trails at Armstrong Woods range from easy to strenuous. This park is located in Guerneville. Hikes range from one to nine miles in length. This is the heart of the Russian River Wine Region. This region produces an abundance of outstanding Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Explore the nearby wineries of the Russian River Valley


Bothe Napa Valley State Park
Bothe Napa Valley State Park
Discover a serene redwood forest. It’s located just off the highway near the city of Calistoga, the most northern part of Napa Valley. There are 10 miles of hikes available to hikers, equestrians, and bicyclists.

The most popular hike takes you to the top. Hikers are rewarded with scenic vistas of the Napa Valley and surrounding hills.
While in the area, take time to visit historic Calistoga. Calistoga is known for being the most laid-back area of the Napa Valley. Most of the wineries are small, family owned wineries. Visitors also head to Calistoga to enjoy the hot mineral springs and the very popular mud baths.

Learn About Calistoga Wineries


CavernsCaverns in the Sierra Foothills
Discover the underground world of limestone caverns in the Sierra Foothills. You can explore the caverns on a guided walking tour. Some of the caverns have trails that let you hike outdoors in the surrounding area. If you’re really adventurous, you might want to rappel down into the cave.

Grapes were planted in the Sierra Foothills during the 1800s by Europeans who immigrated to California looking for gold. The flagship wine produced in this region is Zinfandel. Zinfandels from this regions are recognized as being full-bodied, bold wines. You will also find outstanding Sauvignon Blanc, Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, Ports, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Primitive.

Discover the Wineries of the Sierra Foothills


Half Dome - Yosemite National Park

Hike Half Dome – Yosemite National Park
You’ll find many hikes at Yosemite National Parks from easy to strenuous. The ultimate Yosemite hike is the iconic hike to the top of Half Dome. I’ve done this hike numerous times. Read my tips and advice on planning for this exciting hike.

Yosemite National Park is a truly awesome place. This is the reason that visitors from around the globe visit this park every year. It’s definitely worth exploring. Yosemite gets my vote for the most beautiful place in California!

Wineries are located in nearby Mariposa and Tuolumne Counties. In fact, before Prohibition more wine was produced in this area than in the Napa Valley. Wine production died off but is experiencing a rebirth in recent years. Wineries are small, family owned businesses.

Visit Wineries Near Yosemite National Park


John Muir WoodsJohn Muir Woods – Marin County
Cross the Golden Gate Bridge and drive into Marin County to enjoy a day of hiking at John Muir Woods. An amazing California Redwoods Forest is just a short drive from San Francisco. Pick up a trail map at the Visitor’s Center.Enjoy a variety of hikes beginning with a short half mile loop that begins as you enter the park.

Marin County is just north of San Francisco and borders Sonoma County on the north. They have some unique small wineries that are family owned and operated. Located in a cool climate, they primarily produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Experience Marin County Wineries


Van Damme State Park

Van Damme State Park – Mendocino
Find peace and serenity at Van Damme State Park near Mendocino. Hike or bike through a fern covered canyon along Little River Creek. A beautiful hike any season of the year. An easy hike on a paved trail! There are 10 miles of trails in this state park.

Mendocino is famous for its unspoiled beauty, secluded beaches, breathtaking views, and fabulous award winning wines. This is one of the leading wine regions to organically produce wines. They have many award winning wines which and are mostly known for their top quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Explore Mendocino County Wineries


Central California Hiking Trails


Point Lobos

Point Lobos State Reserve
You’ll love the dramatic ocean views at Point Lobos State Reserve near Monterey. There are a variety of hikes. They even have a few trails that are wheelchair accessible. You might spot a whale or two.

Point Lobos is home to many animals including sea lions, sea otters, seals, and a variety of birds. A spectacular place to hike!

More than 40 different varietals of wine are produced in Monterey County. You’ll find many world class wines just waiting to be enjoyed!

