Monday, October 3, 2016

5 Must-Do Day Hikes in California

Zabriskie Point at Death Valley National Park.
Zabriskie Point Trail
Death Valley National Park
Day hikers can enjoy impressive sunrises and sunsets on the Zabriskie Point Trail at Death Valley National Park. The 0.3-mile round trip trail heads to a vista overlooking a multicolored badlands. About 5 million years ago, a lake stood in the badlands area. At that time, camels, mastodons and horses frequented the shoreline. The rocks making up the badlands are the eroded sediments that once collected at the lake’s bottom.

Cavern Point Loop Trail
Channel Islands National Park
Spectacular views of the ocean and California coast await day hikers on the Cavern Point Loop Trail at Channel Islands National Park. Among the highlights of the trail are the variety of marine life – including blue whales – often visible from the ocean overlooks.

High Peaks Trail
Pinnacles National Park
Day hikers can explore an otherworldly landscape of pinnacles, spires and monoliths on the High Peaks Trail at America’s newest national park. The route loops about 5.15 miles when combined with other trails in Pinnacles National Park. Formerly known as Pinnacles National Monument, the wilderness became a national park in 2013.

Tuolumne Meadows-Soda Springs Trail
Yosemite National Park
A lush subalpine meadow, a soda springs, and fascinating granite formations await day hikers on the Tuolumne Meadows-Soda Springs Trail at Yosemite National Park. Not the official name of the trail, the route runs about 2-miles round trip depending on how much exploring you do of the exposed rocks along the way. 

Big Tree Wayside Trail
Redwood National Park
Day hikers can walk beneath some of the planet's largest organisms at Redwood National Park. Though the sequoias of the Sierra Nevada range are larger than coastal redwoods in volume, the latter usually grows taller. Coastal Redwoods can reach up to 30 stories high. Comparatively, the world’s largest animal – a blue whale – usually is only about 1/16th the size of a redwood.

Learn more about national park day hiking trails in my Best Sights to See at America’s National Parks series.