The Sacramento region has excellent hiking opportunities, whether you're looking for a relaxing walk around the largely elevation-free central city, a slightly more challenging trail hike (or run) around Lake Natoma, or taking a quick drive up Highway 50 or Interstate 80, where the Auburn State Recreation Area centered around the Foresthill Bridge provides intermediate to challenging trails with spectacular views of the foothill gorges, rivers and waterfalls.
Hike Like a Pro
Whether you're a newbie or a seasoned veteran when it comes to all things outdoors, here are a few suggestions and things to keep in mind:
- Bring plenty of water: drinking fountains aren't usually a thing at most trailheads, so arrive prepared.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat: we get a lot of sunshine in and around the Sacramento area, so be sure to protect your delicate skin.
- Do some research online before you go to make sure that the trail you're looking to conquer is open and safe to hike. This is especially important during the wildfire season (generally June - September in California).
- Snacks are crucial - we even suggest stopping at a local deli and grabbing a sandwich to take with you for when you find that lovely vista along the trail that's the perfect picnic spot.
- It's always a good idea to tell one or two people when you're heading out into the wilderness and where you'll be.
Auburn State Recreation Area
There are over 100 miles of trails in the Auburn SRA, and several of the areas are open to mountain biking.Learn More
Sacramento Magazine Travel Section
Sacramento Magazine has featured numerous hikes (especially in the Sierras) in its travel section. Check them out!Learn More
Make it a Day
If you're willing to venture a little further afield, here are some easy day trips from Sacramento.
Homestead to Blue Ridge Loop Trail (near Lake Berryessa): Want lovely views and a decent workout? This trail is just 45 minutes from Sacramento and offers a number of photo ops that will definitely impress your Instagram followers. Pro tip: stop at Berryessa Brewing Company or Berryessa Gap Vineyards (they're right next door to each other) on the way back and reward yourself with a much-deserved beverage.
Cronan Ranch Regional Trails Park: There are a number of interconnected trails that wind through this park that's about a 45-minute drive east from Sacramento. Plan your route and enjoy a leisurely stroll (Gerle Loop Trail) or tackle some of the more challenging trails (Up and Down, South Fork American River Trail) for sweeping views. Afterward, head over to Auburn (the cheese loaf at the Auburn Ale House will certainly revive you) for some food and refreshments before making your way back to Sacramento.
Pinecrest Lake Loop: If you're up for a scenic 2.5 hour drive, head southeast for a beautiful 4-mile hike around Pinecrest Lake's perimeter. This is also a popular sledding spot in the winter! Stop in the scenic town of Sonora on the way back for a bite to eat.
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