Learn About Monterey County Wineries


Garland Ranch

Garland Ranch Regional Park
Garland Ranch is located in the scenic Carmel Valley. It’s a dog friendly park. There are areas that allow dogs to roam off-leash.

You’ll find lots of hiking trails to choose from for beginners to experienced hikers. Gorgeous scenery!

A major attraction in the area that you should visit if you can is The Monterey Bay Aquarium They have a variety of fascinating exhibits that are worth a visit.


Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Hike through a redwood forest, along a creek, past lush waterfalls, and on sunny ridge tops with fabulous views. You’ll find just the hike for you at Big Basin. This was California’s first state park.

Big Basin State Park was established in 1902. This park is well known for having some of the best California hiking trails. The park is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, home also to a number of award winning wineries. This is the region to taste fabulous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Discover San Cruz County Wineries


Bishop's Peak

Bishop’s Peak
Bishop’s Peak is a popular hike in San Luis Obispo. This 4 mile round-trip hike to the peak offers a panoramic view that includes Morro Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Cal Poly, and the surrounding hills.

The Bishop Peak’s hike takes approximately 2 hours to do this hike. Hike in the morning and head to the beach or a nearby winery in the afternoon. Check Out the Top 15 Things to Do in San Luis Obispo.


Morro Bay State ParkBlack Hill Trail at Morro Bay State Park
Black Hill Trail is a 3 mile round-trip hike located in Morro Bay State Park. Park in the marina parking lot across from the campground. The hike begins in the campground.
It’s an easy hike with an elevation gain of 600 feet. The hike can be done in approximately 2 hours. It’s often foggy during the summer months. On clear days the view at the summit is stunning.

San Luis Obispo is famous for its delicious Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. However, you will find other high quality wines produced here such as Syrah, Sparkling Wines, Port, Grenache, Merlot, Roussanne, and Viognier.

Visit the Wineries of San Luis Obispo County


Nojoqui FallsNojoqui Falls – near Solvang
This is an easy hike (.6 miles roundtrip) for all ages. Located just 1 and a half miles off of Highway 101, it would be a perfect break for travelers driving along 101.

It’s best to do this hike in the winter or early spring when the water will be at full flow. However, this picture was taken mid-summer and it’s still pretty even in the summer. One of the shorter California hiking trails!

Santa Barbara is best known for its top quality Chardonnay, Syrah, and Pinot Noir. However, many other varietals are produced here. You will find excellent wines of every varietal as you tour Santa Barbara wineries.

Learn About Santa Barbara Wineries


Southern California Hiking Trails


Torrey Pines Ocean View
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Explore eight miles of hiking trails at Torrey Pines in the La Jolla area of San Diego. This coastal park has 2000 acres of stunning scenery. Highlights include rare Torrey Pine trees, miles of gorgeous beaches, and a lagoon that is a habitat for migrating seabirds.

There are more than 60 wineries in San Diego. Some are urban wineries with tasting rooms in the city of San Diego. There are numerous wineries located away from the city either in the eastern or northern sections of the county.

Discover San Diego Wineries


Cedar Falls - San Diego Hike
Hike to Cedar Creek Falls in San Diego
Cedar Creek Falls is a scenic hike through the hills of Eastern San Diego. The falls cascade into a pool below. It’s a blast to swim in the pool beneath the falls. The 80 foot high Cedar Creek Falls is located southwest of Julian.

Spring is the best time for this hike. Wild flowers will be blooming. The falls do dry up in the summer and the extreme heat can be dangerous during those hot summer months. If you are spending some time in the area, Check out the Top 25 Things to do in San Diego.


Iron Mountain Trailhead in Poway near San Diego, California
Hike Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain is a six mile roundtrip hike that takes you to the top of Iron Mountain. On a clear day you can see all of San Diego. There’s even a magnified viewer that zooms in on the sights. It’s fun to point out the landmarks you can recognize.

Iron Mountain is located on Highway 67 near Poway in east San Diego County. The hike usually takes two to three hours, but depends on your pace and how long you linger at the top to enjoy the stunning view.


