Nature April 10, 2018
8 Low-Key Hikes In Northern California With Amazing Payoffs
Sometimes you’re in the mood for getting out and experiencing the great Northern California outdoors, but you’re short on time. Fortunately for us, our state is home to numerous short and easy hikes that are perfect for taking a quick adventure when the mood strikes. Not only that, but these trails boast some seriously epic views that you’ll never forget. How many of these beautiful trails have you accomplished?
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Flanagan and Chamise Peak Trail (Redding)
This 4.6 mile out and back trail is located near Redding and offers up some downright jaw-dropping views of "all things Shasta". Shasta Lake, Shasta Dam, Mt. Shasta, etc. You name it, and you'll probably spot it on this trail! The trail starts at the Flanagan Road parking lot.
2. Lake Siskiyou Trail (Mount Shasta)
This is another trail located near Mount Shasta, but this time you'll be treated to incredible views of the beautiful Lake Siskiyou. The six mile trail circles the lake, providing plenty of shade as you traverse this stunning area. The flat trail makes it feel more like a leisurely stroll, but it's sure to become one of your new favorite spots to explore.
3. Mendocino Headlands Trail (Mendocino)
As far as coastal hiking trails go, Mendocino is the place to be. The Mendocino Headlands Trail is four miles long and leads you along the rugged coastline. The views are simply magical. You'll definitely want to bring your camera for this one. The sight of the ocean water hitting up against the rocky bluffs is not to be missed.
4. Cascade Falls Trail (Tahoma)
This short trail is merely 1.4 miles long, but you'll never forget the epic payoff that it leads you to. Located on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, the trail leads you to a picturesque waterfall within Emerald Bay State Park with plenty of overlooks that provide awe-inspiring views of Tahoe, Emerald Bay, and Cascade Lake.
5. Waters Gulch Loop (Lakehead)
Located within Shasta National Forest, this 3.3 mile trail follows the gulch down to the shore of the lake before taking you towards Packers Bay. The lake views are downright awesome, and this would be the perfect hike to take on a hot day when you can cool off in the lake!
6. Burney Falls Loop (Burney)
Burney Falls is by far one of the most beloved waterfalls in the state. It's an iconic sight in Northern California that must be witnessed. Fortunately, the hike to the falls is short and sweet. It spans merely one mile with a very small elevation gain. You'll find the trail within McArthur Burney Falls Memorial State Park. Although the waterfall is a popular tourist attraction all year long, spring is truly the best time to witness the falls.
7. Historic Donner Pass Trail (Donner)
This is another iconic hike in Northern California that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The 5.5 mile loop trail takes you through several segments of abandoned train tunnels, boasting breathtaking views of Donner Lake in the distance.
8. Gertrude Ord Trail (San Anselmo)
Located in Marin County, the Gertrude Ord Trail is the perfect way to experience the gorgeous Phoenix Lake. This is a popular trail, and you'll often find it populated with other hikers, bikers, and trail runners. Parking is limited so be sure to get there early (early morning is best). The trail offers sublime peace and quiet in a beautiful setting.
What easy hikes would you add to this list? Check out our list of
11 Of The Best Northern California Hikes Under 2 Miles for more simple and fast hikes.