California is known for the seemingly never-ending sunshine and a plethora of exciting outdoor destinations just waiting to be conquered.
Hiking is an excellent way to enjoy everything that California has to offer, giving you a chance to spend some quality time outside while squeezing in a little exercise. But many who haven’t hiked before worry about how to get started. Plus, if you’ve never been to California before, you might not know which hikes are ideal for beginners.
To help you join the ranks of the California hikers, here are some tips for getting started and some ideal destinations to explore.
How to Start Hiking
While hiking seems like something you can just start doing (it is just a form of walking, after all), there are some preparations that make it easier to get started.
First, you want to make sure that you have some quality, supportive shoes. Look for options with arch and ankle support. This makes navigating uneven ground much more comfortable. Just be sure to break in your shoes before you head out on your first hike. Otherwise, a surprise blister might turn a fun trip into something less pleasant.
You also want to choose the right attire. Consider dressing in layers and focus on breathable fabrics. That way, you can adjust to shifting temperatures if you change elevation or end up blanketed by treetops.
Additionally, always bring a water bottle and at least a light snack. It’s also smart, and safer, to hike with a buddy, especially if you aren’t familiar with the trails. You can also bring along a smartphone or GPS to help you follow the path and may want to invest in a beacon if you are going to journey outside of cell service range.
Great California Hikes
Once everything is in order, it’s time to hit the trails. If you’re looking for a short hike, consider Fern Canyon. The hike allows you to weave through the twists and turns of the canyon, and even see some beautiful water crossings depending on the time of year.
If you want to conquer a granite dome in Yosemite National Park, start with Lembert Dome. It’s the easiest to climb, and the views over Tuolumne Meadows from the top are spectacular.
Want to check out a waterfall? Then head to Whiskeytown Falls. It’s a short hike, coming in just shy of 3 miles, but it does involve elevations changes. However, the payoff is a magnificent waterfall.
Eagle Lake is another destination with a stunning view at the top of the hike. The glassy water reflects nearby peaks, creating a scene unlike any other.
There are tons of other hikes in California, but those listed above are great choices for beginners who want to start hiking for the first time.
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