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Backpacker standing at the edge of a cliff.

6 Epic NorCal Backpacking Trips


NorCal is full of epic backpacking destinations. StorQuest Self Storage is here to help you find the best ones with this list filled with our favorites. Disclaimer: Keep in mind it’s wildfire season in California, so be sure to check for trail closures before you hit the road.

Emigrant Wilderness Loop

A nearly 20-mile loop trail, the Emigrant Wilderness Loop is an awesome candidate for a two- or three-day trip into the Stanislaus National Forest backcountry. It features more than 3,000 feet in elevation gain to challenge your legs and some pretty amazing views to appease your senses. Think serene lakes, epic rock formations, and picture-perfect meadows. Add it to your backpacking trip list now. You won’t regret it.

Lost Coast Trail

For a true NorCal backpacking experience, check out the Lost Coast Trail. This 25ish-mile trek along rugged coastal terrain is hard to beat. From the chance to spot creatures like sea lions, otters, and elephant seals to up-close views of Northern California’s unspoiled coastal landscape, this is a backpacking trip that definitely belongs on your bucket list. Just make sure to spend some time researching your trip before setting out. Pay extra attention to the tide schedule and be sure to set up camp beyond the water’s reach.

John Muir Trail

Looking for a once-in-a-lifetime backpacking journey? The John Muir Trail is your spot. Target a section of the 213.7-mile trail that speaks to you or tackle the whole thing if you have the time. This long-distance gem runs from Yosemite National Park all the way to Mount Whitney – the tallest mountain in California at 14.495 feet. It takes you through three national parks and follows the path of the Pacific Crest Trail while offering up an unbeatable up-close glimpse at the High Sierra backcountry.

Redwood National Park

Get your fix of Northern California’s ancient redwoods with a hike through Redwood National Park. With nearly 200 miles of trail, you can choose your adventure with a trek alongside towering redwoods – and alongside California’s northernmost coastline’s unreal landscape. Trails here include the famed Tall Trees Grove hike, which takes you to an iconic redwood tree grove featuring some of the tallest trees in the world. 

Rae Lakes Loop

Rae lakes Loop is more Central California than Northern California, but it’s worth the slightly longer haul to check it off the bucket list. This 41.4-mile loop trail serves up stunning views of the rugged and mountainous southern Sierra. With nearly 7,000 feet in elevation gain along the popular route in Kings Canyon National Park, you’ll definitely earn those epic views of glacier-carved canyons, alpine lakes, and jagged peaks. There are countless spots to camp along the way. Do some research and make it happen. Whether you tackle the full loop or opt for a shorter trek, the payoff is unreal.

Mount Whitney

If you’re looking to bag the tallest peak in California, Mount Whitney is your spot. This 14,494-foot peak is at the edge of Sequoia National Park. The trailhead starts at 8,360 feet and you work your way up the craggy, nearly 11-mile path to the top. Some make the trip in a day, though it’s best experienced as a backpacking adventure. Do some research beforehand and make sure to line up the necessary permit before hitting the trail.

Awesome’s Always Around the Corner

Make room and make your bucket list backpacking trips happen with a StorQuest Self Storage. We have nine locations in the Sacramento area and many more throughout NorCal to help you create the ultimate locker for all your camping and backpacking gear.

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