Best Northern California Backpacking Trips

Explore the breathtaking beautiful of Northern California’s backcountry

1. Fern Canyon 

    • Trail: Begin at the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Visitor Center and hike to Gold Bluffs Campground, then day hike to the nearby Fern Canyon

    • Length: 2o miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 1,500 ft

    • Overnight Permit Required

    • Highlights: Waking up early from the campground and being the first ones in the morning to walk through the canyon before it gets busy was magic

2. Lost Coast 

    • Trail: Begins at Nadelos Campground in the Mendocino National Forest, then winds up Chemise Mountain, across Whale Gulch by wading barefoot, then up the coastline to Jones Campground

    • Length: 13 miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 3,400 ft

    • Highlights: Hiking past a peaceful herd of elk down on the hillside below

Newts crossing – Careful where you step!


3. Snow Mountain

    • Trail: Begin at the Deafy Glade TH in the Mendocino National Forest

    • Length: 15 miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 4,400 ft

    • Highlights: Exploring the unique Serpentinite soil-adapted plants


Although stunning in the snow, perhaps go when the snow has melted to see more of the landscape safely

4. Coast Camp

    • Trail: Begin at the Bear Valley Visitor Center in Point Reyes National Seashore and hike to Coast Camp

    • Length: 14 miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 2,000 ft

    • Highlights: Hearing the crashing of the waves at night while your cozy in your tent at night


5. Palomarin to Wildcat Camp 

    • Trailhead: Begin at Palomarin TH on the Point Reyes peninsula

    • Length: 12 miles out & back

    • Elevation gain: 1,700 ft

    • Highlights: Lots of Elk at camp, Osprey by the ocean, Swallows building nests in the cliffs, Secret waterfall

While you are there, pay homage to this tree by not carving on its face

erigeron glaucus – seaside daisy

Don’t forget to Leave No Trace, read all regulations for the park you will be in, and check the weather forecast before setting off on your journey. Happy Trails! – Dendrophile Danielle

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