Beginner backpacking trips california | backpacking for beginners

Beginner backpacking trips California.

Beginner backpacking trips California


If you are a beginner backpacker, California ought to be a Piece of cake for you. As you are a beginner you would like to start with beginner backpacking trips California. Beginner backpacking trips California has got some really beginner-friendly backpacking locations. You just need to select some of the easy backpacking trips California.

While you are planning for beginner backpacking trips California, you need to be aware of plentiful things.

As we know, hiking and backpacking are different things. But in the U.S. it is not that much different. Unlike Europe where Backpacking means more like a “Budget Traveler”, here in the U.S, packing typically means that to travel for a hike within the country aspect with a potential intention putting in place camp and Carrying everything you would like in your backpack.



Beginner backpacking trips california


Step 1: Find Companion

Backpacking alone will be the last thing any backpacker would do. So the first thing before go for your beginner backpacking trips California is to find your backpack partner(s). It will be best if you find an experienced one. If you are not from California and you came here alone for backpacking. Then the best option you have is to get yourself in a hostel. If you are young and not introvert, you will surely make friends at hostels and form a group of a companion. You will see more people in the months of July and August. But keep in mind that traveling, lodging, and sightseeing are relatively easier in September and October.

Keep in mind that there are not much backpacker hotels in California that cater to a lot of young people traveling cheaply. There are about 18 HI hostels in California. 3 in San Francisco, 3 in greater Los Angeles, 4 elsewhere in the Bay area and there are some other in places of interest to a backpacker with the low budget. Moreover, there are private hotels in some cities like San SF.



Step 2: Picking up the Right Time

Time is an effective factor in backpacking. Your experience of a perfect backpacking trip can be awful just because you went for it in a wrong time. Place such as San Francisco or The National Parks in California might be crowded in summer. September/October can be a suitable time to travel to California. To be honest, actually, this is the time when most of the coast area get the best atmosphere with warmness and fog-free weather. July is actually not a good travel month but it includes the July 4th weekend. Natural areas are more likely to be popular than cities in the holidays. However, September also includes Labor Day on the 7th.



Step 3: Pack Your Gear Desert Gear:

The southern desert is the less famous area in California where you will need specific desert gear such as-

  • Extra water reservoirs
  • Ultralight hiking shoes
  • Sleeping bag
  • Train jacket
  • Ankle-high gaiters



Mountain Gear:

Most of the Californian backpacking trails includes mountains (small to big). You will need to carry specific mountain gears for such trips.

  • Traction devices
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Knee-high waterproof gaiters
  • Waterproof pants and rain jacket
  • Bear Canister (If needed for the desired area)
  • Ice ax


Personal Items:


  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottles (Water is the specifically the most important thing for backpacking in California)
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Sanitation trowel
  • Waterproof zip-top bags
  • Insect repellent
  • Bear Spray (Prohibited in Yosemite National Park)
  • Quick-drying towel
  • Credit Card; Small amount of cash
  • Personal wipes
  • Toothbrush with cover
  • First-aid kit
  • Trip itinerary left with a friend.



Travel Toiletries Suggestion:


From my personal experience, I can only tell you that we take lots of essential bathroom items but it took so much space & the biggest problem is that you have to carry the language alone. Hats why I’m here to help with the easiest suggestion.


5 travel toiletries that you must carry in your travel bag, please try to take new products because hygiene is more important than anything right!



Carrying out easily and make sure that you have healthy skin and obviously its 100% natural.


  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Scent free
  • Lightweight
  • Gluten free
  • Plant-based



  • Frequent formula changes
  • Purchase the acure travel pack here.



The best features of this toothbrush are that it coated bristles which work to stop the growth of germs & bacteria and most importantly it works a tongue cleaner.



  • Cap that doubles as the brush handle
  • Anti-bacterial coated bristles
  • Tongue cleaner
  • 2 units in a package
  • Assorted colors



Bristles may be too soft for some people’s individual taste



This mini travel size toothpaste works for whitening your teeth, fresh breath & strengthen enamel.



  • 4 units
  • Mint flavored
  • Whiten teeth
  • Builds and strengthens enamel
  • Compact size



  • Some customers claim that the toothpaste doesn’t taste like mint as promised



Staying well-groomed and using the product as a quick job. This shaper contains 8.500 RPM motor seep and 78 degrees of blade angle.



  • Water-resistant
  • Ergonomic profile
  • The speed of 8,500 RPM
  • Includes a cleaning brush



  • Requires batteries
  • Purchase this travel shaver.



100 individually wrapped wipes, a dose of cleanliness and security.999% bacteria kills within just a second.



