West of the Sierras

The Sierra Nevada, to me, is the gem of California, however there are lots of other great backpacking trips in California. These are great options for hikes in the shoulder season, shakedown hikes, if you have limited travel time, or to try somewhere close to home. Many (but not all!) of them will also be lower mileage trips. 

Ohlone Regional Trail

A beautiful trail with hefty elevation gain in the East Bay Area, showcasing the best of California's rolling grassy savanna, ancient oaks, and native wildflowers. This trail is a spring season "must hike." Redwood Roots trail report coming soon!

Photo by ffennema/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by ffennema/iStock / Getty Images

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes National Seashore, with its four backpacking camps, is a beautiful place for year-round backpacking with begininers or experienced hikers looking for a relaxing hike closer to home. 

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Big Sur: Vicente flats via Kirk creek trail

A strenuous 5 mile hike to a crowded campground, but views that will take your breath away! 

Black Mountain Backpacker Camp

A very short hike and a very short drive for anyone living on the Peninsula, this camp is in the Monte Bello Open Space Preserve. This campground is open year round, and only 1.5 miles from the parking lot. A great place to gain some confidence before a longer trek. 

Photo by mtilghma/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by mtilghma/iStock / Getty Images

Henry Coe State PArk

The largest state park in California offers some of the best year round backpacking in California.