Top hiking trails in the Central Valley

California is a wonderful place to live if you love to be outside and, since most of the state enjoys a Mediterranean climate, you can find good hiking year round. The third largest state in the nation, California is unique in that it’s home to two major mountain ranges and nearly 800 miles of coastland. 

The result of such a large landmass is that the climate and topography vary greatly from one end of the state to the other, providing opportunities to discover hiking trails of all difficulty levels. With so many scenic areas to choose from, you may be surprised at all of the stunning places to go hiking in the Central Valley. 

Nestled between the Coastal Range and Sierra Nevadas, one of its biggest advantages of hiking in the Central Valley is that the weather is mild even in the winter. The comfortable climate doesn’t exclude nature’s most beautiful sights, though. Some of the best trails to hike in the Central Valley feature a riot of wildflowers in the spring and colorful, changing leaves in the fall. 

What are you looking for?

Regardless of how long you’d like to be out hiking and how far you want to go, you can find any number of good trails. These are just a few examples of places worth visiting. If you’re interested in easy terrain, the Lodi Lake Wilderness Trail is a good option. Just over 3 miles long, it’s an easy loop around the lake, and is tucked away in the trees, which provide shade in the warmer summer months.

For a similar distance with a bit more challenge, the Revis Mountain Ridge Trail in Coarsegold is an excellent choice. Beginning with a steep climb, it transitions to a long downhill trek, ending with the spectacular view of Yosemite Lakes Park. This trail is also a good hike for canine enthusiasts as dogs are allowed on-leash.  

Experienced hikers searching for a more difficult course that can take anywhere from a few hours up to all day, should try the San Joaquin River Trail in Auberry. At just over 17 miles long, it runs from the San Joaquin River Gorge to Finegold Bay. Also a dog-friendly option, the scenery is gorgeous, including a stunning display of wildflowers in the springtime. 

No shortages of great places to hike

California is the most populated state in the nation, but it also encompasses an enormous 164,000 square miles of land. With the great majority of people living in and around the cities, there’s a tremendous amount of untouched wilderness to explore. Walking the vast network of hiking trails that crisscross the open land is the best way to explore the diverse flora and fauna, stunning scenery, and abundant wildlife that live in the Central Valley. 

With winters becoming milder, as evidenced by the disappearance of the Tule Fog, you can enjoy hiking in the Central Valley all year round. 

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