  • Kills 99.9% of germs
  • Convenient to use
  • 100 count
  • Individually wrapped



  • Can be hazardous to kids and pets
  • Purchase these hand sanitizing wipes.



Backpacking Food Ideas:

Backpacking in California is relatively more energy consuming. During backpacking in here, you need to have 6000 calories per day in these categories:

  • Granola, Oatmeal, dried breakfast
  • Bagels, cheese, smoked salmon etc for lunch
  • Pasta, rice, freeze-dried dinner etc for dinner
  • Snacks like cookies, candy bars, dried fruits etc.
  • Energy bars
  • Extra supply of food to carry on each leg of the hike


Healthy travel food:

Traveling for work, vacation and far away from your country, you can eat healthily and balance maintaining food by following some easy steps.


This food is fully Grass-fed beef proved by the Non –GMO project. You can take it as a healthy food which tastes delicious. There are no artificial ingredients, no added sugar, no paleo etc. This food is best to buy for beginner backpacking travelers.


This healthy food is combined with goji berries, organic golden berries, white mulberries and also made with natural sun-dried fruits, unsweetened, no artificial color, no extra sugar, salt or, I can say that this food going to be your choice able one.


This food contains about drink mixes, the variety of nuns, trail mixes, Granola bars, protein bars etc. Gift box with product details is shown in the picture so you check it out.




Step 4: Transport

Transport is a big issue for solo travelers not only in California alone but in the whole U.S. Although there are buses and trains that go to various places in the state, you will find that California is not an easy place to travel without a car. Buses and Trains may not go everywhere that you want and may not be frequent. Besides, transit in cities can be poor also, especially in the Los Angeles area. If you plan to be transported by public transport, it may take a lot of time and planning.

When you are out of home and backpacking, you won’t want to do something else that is time-consuming. It is almost impossible to get to most backpacking sites without a car, mostly the places with wildlife, nature, and scenery. So, the best option is to rent a car. Renting a car is pretty easy in California. You don’t need to be bothered much about it. And you can share a rental car with another group of backpackers.


Cheap car rentals:

*Basic information for the cheapest California Car Rentals:

Road trip planning is the most important thing for beginner backpacking trips in California. California is the third largest in the USA has coastline over 800 miles’ long. The Pacific Ocean, the Sierra Nevada Mountain range the Death Valley included here. Including major metro areas like loss Angeles and San Diego many attractions are also here, they are Hollywood, a Diego zoo, golden gate bridge.


Sixt : Save up to 15% on car rentals

“Car rental with sixt” is the cheapest car rental service in California. From my personal experience of traveling to California & it’s 100% trustworthy, trust me.

“Car rental with sixt” Giving the best service to the customer.

  1. Booking a car for 60 seconds.
  2. without booking fees & credit card.
  3. Cancel reservations at any time
  4. Renting a car with coupons & deals
  5. Special offer available here.
  6. Cheapest price than others.





Step 5: Camping

There is some misleading about backpack camping in California. Most of the people think that they can set up camp only in the designated area; this rule also applies to the national or state parks. This whole thing is misleading. There are acres of acres of public lands throughout California. Here in the U.S., wild camping is formally known as dispersed camping. And areas, where camping is restricted, are specifically marked. Other than camping in National Parks and State Parks, regulations vary from area to area.

In the parks, camping area and rules are more tightly regulated. So, the summary is- you can’t just camp anywhere you want but it’s not a must to be in designated campsite wherever you go. It’s true that you might need a bit of research or a learning curve to figure out the camping rules and regulation in the area where you are wanting to set up camp.


Camping gear list:

If you want to go outside with your friends and family then camping is the great way to spend time. I have put together 4 camping gear list with the family and a camping checklist of what to take.

What to Bring Camping:


  1. Tent
  2. Sleeping bags
  3. Sleeping pads
  4. Plenty of food
  5. Weather-appropriate clothing
  6. Hygiene and medical essentials



Coleman Sundome 4-Person Tent:


Sleeping bags:






Step 6: Cheap beachfront hotels in California


5 Star:


Montage Laguna Beach


4 Star:


The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel


3 Star:


Hampton Inn & Suites Napa tar


2 Star:


Best Western Country Inn




Step 7: Travel insurance

Good news for all independent travelers. World Nomads gives the best offer for the independent travelers who spend most of the time traveling. Parents or grandparents also go with the defendants who are under 21.24/7 service are available for them.


It is high time that you selected an affordable travel insurance for you. I think that this is the best travel insurance I have ever find please be checked it out and confirm.

Travel Insurance


Step 8: how to find cheap flights & Hotel


You have to do finish some steps to get cheap flights.

