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10 Great Hikes in California That Will Rock Your World

It’s time to put the “recreation” in recreational marijuana!

by Claire Downs

Now that Prop 64 has passed, legalizing recreational use of marijuana by adults in California, it’s time to get your stash and hit the great outdoors! Without prohibition to harsh your mellow, you can safely inhale both weed and California’s natural beauty. While national and state park regulations regarding the prop’s rules are still TBD, be smart. Vape or use edibles, bring water, and if you’re going to smoke flower, be sure to dispose of your roaches safely and not litter. What are you waiting for? Get off the couch, pack up the Funyuns, and get ready for a trippy adventures all around the Golden State!

Ewoldsen Trail, Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park, Big Sur


Had an amazing day hiking in Big Sur with my wifey @jennafernyogi - this place is pretty amazing! #bigsur #ewoldsentrail

A photo posted by Rob Fernandez (@robfernandez7) on

This 5.9-mile scenic loop delivers all the goods: rugged coastal views, redwood trees, wildflowers, and an iconic waterfall. The trail is well-paved and mostly in the shade, and can be done at a moderate pace in two to three hours—perfect for chill vibes with just the right amount of athleticism.

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms

At 3 miles, the hike to Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree isn’t the longest hike out there, but after climbing more than 1,000 feet to the tallest peak in the park, you’ll be ready to zone out. Luckily, there’s an amazing payoff. Ryan Mountain offers 360-degree views of this classic desert landscape and nearby Mount Jacinto and San Gorgonio. Plus, it makes for great selfies.

The Bridge to Nowhere, San Gabriel Mountains, Mt. Baldy

Nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains is a 120-foot-high concrete bridge built in the 1930s. When a flood wiped out construction of the bridge’s roads, the bridge was left going “nowhere.” Now only accessible by hikers willing to make the 10-mile round trip loop, the Bridge to Nowhere is one of the most gorgeous treks in Southern California. Great for summer trekkers, there are also waterfalls and a few places to take a dip to cool off.

The Mist Trail and Nevada Falls, Yosemite National Park, Yosemite Valley


Half way up🌲💦

A photo posted by ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴡᴀɴᴅᴇʀ (@theywander) on

If you’ve already completed the famously challenging Half Dome hike in Yosemite—which we do not recommend attempting while high—there’s a chiller, less strenuous option. The Mist Trail to Nevada Falls (which is also en route to Half Dome) is a 6.7-mile loop that offers a lush, misty walk at the foot of two massive waterfalls.

Solstice Canyon Loop Trail, Malibu

Great for selfies, this picturesque 3.4-mile loop features great views of the ocean and a trek through an abandoned mansion. The home, known as Tropical Terrace, burned down sometime in the ’80s and features a waterfall and a hidden Virgin Mary statue.

Fern Canyon, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Humboldt County

It’s only a mile, but this lil’ hike in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park (near Eureka, Calif.) will make your jaw drop. If you’re thinking it looks like Jurassic Park, that’s because scenes from The Lost World: Jurassic Park were filmed there. This 50-foot-deep vertical walled canyon is perfect for catching some shade and mellowing out. Just don’t be afraid to get a little wet!

Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, San Bernardino County


Came to build sandcastles.

A photo posted by Los Angeles | San Francisco (@basiciggy) on

Great for hikers seeking desert views, the Kelso Dunes trail is a 2.8-mile loop good for people of all skill levels—and doggies, too! Make sure to start early in the morning or go for a sunset walk and bring water, as again, this hike is in the desert. The Kelso Dunes are one of the largest dunes in the entire state, so be prepared to get some sand in your shoes in exchange for these incredible views.

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve, Lancaster

Every spring, the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve comes alive with blankets of orange flowers ready to be played in. There are 10 miles of short, chill trails to explore these wildflowers, and apparently the reserve sells some damn fine jerky!

Lassen Peak, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Shasta County

Lassen Peak is an out-and-back trail that goes for 4.6 miles all the way to the top of an active volcano. The trail starts at 8,500 feet and ascends quickly, so you’ll literally be getting high while getting high. The altitude and tricky steps may make it difficult for stoned climbers, so you may want to imbibe only on the way down. No matter what you do, you’ll get bragging rights for climbing a volcano!

General Sherman Tree Trail, Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers



A photo posted by Ajaipreet Kaur Khalsa (Kat R) (@jemappellekat) on

This hike may not be worth the drive, since it’s only 0.8 miles and is more of a “walk,” but if you’re already camping in or near Sequoia National Park, this is a mellow addition to some of the more strenuous inclines the forest has to offer. Taking in General Sherman—the largest tree in the world at 275 feet tall and 17.5 feet in diameter—gives one a lot to contemplate. Up close, it’s a sight like no other. We dare you to pony up to a bench and try to understand how a tree can possibly be 2,000 years old and still be considered “middle aged” for a Sequoia.


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Claire Downs is a writer and comedian based out of Los Angeles. She's written for Nickelodeon, VH1, Funny or Die, and Hello Giggles. You can follow her on Twitter @clairecdowns. She prefers Indica to Sativa, in case you're wondering.



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