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Explore The Best Winter Hiking Spots in California

Explore The Best Winter Hiking Spots in California

Although many people make it a destination for summer trips, California is a great destination for winter trips too! Believe it or not, one of the best activities to do during the colder months in California is hiking. California offers some of the best winter hikes you'll find anywhere. The region's climate creates the perfect conditions to get outdoors and stay active during the winter months. To make it even better, the state has a wide range of hiking trails perfect for hikers of every skill level. 

We've compiled a list of some of California's best hiking trails to visit in the winter. Read on to learn more about these must-visit hiking spots! 

Two small children with red backpacks enjoying the sunny outdoors by going on an easy hike at the Citrus Interpretive Trail.

Citrus Interpretive Trail

The Citrus Interpretive Trail in the California Citrus State Historic Park is an easy, popular trail you can enjoy even on a quick trip. This loop trail is a great way to catch some time outside, even if you only have a little to spare.

  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Length: 1.25-mile round trip
  • Location: In Riverside, 1 mile east of Freeway 91

Be sure to stop by the park's visitor center and try the various citrus fruits that grow in the area.

McCloud River Falls Trail

If you want breathtaking waterfall views, hike the McCloud River Falls Trail. This longer path takes you past three waterfalls, black basalt cliffs and canyons of cooled lava. The captivating and unique scenery makes this one of the best winter hiking spots in California.

  • Difficulty: Easy-moderate
  • Length: 4-mile round trip
  • Location: Off of Highway 89, 5 miles east of McCloud

The trail provides easy access to all three waterfalls so you can appreciate their breathtaking views.

The sun peaking over large, snow capped mountains which are being reflected in Lake Cuyamaca.

Middle Peak Loop Trail

A moderately challenging hike on the Middle Peak Loop Trail at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park is an excellent choice when you want to spend more time outside. When you hike this popular Southern California trail in the winter, you will be surrounded by beautiful snow-covered mountains and have a gorgeous view of Lake Cuyamaca. 

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 6-mile round trip
  • Location: Cuyamaca Rancho State Park

This loop trail includes shaded and unshaded areas. Its grade isn't overly steep, making the path manageable for hikers of all levels.

Malibu Lake Trail

Try the Malibu Lake Trail at Malibu Creek State Park the next time you want a moderately challenging hike.

  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Length: 6.6-mile round trip
  • Location: Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State Park is one of the best places to hike in California in December, offering stunning volcanic gorges, peaceful pools and incredible canyon views.

Woman wearing a black coat and purple beanie goes hiking on a rocky and snow covered trail.

Snow Creek Trail

Consider the Snow Creek Trail when you want to add a more challenging winter hike to your outdoor getaway. 

  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Length: 9.4-mile round trip
  • Location: Yosemite Valley

The trail starts at Mirror Lake Trailhead and continues to the Snow Creek Footbridge. The path has areas of rocky terrain and sand, so be sure to bring proper footwear. If you're up for the challenge, you'll get to take in beautiful vistas of granite landforms and snowy peaks. It’s truly a sight to behold, and the sense of accomplishment you’ll feel after completing this trail is second to none. We can’t truly emphasize how much we recommend this trail for experienced hikers in search of the best winter hiking in California.

Stay Near the Best Winter Hikes in All of California 

If you're eager to experience winter hiking in Southern California, Boulevard / Cleveland National Forest KOA Holiday is an excellent place to start. With close proximity to several popular trails and many enjoyable amenities, you'll find everything you need to make your stay memorable. Start planning your next winter hiking trip by reserving a campsite with us today!


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