yosemite national park for the best backpacking in california

The best backpacking in California

The state of California is one of the best backpacking locations on the planet. It is because it has some incredible sites and amazing wilderness that travelers find fascinating. Apart from having numerous agricultural farms, California is also home to incredible national parks, several deserts and breathtaking mining towns all waiting for you to explore. Nearly the whole state has tracks of land with separate backpacking locations that you will not only enjoy but also find interesting. So here’s where you can experience the best backpacking in California!


Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove, California
Shelter Cove – Black Sands Beach, CA | MARELBU [CC BY 3.0]

Black Sands on the Lost Coast

Black Sands Beach is an ideal location if you’re looking for a place to camp. The area has a long stretch of stunning coastline with everything you need to enjoy your camping. You can decide to trek to your campsite or take a shuttle which will drop you off at an ideal camping location. What makes the Lost Coast in northern California a location for the best backpacking in California is also the accessibility to water and other essentials for camping.

While at it, you can hike the King’s Peak, take pictures at the Devil’s Gate, visit the Punta Gorda’s lighthouse and take a walk at the Johnson camp trail.


john muir trail for the best backpacking in california

John Muir Trail

The John Muir Trail has an impressive elevation of 4,000 feet. Its waterfalls, hot springs, wildflowers, and old-growth forests make this a destination for the best backpacking in California. This trail also offers you backcountry camping where you can enjoy incredible nights in the wilderness. Despite being one of the most scenic trails in California, John Muir is also among the few places where you can fish for your meals. This way you get the complete wilderness experience!

Because of the location of John Muir Trail, you will need to bring some camping gear. Make sure you have roof rack accessories to create space for everything.


rae lakes loop scenery with boats, seen while backpacking in california

Rae Lakes Loop

The Rae Lakes Loop is a gem for hikers, so it’s only natural to make it on our best backpacking in California list. The place boasts of a 46-mile trail that begins at the King’s Canyon. This area also has beautiful landscapes and other natural scenery, such as waterfalls and gigantic Sequoia trees. You will also get to see the permanent South Fork Kings River.

The best part about backpacking at the Rae Lakes Loop is that you will get camp at exciting spots where you can see the whole area effortlessly. Don’t forget to visit the Zumwalt Meadow and the Roaring River Falls while at Rae Lakes Loop!


cacti in the cholla cactus garden, in california

Cholla Cactus Garden

The Cholla Cactus Garden is a fantastic place to go backpacking in California. The area is covered by thousands of jumping cacti with incredible routes that give you room to walk through the cacti without getting scratched. Thanks to its uniqueness, the Cholla Cactus Garden attracts thousands of travelers every year.

While at the Cholla Cactus Garden, you will see the mountains in the distance. The site is spectacular and worth taking a stroll through. It’s one of those places you’ll always remember fondly.


hike to lighthouse at point reyes national seashore in california

Point Reyes National Seashore

The Point Reyes National Seashore is an incredible backpacking spot with amazing trails for hiking. You get to pick your own path, whether short or long. You should, however, keep in mind that the trail you choose determines the type of scenery you come across. Longer trails are known to have many beautiful landscapes, with waterfalls and stunning beaches. Some of the beaches you might come across while hiking at the Point Reyes National Seashore include Kelham Beach, Wildcat Beach, Sculptured Beach, and Santa Maria Beach among many others. All you have to do is pick your hiking route wisely to enjoy some of the best backpacking in California!


santa rosa island cliffs

Santa Rosa Island

Santa Rosa Island is the best place to enjoy fantastic beach camping in California. The place is sparsely populated and has several incredible trails. While at the Santa Rosa Island, you will come across unique plant and animal species, including native foxes which are known to be very rare. You are free to camp at the beaches and other areas, like by water canyon and Scorpion Ranch, among others. There are also several hiking routes which include the North Bluff Trails and a route found on the East Anacapa Island of the Channel Island.



These are some ideas to enjoy the best backpacking in California. However, there are thousands of backpacking sites available in the area, as the wilderness in California stretches for over 3 million miles. Every backpacking spot offers unique hiking routes with incredible sceneries. You also get to see rare animal species, like those found on Santa Rosa Island. With these sites on your bucket list, you’ll have a fantastic time backpacking!


About the author

Rebecca Siggers, guest blogger on The Travel Bunny

Rebecca has been closely studying the travel industry trends from quite some time. Intrigued by the booming growth of this sector, she takes interest in penning down her views providing quality insight on current travel trends and also likes to write about food and beverages, particularly wine.


You too can become a guest blogger on The Travel Bunny.
All you have to do is submit a free guest post.


Want to experience the best backpacking in California? Pin this!

best backpacking in california usa for nature lovers www.the-travel-bunny.com text over image of hume lake with boats
backpacking in california top backpacking destinations www.the-travel-bunny.com text over image of lighthouse at point reyes national seashore
best backpacking in california backpacking in the usa www.the-travel-bunny.com text over image of mountains in yosemite national park

You should also read
Backpacking in the mountains: A guide for newbies
Travel checklist for your hiking backpack

One Thought to “The best backpacking in California”

  1. I love this list of the best backpacking in California. Last year I took my best friend who lives in San Diego and we had an epic backpacking trip along the John Muir section of the Pacific crest Trail. We even made it to the top of Mt Whitney. It was an amazing adventure. We have also backpacked and day hiked around Rae Lakes and other parts of Mammoth so I can attest that it is amazing as well. I think the next time we go we are going to have some of these coastal backpacking trips in California!

Leave a Comment