These Are the Five Best Hikes in Northern California

Pull up your bootstraps. Summer's waiting.

By Diane Rommel

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01 August 2016

When you think about it, we're lucky.

We may wear jackets in July — but summer doesn't start till September. (At least that's what we're telling ourselves.) 

That means we've still got about three months to play outside. So take a hike.

Truth is, we have about 500 great hikes. At least 100 world-class. Probably 50 that'd get an above-average number of likes on Instagram.

But these are our five favorites, selected for their wide-ranging appeal. Your (trail) mileage may vary. 

Alamere Falls (and a few more), Point Reyes
We just named the trail out to Tomales Point the best in Point Reyes. We live and die by the Bear Valley Trail — and indeed, if you're looking for a superlative hiking experience — you gotta go with one of these two. But we love, as well, the Earthquake Trail. It's a half-mile, but it reminds you what an active seismic zone this is. And OK, if you have time to get out to Alamere Falls, your life will be better for it. 


Image via Flickr

Rubicon Trail, Lake Tahoe
This was our first Tahoe trail. It remains the most spectacular, hugging the land high above this ridiculously gorgeous lake. 

Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park
If your guest really wants a unique experience, this is the pick. Expect 2000 feet of elevation gain and views for miles — plus the singular experience of sulphurous hotspots dotting the mystical, magical surrounds. 


Image via Flickr

Dipsea Trail, Muir Woods
We like to begin this trail not at its proper beginning but at Muir Woods, which sets you up for the near-immediate summit of Cardiac Hill. From there on, it's a breeze. And an ocean. And, if you're lucky, some wildflowers. 

Fallen Leaf Lake, Squaw Valley
It's an easy one for those hiking with kids, tired dogs, or non-hikers, with stellar rewards. 

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