8 Hardest Hikes In California National Parks

Half Dome via the John Muir Trail

Located in Yosemite National Park, this 16.5-mile round trip hike is renowned for its steep climbs and culminates with a thrilling ascent using cables to reach the summit of Half Dome, offering breathtaking views of the valley below.

Telescope Peak Trail

Situated in Death Valley National Park, this challenging 12.2-mile round trip hike begins at Mahogany Flat campground and ascends through pinyon pine and mountain mahogany forests to the summit of Telescope Peak

LOAR Loop Trail

Found in Joshua Tree National Park, this 35.7-mile loop trail, named after the "Lady On A Rock," offers a multi-day trek through diverse terrain including Boy Scout Trail, Big Pine Trail, and Quail Mountain, featuring rugged scrambles and stunning views

Little Bald Hills Trail

Located in Redwood National Park, this challenging 18.5-mile hike winds through old-growth forests, open prairies, and steep hills, offering hikers a chance to experience stunning views of the coastal redwoods and the surrounding mountain

El Montañon Trail

On Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National Park, this difficult 8.9-mile out-and-back hike ascends to the summit of El Montañon, offering panoramic views of the island's rugged coastline and unique wildlife, including the island fox

High Sierra Trail

Spanning Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, this 93.5-mile multi-day hike starts at Crescent Meadow and traverses alpine meadows, canyons, and creeks, offering access to some of the Sierra Nevada's most remote and scenic landscapes

Snag Lake, Butte Lake, & Cinder Cone Via Pacific Crest Trail

In Lassen Volcanic National Park, this 30.3-mile loop trail begins at Warner Valley Campground, passing by volcanic lakes and ascending Cinder Cone for views of the park's diverse volcanic landscapes

Pinnacles Greatest Hits Trail

Located in Pinnacles National Park, this trail showcases the park's volcanic rock formations, caves inhabited by bats, and jagged peaks carved by ancient eruptions and erosion, offering hikers a challenging adventure through California's volcanic history.