If you have hiked any of these California hiking trails, please leave a comment below to tell us about your experiences.


Hike Iron Mountain – Fun Hiking in San Diego

Hike Iron MountainHike Iron Mountain. It is a great place to hike in San Diego. Enjoy panoramic 360 degree views of San Diego from the mountain summit which sits almost 2,700 feet above sea level. You will be able see El Capitan Reservoir from the top of this mountain as well as other San Diego landmarks. It’s a spectacular view!

This hike is approximately 6 miles round-trip. Plan for a moderate hike with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet. The round trip hike typically takes between 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 hours. It really depends on how much time you want to spend relaxing and enjoying the views along the way.

Iron Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the San Diego area. It is easy to access and it’s not too difficult. But, it’s long enough that you feel like you have been on a hike.

Iron Mountain San Diego HikePlan this hike for Winter, Spring, or Fall. It just gets too hot during the summer months. You pass through rows of trees to begin this hike up to top of the mountain. After that, you won’t find any shade.

The trail is definitely rocky in spots. You will need hiking shoes. When you reach a fork in the trail, go to the left for a view of Ramona and to the right for a view of Poway and San Diego. On clear days you can see all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Enjoy a variety of wild life and fields of boulders along the way. There are a few tables at the top. Bring a picnic if you choose. Be sure to sign the journal at the top, which is stored in a mailbox. There’s also a viewfinder that is free to use. On a clear day you can see all of San Diego.

Hiking CoupleThis trail is well marked. There will be other people along the trail; even during the week. So, if you are seeking a solitary hike, this may not be the hike for you. If you don’t mind meeting fellow hikers along the way, this is a fun trail with great views.

Go early and you’ll probably be able to park in the small lot. Otherwise park on Hwy. 67. Weekends can be crowded. Apply sunscreen before you start and bring plenty of water and a few snacks.

Directions to Hike Iron Mountain:

Take I-15 North to Scripps Poway Parkway. Exit and turn right. Continue on Scripps Poway Parkway for approximately 9 miles. Turn left onto CA 67. Continue on CA 67 for approximately 2 miles. You will find the trailhead on CA 67 just south of Poway Road. It will be on the east side of the street.


Have you had a chance to hike Iron Mountain? If you have, please tell us about your experience in the comment section below.


Go Wine Tasting in San Diego

Orfilia Vineyards EscondidoThere are over 60 wineries in and around San Diego. Find great wineries in San Diego, Ramona, Escondido, Fallbrook, Carlsbad, Oceanside, and Julian. Learn everything you need to know about San Diego Wineries by Clicking Here.


Cedar Creek Falls – Swim Beneath the Waterfall in San Diego

Cedar Creek Falls - Hike to a WaterfallMany people don’t know that there is a waterfall in San Diego. Cedar Creek Falls is a scenic hike through the hills of Eastern San Diego. Be rewarded with waterfalls cascading into a pool below. Swim in the pool beneath the falls. The 80 foot high Cedar Creek Falls is located southwest of Julian.

This is a beautiful hike. Cedar Creek is a tributary of the San Diego River. There are a number of small falls in the area with Cedar Falls being the largest. Black oak, cedar, and cottonwood trees are common in the area. Bird watchers can spot local birds.


Watch a Short Video of Cedar Creek Falls – Just Click on the Arrow to Begin



Cedar Falls near JulianThe best time to hike to Cedar Falls is in the spring when the falls will be at their peak and wildflowers are blooming. There is a swimming hole at the bottom of the falls where you can enjoy a swim. By summer the falls have dried up.

This can be a beautiful hike. Cedar Creek is a tributary of the San Diego River. There are a number of small falls in the area with Cedar Falls being the largest. Black oak, cedar, and cottonwood trees are common in the area. Bird watchers can spot local birds.

