Half Dome: Yosemite National Park, CA
A permit is necessary for the cable section of the trail. It’s worth considering, seeing as Half Dome is a phenomenal hike. There’s a reason for the cable section—the dome is steep. At 14 miles, this hike is very difficult. Warning: people have died attempting this, both with and without the cables. For the brazen, it’s well worth it.
Start from the Mist Trail at dawn, ascend 900 feet past gigantic Vernal waterfall, and then Nevada Fall. Wear hiking boots with good traction. Bring at least a gallon of water. After the sub-dome you’ll have reached the cables. Grip them tightly and take your time. At the top of Half Dome are the most stunning views. Do not attempt this hike in rainy weather.
The Lost Coast Trail: King Range National Conservation Area, CA
The Lost Coast Trail covers a distance of 25 miles, so be prepared for a multi-day event. It’s epic. From Mattole Trailhead in Northern California the historic Punta Gorda Lighthouse can be visited, then comes the coastline on soft sand and rocky beaches, and private beaches where it’s possible to camp. There’s also redwood groves, fern grottoes, and rugged overlooks of the Pacific. Before the southern Usal trailhead, a bluff with a vista over one-thousand feet above the ocean provides whale-spotting opportunities.