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Best Culinary and Outdoor Trails in California

Satisfy your appetite for both food and adventure exploring California’s best culinary and outdoor trails. From sustainable wineries and restaurants to scenic hikes and bike trails, this list offers memorable experiences worth checking out.


Tuolumne County’s Burger and Craft Beverage Trails
The Craft Burger Trail leads to ten places offering burger creations as unique as their innovative chefs and diverse locations. Dine at City Hotel Restaurant, an 1870s historic building; The Grill at Pine Mountain Lake overlooking a golf course; or Andy’s Mountain Grill, famous for its menu of over 20 burgers. Tuolumne County’s Craft Beverage Trail combines wine, beer, cocktails and hard cider. Ten different stops are scattered from Groveland, the gateway to Yosemite, through Jamestown and Sonora. Don’t miss the 160-acre orchard that produces hard cider, apple brandy and fruit-infused vodka at Indigeny Reserve. 

California Cheese Trail and Beer Passport in Sonoma County
Visitors can experience the delights of distinctive, hand-crafted cheeses by following the California Cheese Trail, linking close to 30 farms and creameries. Depending on the property, visitors can reserve full tours, cheese tastings and cheese-making classes, then visit the farm's animals. Every FeBREWary, breweries collaborate to create the Santa Rosa Beer Passport, a guide to explore the world-class craft beer scene in Santa Rosa. The month promotes the area’s brewing heritage, showcases artisan craft beer producers and unites those who make local beer with those who love it.

Monterey County Artichoke Trail
Embark on a culinary adventure along the Monterey County Artichoke Trail, a journey celebrating California's cherished state vegetable. With over 40 enticing stops, including restaurants, farm stands, and attractions, the trail invites visitors to explore ways to savor the artichoke. Start in the "Artichoke Capital of the World," Castroville, and meander down picturesque Highway 1 through captivating locales such as Moss Landing, Marina, Seaside, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Valley and Big Sur. Delight in immersive artichoke farm tours and savor innovative culinary creations, from artichoke cupcakes to burgers and cocktails. Two-thirds of the world's artichokes are grown here, making it a must-visit for food enthusiasts.

Pismo Beach Culinary Trail
Embark on the enchanting coastal trail of Pismo Beach for an exciting culinary adventure. Begin at Seaventure, a beachfront gem offering fresh seafood and unparalleled seaside dining. Continue along the coast to Vespera, where Mediterranean flavors and artisanal cocktails delight the palate. Perched above the sea, Vista entices diners with modern Californian cuisine and panoramic vistas of the Pacific. At the Pismo Pier, the Inn at the Pier beckons with elegant oceanfront dining, a perfect blend of culinary finesse and stunning views. Finish on the boardwalk at Wooly's, a nautical-themed restaurant that serves fresh, classic coastal favorites. Last, follow the boardwalk to a silver Airstream trailer, Sunsets at the Pier, and indulge in delectable dishes while savoring the setting sun. 

Gilroy Taco Trail
Though Gilroy may be best known for its garlic, the town is also home to over 25 tasty taquerias and family-owned Mexican restaurants that are popular with residents and visitors alike. Download a copy of the Gilroy Taco Trail map and plan a Gilroy taco-tasting tour to discover Gilroy’s very best tacos, burritos, enchiladas and other delicious Mexican fare.

Almond Blossom Cruise
Modesto makes it easy and aesthetic to see the almond blossoms in peak bloom with the Almond Blossom Cruise. Visitors and locals alike can hop in their cars and “cruise” through the countryside, stopping at iconic attractions like Knights Ferry Bridge, the longest covered bridge west of the Mississippi; Oakdale, the Cowboy Capital of the World; and Sciabica Olive Oil, the oldest olive producer in the US and two public almond orchards. Visitors can also stop at Rodin Farm and Roberts Ferry Gourmet to walk through the orchards and see the almond blossoms up close. As the largest producer of almonds in Modesto, the almond blossom season wouldn’t be complete without an iconic almond blossom shake available at Robert’s Ferry Gourmet.

Santa Maria Valley’s Tacos, Beer, and Barbecue Map
Santa Maria-style barbecue, the West Coast’s answer to southern brisket and ribs, isn’t the only must-have delicacy in Santa Maria Valley. The Tacos, Beer and Barbecue Map highlights the best tacos, brews and ‘cues on the Central Coast, featuring long-beloved spots like Maya Mexican RestaurantThe Hitching Post in Casmalia, and Naughty Oak Brewing Company. Not only are there 32 locations on the map, but most are within a short walking or driving distance from each other. 