Cedar Creek Falls San DiegoThis hike is moderate to strenuous. It is not recommended for beginning hikers. There is no shade on the hike; so come prepared. You will need to get an Adventure Pass parking permit from the U.S. Forest Service because this hike is on National forest land. Leave the pass on the dash of your car. How to Obtain a Pass

Summer Warning The San Vicente Fire Station has issued a warning that it is dangerous to hike Cedar Falls during the summer. Call the fire station if you are thinking about hiking this trail during the summer months.
(760) 789-0191.

Cedar Creek Falls SignPrecautions: You do need to be in good shape for this trip. The hike to Cedar Creek Falls is 6 miles roundtrip and takes approximately 4 to 6 hours to complete. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and bring plenty of water.

A gallon of water per person is recommended during warm weather. If you bring a dog, be sure to bring water for the dog as well. The trip to the falls is downhill, which means the return trip is uphill. It is dangerous to climb on the rocks around the falls. Jumping or diving into the pools is prohibited.

Directions From the Town of Julian
Drive two miles west on Hwys. 78/79. Turn left on Pine Hills Road. Continue 1.5 miles. Bear right onto Eagle Peak Road. Continue 1.4 miles. Bear right to stay on Eagle Peak Road. Continue another 9 miles to the signed trailhead for the California Riding and Hiking Trail. This last 9 miles will be partly paved and partly dirt road. The trailhead is at the end of the road with a sign that says “Saddleback Trail”.

Directions From San Diego
Take I-15 North. Exit at Scripps Poway Parkway/Mercy Rd. Turn right onto Scripps Poway Parkway. Turn left onto SR-67. Keep straight onto SR 78 (Main Street). About 1 1/2 to 2 miles before reaching Julian, turn right onto Eagle Peak Road. Continue 1.5 miles. Bear right to stay on Eagle Peak Road. Continue another 9 miles to the signed trailhead for the California Riding and Hiking Trail. This last 9 miles will be partly paved and partly dirt road. The trailhead is at the end of the road with a sign that says “Saddleback Trail”.


Have you hiked to Cedar Creek Falls? If you have, please take a minute to tell us about your hike. There’s a comment section below.


Things to Do in San Diego

Windansea Beach San Diego
If you live in San Diego or will be planning a visit soon, be sure to check out the Top 24 Things to Do in San Diego. It’s time for fun in sunny San Diego!


Hike Bishops Peak – Panoramic Hike in San Luis Obispo

Calling all hikers and rock climbers!

Bishops Peak - San Luis ObispoBishops Peak is a popular reserve in San Luis Obispo County. Treat yourself to a panoramic view from this rocky peak. It’s the highest peak (1546 feet) in a chain of nine volcanic buttes called the Nine Sisters. The famous rock at Morro Bay is one of the buttes in this chain. It was named long ago by the padres at Mission San Luis Obispo because of the three sharp points on its summit.

Hikers are rewarded with a spectacular view that includes Morro Bay, the Pacific Ocean, Cal Poly, and surrounding hills. It’s a 4 mile round-trip hike. The hike up takes approximately one to one and a half hours while the hike down can be done in about 45 minutes. Allow time to sit and enjoy the view, enjoy a snack, and take some pictures with your camera.

View from Bishop's PeakI did this hike during the morning. Next time I think I’ll bring a flashlight and time it so I can watch the sunset from the top. The rocky peak at the top of this hike would also be a fabulous place to watch the sunrise.

I recommend this as a short day hike. If you’re spending time in San Luis Obispo, it’s a great way to get out, enjoy the outdoors, and get some exercise.

Tips: Go during the week to avoid crowds. Early morning hours are also not as busy. Watch out for the poison oak that is located throughout the area.


Bishops Peak Contact Information:

San Luis Obispo County Parks Department
Telephone: (805) 781-5930

Hiker on trailDirections from Hwy. 1
Within the city of San Luis Obispo, Highway 1 is also called Santa Rosa Street. From Santa Rosa Street turn east on E. Foothill Blvd. Turn right at Patricia. Turn left on Highland Drive. You will pass Bishop Peak Elementary School on the left. Continue on Highland until it ends. You’ll see a trail head sign on the left. Park on the street and begin your hike!


