Whether you're looking for an easy Sunday stroll or a rugged mountain path to explore, California State Parks' new online guide to hiking trails will have you strapping on your boots and making tracks across the shorelines and summits that grace the Golden State.
Featuring listings published in the TrailMaster publication "The Day Hiker's Guide to California State Parks," this free resource is organized by region, so it's easy to find opportunities near your community or locate a never-before-discovered State Park to visit.
The length, elevation gain, and trailhead directions are described in detail for each trail, as well as the geology, views, and ecology you will encounter on your journey. Helpful trail maps provide an illustration of the trail in relation to park roads and other facilities.
Trail descriptions also link to general park information, where you can find weather conditions, visitor facilities, park brochures, aerial maps, park activities, and more.
More than 150 hiking trails are highlighted, including 38 for the North Coast Region, eight in the Gold Country surrounding Sacramento, and 24 in the San Francisco Bay Area. Many trails are located in parks close to our hostels, so no matter where you're staying you're bound to find a trail that will fit your interests and abilities.
More information on hiking in California can be found on California State Parks' Take a Hike website, including city walk guides for Sacramento (a great resource for folks staying at the Sacramento Hostel), and general fitness and safety information for novice hikers.
Sample hikes for hostellers
If you're staying at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel, a wealth of trails snake through the coastal terrain nearby, including Butano State Park (six miles from the hostel), the Ano Nuevo Trail (seven miles south of the hostel), and the Arroyo de los Frijoles Trail, a tide pool-studded stretch between Pebble Beach and Bean Hollow State Beach (three miles north of the hostel).
Eight miles south of the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel, Half Moon Bay State Park is home to the bike-able three-mile Coastside Trail, and two miles further east will take you to the Burleigh H. Murray Ranch State Park and a trail leading to the old barn.
In Marin County, the Johnstone Trail can be found in Tomales Bay State Park (7 miles from the Point Reyes National Seashore Hostel), and the Railroad Grade and Fern Creek Trails can be found in Mount Tamalpais State Park (23 miles south of the Point Reyes Hostel and 13 miles north of the Marin Headlands Hostel).