  1. Always try to flexible with your travel dates
  2. Also your destinations
  3. Concern about your budget
  4. All search engines don’t give you equal ideas
  5. Try to take special offers and student discount
  6. Booking your tickets early
  7. Get in touch with the best Flight services provider

This is my experienced I’m sharing with you. I have got when I searched for my first backpacking trips in California. I have got amazing things like they had given me 30% discount and they also provided me with Hotel services too.

My suggestion is for you that first check it out of their services and then decide yourself.




Step 9: Best Sellers in US Travel Guides

I have suggested only two travel guides. First read these guide then try another. I have been benefited from these books. Read this and suggest your friend who is the mad traveling also this is helpful for beginner backpacking trips California



Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail



AWOL on the Appalachian Trail Kindle Edition




Step10: Additional Considerations:



You don’t need to carry all the water with you all the time. You can always filter or treat water from the streams and lakes of the backcountry. Thus, you’ll save weight. Make sure you have a water filter (bring more than one filter for a group).



Some of the backpacking and camping places in California allows dogs. If you want to bring your dog with you do some research on the place you are going and be sure that your dog will be welcomed there. Some of the backpacking and camping places in California allows dogs. If you want to bring your dog with you do some research on the place you are going and be sure that your dog will be welcomed there.



Though most of the places for backpacking in California are suitable for kids, as you are a beginner it will be good not to bring kids with you. When you are exploring a new place for the first time, it’s like you are a kid yourself!



Choose any of the best rolling backpack for college you like. You can also go through some school backpack reviews in California. But after buying, do test the backpack before start your journey. Fill the backpack, put it on and go for a little walk around your house. Customize the backpack and his things it’s carrying according to your comfort.

For some guided backpacking trips California, first, you need to learn about some good beginner backpacking trips California. Here is a list of some suitable places for beginner backpackers both in a the Northern and Southern region of California –



Lightweight travel BACKPACK:


Best features:


  • Highly rip and water-resistant nylon fabric
  • Strength and long-lasting performance
  • Minimal weight
  • Includes a carabiner clip
  • Ultra-durable.



        Some best features you will get from this backpack:


  • Multi-functional Area
  • Slim Design & Super Organizer
  • The comfortable back support system
  • Quality Material
  • Anti-theft Laptop


You will get from this backpack:

  • Tear resistant nylon
  • Tear resistant nylon
  • Mat reflective stripe
  • Adjustable shoulder straps
  • bottle holder on the both sides
  • Suitable for all hiking, camping, climbing, traveling cycling




Backpacking Trails Southern California

1. Catalina Island:

beginner backpacking trips california
Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island is a rocky island in the Gulf of Santa Catalina. Every year almost 1 million people travel to Catalina Island You can enjoy a wonderful overnight backpacking on Catalina Island. You need to take the ferry from San Pedro and you can day hike to the harbors. Or you can also fly there as Catalina is also home to an airport. There are two Harbors in the island on two different sides of the island. And each of the harbors has its own distinct vibe. As the motor vehicles are restricted on the island, you can hire a taxi from Catalina Transportation Services. Or you can also rent a bicycle – a popular form of transport on the island.

Trail Details:

Distance: Though the official distance is 37.2 miles, if you like to both of the harbors, in total it will be a distance of 85.77 kilometers.

Distance: Though the official distance is 37.2 miles, if you like to both of the harbors, in total it will be a distance of 85.77 kilometers.
Total Elevation Gain/Loss: 9600’
Hiking Time: If you cover 11+ miles per day, it will take 3-4 days of backpacking.


2. Cucamonga Peak:

beginner backpacking trips california

One of the highest peaks of The San Gabriel Mountains – Cucamonga Peak is located in San Bernardino County of California. It is named after a Mexican land grant, Rancho Cucamonga. If you are looking for overnight backpacking trips southern California; you must visit the Cucamonga Peak. You can view the sunrise and sunset in the clear sky from this peak. But for that, you have to hike to the summit. In between of sunrise and sunset, you can see the stars and city lights. The most amazing thing is you can see the Disneyland fireworks from this summit. The Cucamonga peak is one of the best backpacking trails for an overnight trip.

Trail Details:

Distance: 11.6 Miles
Time: ~7 Hours
Elevation Gains: 4300 ft.
Dogs: Yes
When to go: June-October



3. Crystal Cove State Park:

beginner backpacking trips california
Crystal cove street park

Situating in the Orange County, Crystal Cove State Park has some camps that you can use. And all the camps have incredible views of the ocean. Many people use this park as a “Gear Shakedown”. That means testing new gears in a situation which is the relatively low risk. It’s a great way to dip your toes into backpacking without traveling far.