Ready for Another Hike?

Hike Black HillIf you’ve hiked to Bishop’s Peak, you’ve hiked to the tallest of the nine peaks in the series called the Nine Sisters. Why not hike to another? Hike to Black Hill, which is another of these peaks. Black Hill is a three mile round-trip hike. The Black Hill Trail begins in the campground at Morro Bay State Park. This state park is not far away. While visiting Morro Bay State Park, also consider kayaking, golfing, or even camping.


Raise a Glass

SLO brewingThe Central Coast of California, and especially San Luis Obispo, has a number of brewmasters who are producing high quality brews. If you enjoy a good beer, be sure to visit a few of the fabulous breweries located in the area. Many are also restaurants and serve food as well. Some even have live entertainment. Click Here to learn more about San Luis Obispo breweries.


Women Wine Tasting in VineyardSan Luis Obispo is also known for its world class wineries. This area makes some of the world’s best Chardonnays and Pinot Noir. However, you will find fabulous other wines being produced here as well. There are many great wineries with tasting rooms to explore. Click Here to learn about the best San Luis Obispo Wineries to Visit.


If you have hiked to the top of Bishops Peak, please leave a comment below telling us about your experience.


Presidio Park San Diego – Discover This Gorgeous Urban Park

PresidioParkFlowersMedPresidio Park San Diegois a gorgeous park with expansive green lawns and lush landscaping including tall trees, grassy hillsides, palm covered canyons, and flowering plants. You can enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, Mission Bay, and Mission Valley from this hillside park.

Presidio Park is the site of the first Spanish Mission and fort built in California founded in 1769. The mission was later moved a few miles away and the fort itself is no longer standing. Presidio Park San Diego is a National Historic Landmark.

Father Serra Museum San DiegoThe Junipero Serra Museum is housed in a mission style building within the park which was built in 1929 to commemorate the site where Father Junipero Serro and Captain de Portola established the first mission in California. This museum displays artifacts of Native American, Spanish, Mexican, and Early American life. It’s the perfect place to learn about the history of California.

The 40 acres of park space includes 2 miles of gorgeous hiking trails, picnic areas, a statue of Father Serra, and the museum. There are a number of sites within the park that are popular for small weddings and other ceremonies. Reservations can be made through the City of San Diego.

Inspiration Point - Presidio Park San Diego
Inspiration Point and Palm Canyon are my favorite are two of the most private portions of the park. Access both areas by parking in the small lot on Taylor Street. Discover grassy alcoves nestled into the hillside. Spread a blanket in a nice shady area or use one of the picnic tables in the area.

Padre Cross - Presidio Park

The Arbor is an grass area lined with Corinthian columns and a semi-covered walkway. The Padre Cross was built in 1913 by the Order of Panama using tiles from the Presidio ruins.

This urban park is located in central San Diego near the intersection of Interstate 5 and Highway 8. It is adjacent to Old Town State Historic Park. Hotels near Presidio Park include Hilton Garden Inn Old Town and Best Western Hacienda Hotel Old Town. This is one of the least crowded parks in the city. Visit during the week you to enjoy some tranquil time outdoors.

This Presidio Park San Diego is definitely worth a visit. The quiet beauty of park fills you with a feeling of peace and makes the ideal place for a picnic or even just a stroll through the park.


Contact Information


Presidio Park
Address: 2811 Jackson St., San Diego, CA 92110
Telephone: (619) 692-4918
The park is open from dawn until 11 PM. Parking lots are free.
The museum is open weekends from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. During the summer months it is also open on Mondays. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

Directions:
Take Interstate 8 to the Taylor Street exit. Head west on Taylor Street and turn left onto Presidio Drive. Follow Presidio Drive up the hill to the park. There will be a number of small parking lots; including one right next to the museum.

Map of Presidio Park


Have you visited Presidio Park San Diego? If you have, please take a moment to leave a comment below.