Ice Cream Trail in Tri-Valley
The Tri-Valley Ice Cream Trail is the sweetest of them all featuring 10 indulgent destinations including Meadowlark Dairy, the first certified dairy in California and an institution since the early 1900s.

Olive Oil Trail in Sonoma Valley
The Olive Press was the first olive mill in Sonoma, built on quality and sustainability. They offer olive oil tastings through flights, with or without wine, including an annual Olive Odyssey where locals gather with their hand-picked olives to create olive oil. McEvoy Ranch is a family-owned, 550-acre working farm known for the world's best estate-produced EVOO. B.R. Cohn Winery is home to the first estate olive oil produced in California in over a century when it was first pressed in 1990 and helped launch the California olive oil renaissance. Sonoma’s Italian heritage has made the valley a hotbed for artisan olive oil production, paving the way for Figone Olive Oil Company, which has been crafting specialty olive oils since 1989. 


Start on Steiner: Amador County's First Wine Trail
Start on Steiner is a unique group of nine wineries located on Steiner Road in the historic heart of Amador County's wine country. Located an hour east of Sacramento, the member wineries offer a diverse collection of wineries that highlight the quality of the region and passion for the art of winemaking. 

Temecula Valley Ale Trail 
Whether a beer aficionado is doing some “research,” looking for a palate refresher after a couple of days of wine tasting, or simply looking for a cool spot to grab a drink and a bite, the Temecula Valley Ale Trail overflows with delicious possibilities. In Old Town, stop by Ironfire Brewing for unique ales and lagers, or sit on the patio at Stone Church Brewing for fun people-watching. 

Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in Santa Maria Valley
Along the 30-mile Foxen Canyon Wine Trail are 16 of the finest wineries on the California Central Coast, all with the casual atmosphere and award-winning wine Santa Maria Valley is known for. Santa Maria Valley’s transverse geography and Mediterranean climate create an ideal environment for the region’s varietals to thrive. Wine enthusiasts can find Rhône at the southern end of the trail, full-bodied Syrah towards the middle and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at the trail’s northern end. Every year, the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail Summer Passport grants access to complimentary tastings, 2-for-1 specials, discounts on wine purchases and more. 

Quench Your Thirst for Hard Apple Cider
Apple Hill Growers are famous for its apples, apple pies, apple donuts and candy apples, but the farms’ delicious fruit has also made the area one of the best places for craft hard cider. At least eight of the region's farms produce their take on cider, using a variety of apples grown in Apple Hill. Delfino Farms’ Henrietta Stich hard cider is a tribute to the family matriarch, including Heritage, Whiskey Arkansas Black and Blackberry Hard Ciders. Hidden Star Camino’s taproom specializes in craft hard apple ciders and pours both glasses and flights from sixteen varieties. The laid-back farmstand at Smokey Ridge Ranch is the ideal place to enjoy “prohibition-style” hard apple cider.

Siskiyou's Beer Trail
With Siskiyou County’s endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, it also packs with it some of the best craft beer in Northern California that are perfect after a day on the lake or trail. Siskiyou’s Beer Trail starts in south Siskiyou with Dunsmuir Brewery Works, known for its beer and food. Then head to Siskiyou Brew Works in McCloud, a favorite local nano brewery and pizzeria. The next stop is Pipeline, Mt. Shasta’s newest craft kitchen with a vast beer selection and diversely delicious menu. There’s also Mt. Shasta Brewing in Weed, a longtime local brewery known for its distinct beers and quirky alehouse.

North Lake Tahoe's Ale and Rum Trails
For adventure-seekers in search of the perfect pairing of singletrack and suds or paddling and pints can look no further than the North Lake Tahoe Ale Trail. Tahoe Brew Tours offers visitors the chance to taste a region-spanning flight of locally crafted beer. These all-inclusive experiences include transportation, appetizers and no shortage of Tahoe-brewed libations. There’s also the Tahoe Rum Trail, a collection of five restaurants and bars around the North Lake Tahoe shoreline featuring specialty rum cocktails. The Trail consists of Pier 111Gar WoodsJake’s On The LakeSunnyside and Chambers Landing – each with its iconic rum beverage.

O'side Sips Trail in Oceanside
Oceanside has a vibrant craft beverage scene including everything from craft beer to wine tasting rooms, craft coffee, tea and homegrown spirits. The O’side Sips Trail makes it easy for visitors to find and explore them all right from their mobile phones. Sign up for the free O’side Sips program and try award-winning craft beer, coffee beans roasted locally, grapes harvested in the famed SoCal region, and cocktails crafted by distillers in the heart of Downtown O’side, all while scoring discounts and earning prizes. Simply select a preferred drink category, check in at the destination and enjoy. Many participating O’Side Sips trail businesses are located on or around South Coast Highway making it easy to walk the trail and enjoy craft beverages.