Trail details:

According to your experience level, there are three main loops in CCS Park
• The Green Route- It’s a moderate trail of three miles with some nice hills.
• The Red Route- This hike is of intermediate level. Actually, the elevation gain in this hike makes it more like a workout.
• The Blue Route- This over 9 miles hike is the longest of the three. Water is a problem and it’s not recommended for beginners.



4. Barker Valley:

beginner backpacking trips california
Barker Valley in the Palomar Mountains

If you are looking for a short trip, The Barker Valley could be one of your short backpacking trips California. It is located in the Palomar Mountains in northeast San Diego County. This trail takes you 1000 feet down to the river. Then camping overnight. Then again 1000 feet hike up back to the trail head. This trail would be a gentle introduction to backpacking for the beginners. Getting signals on your cell phone is a rare thing to happen here. So, you must have your trip mapped out physically.

Trail Details:

From Main Road to trailhead: 7.81 Miles
Trailhead into valley: 3.16 Miles
Dogs: Allowed
Camping: Allowed
Hike: Moderately Strenuous

Getting to the Trailhead: Take the highway 79. Then turn west 6.5 miles northwest of Warner Springs. Continue up to the Palomar Divide Road. After 7.8 miles you will reach Barker Valley spur trailhead. You must have a National Forest Adventure Pass on your car.



5. Santa Cruz Trail:

beginner backpacking trips california
Santa Cruz Trail

Having some spectacular wildflower show, it’s a longer out and back trip in Santa Barbara. The best time for backpacking in Santa Cruz is spring. Because it’s too much hot in here in the summer. This trail would be a nice selection for the beginners because it will be a nice little experiment to see how your body responds to climb and distance. Remember to sign the register at

To have some spectacular wildflower show, it’s a longer out and back trip in Santa Barbara. The best time for backpacking in Santa Cruz is spring. Because it’s too much hot in here in the summer. This trail would be a nice selection for the beginners because it will be a nice little experiment to see how your body responds to climb and distance. Remember to sign the register at the trailhead. Though there are no permits required for camping, signing the registers will help the rangers to keep track of the backpackers who are in the backcountry.

Trail Details:

Distance: 21.8 Miles
Time: 2 Days
Elevation Gain: 3000 Ft.
Difficulty: Strenuous
Dogs: Yes
Preferable Time: Fall and Spring



6. Mount Baldy:

beginner backpacking trips california
Mount Baldy Ski Lifts

At 10,068 feet above sea level, snow stick around on Mt. Baldy well into June. Its actual name is Mount San Antonio. It remains snow covered for much of the year. It’s more like a popular training hike Camping on the top of Mt Baldy is an experience with a capital E. On your way to the peak, you have to pack in all your water. The area is cold and the wind is strong. But once you reached the peak. Those sunsets and sunrise!! You will remember them for the rest of your life. Point to be noted- this trail is dog-friendly. The trail begins with a paved road. But as it passes the San Antonio Falls it turns to gravel. Crossing the Mt. Baldy Ski Area, the trail meets up Baldy Notch.

Trail details:

Distance: 10.2 Miles
Time: ~7 Hours
Elevation Gain: 3900 Ft.
Difficulty: Strenuous
Dogs: Yes
Preferable Time: June-October



7. San Jacinto:

beginner backpacking trips california
San Jacinto

You can hike in San Jacinto from Idyllwild or you can take the tram. With beautiful alpine meadows, San Jacinto peak is more like the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Being an easy trail, this trail would be the perfect one if you want to take your child with you. You will be rewarded with the views of inland empire, San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, Palm desert and if you are lucky you can even catch a glimpse of The Catalina Island on a really clear day.

Trail Details:

Distance: 11.4 Miles
Time: ~ 9 Hours
Elevation Gain: 4689 Ft.
Dogs: No
Preferable Time: June – October



Backpacking Trails Northern California:


1. Rae Lakes Loop:

beginner backpacking trips california

His multi-day loop is truly an ideal backpacking trip that has it all. It will take about three to six days to complete the circuit that’s 67.59 kilometers. From the stunning lake basins to the splendidly carved canyons, this trip will just blow your mind. This is one of the most famous loops in the Sierra. You will be required permits to be reserved in advance. It will be good if you schedule your trip here for midweek or the best is to wait until autumn. A bear canister is also required for this trip.

Trail Details:

Distance: 42 Miles
Congestion: Moderate
Preferable Time: Fall and Summer
Pass Required: National Park Pass
Dogs: No.



