hiker at Whiting Ranch Wilderness canyon

Hidden Canyon Hikes

Arizona and Utah get all the attention for canyons and astounding rock formations, but Southern California has a few secret ones to hike among or drop into—with the help of a ladder. And they’re not too far away! Here are some less known canyon hikes with red rocks, slot canyons, even some redwoods.

Week: 08.10.2021
Regions: Southern CA

Red Rock in Orange County

Hike to dramatic red rock formations at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County

Woman standing and observing the red rock formation at the end of a hiking trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County
Woman hiking through the entrance to Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County
Woman standing on a hiking trail staring at giant red rock formation in front of her at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County
Woman hiking on Borrego Canyon Trail in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park in Orange County
Hike in a canyon with red rock cliffs like those seen in Arizona or Utah at Orange County's Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.
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Thanks, Annie!

Hiking Annie's Canyon in Encinitas

Weekend Sherpa writer Matt Pawlik descending into a slot canyon at Annie's Canyon in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Solana Beach
Annie’s Canyon Trail in the 1,000-acre San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve in Solana Beach includes the most unique quarter-mile you’ve ever maneuvered—through a sandstone slot canyon!
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Weekend Sherpa Podcast: Take it Outside

Weekend Sherpa Podcast: Take it Outside

Weekend Sherpa Podcast
Weekend Sherpa Podcast: Take it Outside.
Adventure for your earbuds. What's new in the world of the outdoors? Listen to Weekend Sherpa co-founders discuss local hikes, beaches, bike rides, camping spots and all kinds of travel and adventure in California and beyond!
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Porter Ranch Wander and Ponder

Hike Limekiln Canyon Park in Porter Ranch

Hidden Canyon? Yes! Rock Garden? You got it! Redwoods? Wait ... really? Yes! Head to Limekiln Canyon Park in Porter Ranch for a 3.75-mile out-and-back hike with super San Fernando surprises.
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Trending Stories NorCal

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  1. Woman hiking the Coastal Trail in the Marin Headlands

    Three Beaches to the Wind

    This beautiful 7-mile (round-trip) coastal hike in the Marin Headlands connects three beaches: Muir Beach, Pirates Cove, and Tennessee Cove.

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  2. Damme Good Camping

    Just a few miles south of the town of Mendocino is one of the best hike-in (or bike-in) campgrounds on the California coast. Van Damme State Park follows Little River inland from the ocean, and the nine first-come, first-served environmental campsites can be reached via the Fern Canyon Trail.

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  3. Hike Mount Tamalpais Matt Davis Steep Ravine Dipsea to Stinson Beach

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

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  4. Calaveras Giants

    Contending as some of the tallest, mightiest, and most muscular spectacles in the state are the hulking (and beautiful) trees of Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Hit the trails to witness spectacular groves of giant sequoia redwoods.

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Trending Stories SoCal

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  1. Sponsored

    Best of the Summer Fests!

    Outdoor winery events featuring films, food, wine, live music, and Sonoma’s cinematic scenery in the background: now that’s a blockbuster summer weekend!

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  2. Hiker on Proctor Mountain Loop Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Storied Trail

    If ever there was a fairy trail, this 6.8-mile lollipop loop on Sun Valley’s Proctor Mountain is it. The Proctor Mountain Trail is a storied route in more ways than one, starting with its tranquil oasis memorial for a famous writer, Ernest Hemingway.

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  3. Two bikers on the Wood River Trail in Sun Valley Idaho

    Two Wheels to Zen

    The family-friendly Wood River Trail goes over an historic bridge, past art sculptures and ranch-roaming horses, all amid sprawling green valley and a mountainous backdrop. Roll out from the Farmers Market at River Run Lodge and pedal the 8-mile (round-trip) ride to Sun Valley’s Sawtooth Botanical Garden.

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  4. This Part of the Backbone

    The Ray Miller Trail comprises the final stretch of the Backbone Trail in Malibu’s Point Mugu State Park, and makes an idyllic moderate beach hike during spring and early summer.

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