Looking for an epic day hike in California? These quad-destroying, lung-busting, foot-pummeling hiking trails will reward the fit and prepared with an unforgettable adventure.

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This monster day hike to the summit of the tallest peak in the lower 48 challenges hikers with high altitude (14,000+ feet), long distance (21 miles), big elevation change both up and down, and a competitive permit process!  

Mt. Whitney Summit

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This unique climb from the desert floor to the peak of Mt. San Jacinto offers the biggest elevation gain of any established trail in the US: nearly 11,000 feet! Thankfully for your poor quads, you can take a scenic tram on the way down.

Skyline Trail (Cactus to Clouds)

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This long out-and-back near the Big Sur coastline summits the tallest coastal mountain in the lower 48, offering dizzying views of the Pacific from just a few miles away in the chaparral and pines.

Cone Peak (Sea to Sky)

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This interactive trip planning guide is packed with checklists, key questions, and recommendations to take the worry out of planning your first or biggest backpacking trip.