Walnut Creek Cocktail Trail
The Walnut Creek Cocktail Trail is a do-it-yourself experience to explore the city’s crafty cocktail scene. Visit and sip on cocktails from participating locations to earn points for exclusive Walnut Creek Cocktail merchandise that can only be attained by earning enough check-in points on the trail. Prizes include a cork-backed coaster, baseball tee and embroidered dad hat. 

Tri-Valley’s Wine and Caffeine Trails
The Livermore Valley Wine Trail winds through the Livermore Valley AVA, a relaxed wine region producing outstanding wines in the San Francisco Bay Area. Home to more than 55 wineries, it’s one of the oldest wine regions in the country. The Tri-Valley Caffeine Trail is a unique collection of cafés, coffee houses and tea rooms each with their own special set of peps and perks. 

SLO California Distillery Trail
The SLO CAL Distillery Trail showcases 19 regional distilleries and tasting rooms, five of which are located within the City of SLO limits. Experience the art of artisanal distillation and get an insider's look at the process with gleaming copper stills in San Luis Obispo. Highlights in SLO include Rambling Spirits, a distillery, bar and restaurant born from its founders' love of California living; Rod & Hammer's SLO Stills, producer of SLO-crafted cask bourbon, rye whiskey, straight bourbon, and limited-edition reserve bottles; KROBĀR Craft Distillery, a contemporary tasting space with plenty of lounging space; and La Esquina Distillery, producer of a selection of premium tequilas.

Buffalo Milk Cocktail Trail on Catalina Island
In 1924, a herd of Bison was brought to Catalina Island for the filming of a silent movie but escaped their enclosure. They have since become a permanent fixture in Catalina Island’s history and landscape. "Buffalo Milk" was created in the 1970s by a bartender at Harbor Reef in Two Harbors. Since then, the Buffalo Milk Cocktail has become Catalina Island's “official” specialty cocktail. The Buffalo Milk Trail includes 16 bars and restaurants serving the Island’s signature cocktail. The frothy concoction includes bananas, Kahlua, vodka, crème de cacao, and crème de bananas – no buffalo milk required!


Run Catalina Island
Run Catalina offers California's ultimate trail marathon, half-marathon and newly added triathlon that challenges participants and leaves them with unforgettable memories. The trails, exclusively available to the public during Run Catalina events, provide the most scenic views, epic climbs, fast downhills, gorgeous peaks, beautiful vistas and much more. The race series also actively supports the work of the Catalina Island Conservancy, a non-profit conservation organization working to help keep Catalina wild.

Accessible Trail Access in Ukiah
The Ukiah Valley Trail Group (UVTG) announced a pledge of $50,000 to assist with the City of Ukiah's acquisition of a key western hills property. The acquisition creates a land bridge between two city-owned properties and opens opportunities for a convenient trailhead and sustainable trails with comfortable grades, providing access to seven hundred acres of western hills public land. UVTG’s mission is to create and maintain a trail system in inland Mendocino County that will enhance the community's quality of life and health, where nobody travels more than 10 minutes to reach a trailhead.

Natural Wonders in Murrieta
Murrieta blends natural beauty with culinary delights. Boasting 1,350 acres of hiking trails, it offers an array of diverse outdoor spaces, including 53 parks that serve as both natural retreats and vibrant cultural hubs. Explore trails like the La Alba Trail for mountain biking, the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve and the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness, offering varied terrain from meadows and woodlands to historic structures and waterfalls. 

Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve
The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, located at the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains near Temecula, is a hidden gem that offers great hiking and a glimpse into the region's history. Consisting of 9,000 acres, the Reserve protects unique ecosystems such as Engelmann oak woodlands, riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, bunchgrass prairie, and vernal pools as well as more than 200 species of native birds and 49 endangered, threatened, or rare animal and plant species. Located less than 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the Plateau’s mild climate made it an ideal habitat for people. 

Castle Crags Trail
Castle Crags is one of the most unique trails that Northern California has to offer. The 6000ft granite spires have been likened to the Italian Dolomites by hikers and social media influencers alike. Start by heading straight up through dense forest, and emerge at the base of the famous crags. From there, the hike remains steep but is now rocky and exhilarating - perfect for those adventurous in spirit. This moderate to hard hike rewards the hiker with remarkable views of Mount Shasta and the surrounding mountains.