2. John Muir Trail:

beginner backpacking trips california
John Muir Trail

Yosemite National Park and the summit of Mount Whitney, john Muir trail is the premier backpacking trail in California. This 211-mile long trail is named after the founder of the Sierra Club, naturalist Mr. John Muir. Best time to backpack in this trail is summer. The whole JMT can’t be done in one go. It can be done in segments by picking portions of loops that is access able from both the east or west sides of the sierra. The vast majority of the JMT shares miles after miles of lakes, high peaks of sierra that will blow the hiker’s mind.

Trail Details:

Distance: 339.57 Kilometer
Trail Type: One Way
Congestion: Moderate
Preferable Time: Summer
Elevation Gain: 10,500 Ft.
Dogs: No


3. Sky Trail loop:

beginner backpacking trips california
Sky Trail loop

This seven-mile hike can be done in a single day. If you reserve early, you will get a chance to stay at Sky campground. There are many offshoot trails that you can take to Sky Trail depending on how many miles you want to travel. The Old Pine trail could be a good choice and it also meanders 800 feet up through a rainforest. After reaching the Sky trail, ascending for another mile will get you to an intersection point. If you are planning on staying over the night you have to continue the trail for another 0.5 miles and you will reach the campground. The Sky Trail Loop is an ideal choice if you are looking for a good little overnight backpacking northern California. Keep in mind that this place is crowded in most of the time of year.

Trail Details:

Distance: 11.27 Kilometer
Trail Type: Loop
Elevation Gain: 1291 Ft.
Congestion: Moderate
Required Pass: N/A
Preferable Time: Fall, Spring, Winter, and Summer
Dogs: No



4. Mount Whitney Cottonwood Pack Station:

beginner backpacking trips california

With a height of 14, 505 feet, Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the continental United States. This mountain was named after famous geologist Josiah Whitney. Two fishermen first visited this mountain in 1873. This explains the lesser-known name of this mountain- Fisherman’s peak. With a total distance of 101.39 kilometers, this trail will give you some incredible views.

Trail Details:

Distance: 63 Miles
Trail Type: Loop
Elevation Gain: 4949 Ft.
Congestion: Moderate
Required Pass: N/A
Preferable Time: Spring, Fall, and Summer
Dogs: NO



5. Sykes Hot Springs:

beginner backpacking trips california

Being one of California’s most famous and popular backcountry hot springs, Sykes is a 234,000-acre protected area. After establishing in 1969, Sykes became famous when counter-culture movement took place in the 60s. Since then it has gradually become a favorite and common destination for backpackers. This 33.47-kilometer long trail will entertain you with some breathtaking views of canyons and forests. This place is highly recommended for a good introductory backpacking.

Trail Details:

Distance: 20.80 Miles
Trail Type: Loop
Elevation Gain: 1391 Ft.
Congestion: High
Required Pass: Day Use Fee $5
Preferable Time: Spring, Winter, Fall, and Summer
Dogs: Yes


6. Yosemite National Park:

beginner backpacking trips california

About 95 percent area of Yosemite National Park is a designated wilderness area. It’s crisscrossed by trails with a total length of 750 miles. As long as you follow the rules, you can camp almost anywhere in the wilderness. , 60 percent of the quota for each trailhead is a reserved table in advance, and reservations at popular trailheads fill up early. The remaining quota is available first-come, first served at ranger stations. YNP is a four-hour drive from San Francisco. It contains some of the Sierra’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Trail Details:

Total Area Distance: 747,956 acres
Congestion: High
Required Pass: National Park Pass
Preferable Time: Spring, Winter, Fall, and Summer
Dogs: Yes (Restriction Applies)



7. The Lost Coast Trail:

beginner backpacking trips california

You would like to find a wild and antique type of adventure trail in your beginner backpacking trips California. The Lost Coast Trail- one of the most rugged sections of the north coast of California where you can hardly find any touch of civilization. Containing a couple of small towns and a two-hour shuttle from shelter cove, the trail will reward you with some distinct wildlife and glimpse of some nearly unseen coastal terrain of California. Keep in mind that this backpacking trail will need more energy than any other trails on this list. Most of this 3-day long backpacking trail includes sandy beaches. That may exhaust your feet and legs.

Trail Details:

Distance: 24.60 Miles
Trail type: One Way
Congestion: Very Low
Required Pass: N/A
Preferable Time: Summer, Fall, and Spring
Dogs: Yes
From the innumerable backpacking areas of mighty California, one of these 14 should be the one you start your beginner backpacking trips California with.
So, here is a step by step guide for beginner backpacking trips in California. This will surely help you to get some guided backpacking trips for beginners

If you like Beginner backpacking trips California you can read my another article Overnight backpacking trips southern california and Share with your friend and family.’Thank you


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