In honor of National Take a Hike Day on November 17, we’re sharing some of our favorite hiking trails in California’s Central Valley and Southern Arizona. Luckily, you’re never too far from an outdoor excursion when you’re surrounded by such diverse landscapes!
Whether you seek a sweeping desert vista, a peaceful walk in the woods, or a rugged adventure in the High Sierra, these hiking trails are the perfect reasons to get outside.
Hiking Trails in Sacramento, CA
Venture a few miles outside of Sacramento, and you’re in the midst of some great NorCal hiking trails. Folsom Lake State Recreation Area is a popular spot for outdoorsy activities on water and land and has several hiking trails that range from easy to challenging.
With a total ascent of 660 feet, Brown’s Ravine Trail is perfect for a leisurely walk in the woods. Hike a 5.5-mile portion of the trail to Folsom Dam. At just under 2.5 miles, the Mormon Island Cove Trail is another easy, waterfront option.
For a more challenging hike, try a section of the Pioneer Express Trail. The 19-mile trail has several trailheads and weaves through oak woodlands and wetlands. The South Fork American River Trail is another challenging hike through the Sierra foothills. It also links up with the Cronan Ranch and Magnolia Ranch systems.
Best Hiking Trails Near Fresno, CA
Fresno serves as an entry point of sorts for Sierra National Forest and Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, which are overflowing with amazing hiking trails. However, you don’t have to head into the High Sierra for good hiking.
Millerton Lake State Recreation Area has several hiking trails that are a bit closer to home. The San Joaquin River Trail is a challenging 15-mile trail accessible year-round. Be sure to bring plenty of water, as the trail isn’t shaded and it can get hot, especially in summer months. You can also connect to the Wuh-ki’o Trail or the Pa’san Ridge Trail to extend your adventure.
The Blue Oak Trail is easy enough for beginners, but it has a few challenging spots that make it fun for more experienced hikers. The trail kicks off near picnic areas where you can fuel up beforehand, or rest and recharge afterward.
Bakersfield, CA, Hiking Trails
Nestled at the base of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Bakersfield is within a short drive of lots of great hiking trails. Mill Creek Trail is an easy out-and-back trail in Sequoia National Forest. The 8-mile ridgeline trail is exceptionally beautiful in the spring when wildflowers are in full bloom. The Whiskey Flat Trail is another easy out-and-back option in Sequoia National Forest.
Seeking something a little—or a lot—more challenging? Big Meadow Trail is relatively easy, save for some shorter, steep sections. Use it as a loop to connect with other trails that pass through Taylor Meadows and the Domeland Wilderness. Or, opt for the Cannell Meadow Trail. It’s a climb, but once you’re about 5 miles in, you’re rewarded with sweeping views of the Kern River Valley.
Best Hikes in Tucson, AZ
There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Tucson that suit all skill levels. North of Oro Valley, the Honeybee Canyon Loop is a smooth 22-mile trail with minimal elevation gain. The trail also offers a shorter 12-mile loop.
Located in Saguaro National Park’s Tucson Mountain District, the Wasson Peak-Hugh Norris Trail traverses two plateaus and offers gorgeous panoramic views of the desert. Aside from a few challenging sections of switchbacks, the nearly 10-mile out-and-back trail is moderate enough for beginners.
Seven Falls Out and Back Trail is a fairly easy 5-mile trail, with lots of stream crossings, gorgeous waterfalls, and pools big enough to swim in. Just be aware of flash flooding on your Seven Falls hike, as it doesn’t take long for such a beautiful waterfall trail to become dangerous, especially during monsoon season.
Be Careful Out There!
Remember to hike responsibly. Bring plenty of water and snacks, be aware of flash flooding, look out for wildlife, wear sensible shoes, and exercise caution while navigating uncertain terrain.
Preparedness is key when it comes to hiking—and your insurance coverage. Learn how you can be prepared for whatever life throws your way with affordable homeowners, renters, or auto insurance coverage with Personal Express Insurance. Get a free quote online, call 1-800-499-3612, or visit a Homegrown Pro in your neighborhood to learn more.