7 Best Winter Hikes in California

By Carly Zinderman

7 Best Winter Hikes in California

California is filled with diverse terrain. Whether you want to spend your winter hiking in the snow or soaking in the sun, you can find a beautiful winter hike in California. Be sure to check park websites for information about trail closures as well as instructions about safety and inclement weather conditions. Pack your sunscreen and prepare to head out to view some of the most beautiful spots for winter hikes in California! 

1. Año Nuevo State Park, Pescadero, CA

If you love wildlife, then head to Año Nuevo State Park. Many trails are closed during the winter to protect the wildlife, including elephant seals. Make a reservation ahead of time to gain access on a guided hike to see the elephant seals from a safe vantage point. Guided tours during the winter months are a highlight of the park’s natural beauty! 

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2. Malibu Creek State Park, Calabasas, CA

Malibu’s beaches attract people from around the world but not many know that the coast is also a prime place for hiking. Locals head out on hikes here regularly, among some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere on earth. The area is famous for historical structures as well as filming, before becoming a state park.

3. Caswell Memorial State Park, Ripon, CA

Caswell Memorial State Park has many trails that follow the flowing Stanislaus River where you can float or fish. Stroll through ancient oak trees and enjoy a hike along a short trail or opt for a longer one. Either way, you’ll enjoy the breathtaking views of this park. 

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Just a 30 minute drive on the freeway and we ended up at Caswell Memorial State Park. #optoutside

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4. Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park, Tahoma, CA

Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park is the largest state park in Tahoe and offers miles and miles of trails. Open during the winter, you can trek with cross-country skis or snowshoes to enjoy an epic winter wonderland. Be sure to get a map of the trails before heading out for a “true Tahoe experience.”

5. Bothe-Napa Valley State Park, Calistoga, CA

One of wine country’s best-kept secrets is Bothe-Napa Valley State Park. You’ll find trails of varying skill levels as well as plenty of picnic spots for enjoying a bottle of the local specialty. The park is open year-round, and offers yurts for an overnight stay if you want to hike across multiple days.

6. Andrew Molera State Park, Big Sur, CA

Big Sur is famous for its wilderness, including ocean and mountain views. Andrew Molera State Park is named after an artichoke grower and has many historic points of interest. This location serves as a winter habitat for monarch butterflies.

7. Berry Creek Falls at Big Basin Redwood State Park, CA

Berry Creek Falls is one of the most ambitious hikes in Big Basin Redwood State Park. Lesser known than the shorter hikes through the majestic trees, Berry Creek Falls requires an over 10-mile loop but is especially worthwhile in the winter time when the falls are flowing at maximum capacity. 

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