Discovery Trail at Terranea Resort
Set along the Palos Verdes Peninsula, Terranea Resort’s 102 acres provide unparalleled access to explore its stunning oceanfront views and surrounding natural habitat. Within the resort’s acreage is the Discovery Trail, a two-mile scenic excursion for strolling visitors, hiking enthusiasts and resort guests alike. Terranea offers weekly guided coastal hikes (Saturdays, 9:30 a.m.). This naturalist-led tour guides participants along the Discovery Trail, which includes several picturesque viewpoints and oceanfront moments to capture, including nearby historic Point Vincente Lighthouse. The Discovery Trail is open to the public and the perfect oceanfront hike any time of year.

Jeff Shelton Architectural Walking Tour
When wandering the streets of Santa Barbara, some may notice a few buildings that stand out from the rest. Follow the Jeff Shelton Walking Tour for one-of-a-kind designs and to see a playful and captivating twist on the Spanish Revival architectural style Santa Barbara is known for. Shelton’s designs range from the Ablitt Tower, which appears to be straight out of a Dr. Seuss dream, to Vera Cruz, a lime green house “tiled” in paintings. While each building tells its own story, they all display the same playfulness and precise detailing in the intricate ironwork, whimsical sculptures, and colorful tiling.

McCloud Falls
A simple and beautiful hike along the McCloud River, featuring three large waterfalls – the Lower, Middle, and Upper McCloud Falls. This is an easy trail to follow with parking at all three falls. Swimming and cliff jumping are popular on this trail, as well as kayaking from the Lower Falls to McCloud Reservoir. This hike is perfect for beginners and families with children although there are some steeper sections on the trail when heading from the Middle to the Upper Falls. Picnic areas and campsites are available as well.

Literal Trails in SLO City Limits
When in the mood for a leisurely nature stroll, a challenging hike, an invigorating mountain bike ride or a relaxed cruise to enjoy coffee with friends, San Luis Obispo offers many outdoor adventures. Boasting over 60 miles of trails and 7,000 acres of open space within the city limits alone, San Luis Obispo is a haven for explorers of all kinds. Most trails are covered in wildflowers in March and April and will offer stunning views of the city.

Trail on Trails in Pacifica
Pacifica is home to over 100 miles of hiking and biking trails perfect for exploring during any season. Enjoy Mori Point for views of the coastline where the bluff protrudes out into the ocean and offers views from Point Reyes to Pedro Point. Another great option for all skill levels is Milagra Ridge, as the path is mostly level and paved. Hikers and bikers can take in the views of the city and coastline as they make their way along this trail. San Pedro Valley Park is a 1,052-acre area that offers picnic sites with barbecue pits, a self-guiding nature trail, hiking trails, and views of the seasonal Brooks Waterfall. There are multiple trails available for varying skill levels with some of the most popular being the Montara Mountain Trail and Brooks Falls Loop. Other trails in town include Sweeney RidgePedro Point Headlands Trail and Devil’s Slide Trail.

San Diego Botanic Garden
Enjoy the beauty of nature at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Encompassing 37 acres, visitors can enjoy four miles of trails and ocean views, 5,300 plant species and varieties, and 29 uniquely themed gardens. Garden highlights include 100 different species of bamboo, the largest collection in North America, and geographic gardens featuring plants from around the world. San Diego Botanic Garden also offers an ongoing series of wellness classes including Open Air Yoga and Forest/Sound Bathing. Memberships start at $55 per person and include unlimited admission, discounts to events and workshops, a 10% discount to the Gift and Plant shop and a complimentary guest pass.

San Elijo Lagoon in Encinitas
Whether you are a runner, hiker, birder, photographer or painter, San Elijo Lagoon, located in Encinitas, provides natural solace and recreation. One of San Diego’s largest wetlands, this 979-acre reserve is primarily a shallow-water estuary. From sunrise to sunset, explore seven miles of easy-to-moderate dog-friendly trails. Trails connect wetland habitats of coastal strands, salt marsh, freshwater/brackish marsh, riparian scrub, coastal sage scrub and mixed chaparral. Kids will enjoy TRACK Trails, a nature-themed scavenger hunt to win prizes online. The nearly 1000-acre reserve is home to more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, many rare and endangered. While birds are the most prominent wildlife, species of mammals, fish, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates depend on the lagoon.

Boulder and Bike in Vacaville
Vacaville is home to one of the state's most technical biking descents. Mix Canyon is an adventurous cyclist's dream. A half-mile stretch of the biking trail appears as the sixth spot in the toughest 1/2 mile climbing section category (15.4%) for Most Technical Descent in Northern California. With more than 50 boulders boasting nicknames like Bloody Madness, Stoned Dangler and Space Lord, the Nut Tree Boulders make for an epic day of bouldering while enjoying sweeping views of the region. Most boulders are around 10-20 feet, but there’s the occasional 30-foot climb. The best time to come is in the winter and on cooler spring or fall days.