Sacramento, CA

3 Epic (& Tough) Trails with Stunning Views near Sacramento, CA


Out on the trail, the best views are the ones you work for. When your heart is pumping and your head is full of endorphins, you'll be rewarded with some of the best views of your life. California is a perfect place for it, and Sacramento offers a perfect launch point for your next adventure.

If you're looking to sweat for the summit, these three trails near Sacramento won't disappoint. Check out these three tough trails to make your next California vacation truly epic:
A waterfall that runs into the sea? One of the many epic views you'll get on these hikes.Matthew Bennett | Unsplash

1. Alamere Falls Trail

Ready for a trail that combines waterfalls with the ocean? California won't disappoint. Hugging the seashore, the Alamere Falls trail is unlike any you'll see in the Lower 48.

While it's a bit far from Sacramento proper, the Alamere Falls trail is worth the drive. This beautiful waterfall plunges down rugged cliffs to reach the Pacific ocean. The trail itself hugs the coastline, meaning you'll have amazing views of the ocean throughout.

At 13.8 miles, this trail will take the average hiker most of the day. The elevation gain is less than 2,000 feet, though, meaning you'll have a well-graded walk most of the way.

This trail is one of the most popular in the area, so if you're looking for solitude, you might have to find it elsewhere. But if you're looking for an outdoor adventure to a stunning waterfall, Alamere Falls won't disappoint.

2. Island & Twin Lakes

Up in the mountains above Sacramento, the Desolation Wilderness drapes thick forests over the rugged terrain. You can view some of the best sights in this wilderness areas with a tough 12-mile hike. You can cut it short at 6.2 miles and just see the twin lakes - but where's the fun in that?

The 12-mile trail leads you to three of the most beautiful mountain lakes within the Sacramento region. You'll definitely want your camera out and ready to capture the moment.

This trail might surprise you with a bit of a challenge. It only gains 1200 feet of elevation, but there are a couple of tricky scrambles near the beginning to get your heart rate up. It's a perfect way to get your blood moving and your body in action.

3. Rubicon Trail

Looking to be out on the trail the whole day? The Rubicon trail is an iconic California experience that lasts for 16.4 miles. If you're up to the challenge, this hike is definitely worth it.

This hike will give you incredible views of South Lake Tahoe. To get to the overlook, you'll wind your way up through thick stands of Pacific evergreen forest. Along the way, you'll see Eagle Falls, a mountain waterfall that alone is worth the hike.

But this trail doesn't stop there. Once you reach the end, you'll be stunned at the beauty of this vista. You'll be able to view all of South Lake Tahoe, as well as the mountains, hills, and forests that frame it.

You'll definitely be joined by other hikers out on this trail. The Rubicon is an iconic hike to do in California, so time your visit well to avoid the heavy crowds.


Ready for a hike that will push you to the limits? California has plenty of them, and some of the best are found around Sacramento. You may have to drive a bit out of the way, but you'll be rewarded with some of the most stunning views in the area.

Which of these tough hikes are you going to add to your next adventure? Remember to plan ahead to make sure you're safe, and always leave your plans with someone back home.

Happy hiking, my friend.

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I am a travel writer and sustainable lifestyle blogger. As a world traveler, I love giving others tips on budget travel, new cultures, and how to see the planet in a sustainable, ethical way. I also write on being a digital nomad, hiking and outdoor activities, as well as living an adventurous lifestyle.

Santa Fe, NM

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