12 Best Mountain Towns In California That You Need To Visit

California, famous for its bustling cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, also hides within its vast terrain some of the most breathtaking mountain towns, perfect for those craving outdoor adventures and scenic beauty.

1. Murphys & Arnold

Nestled between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park, Murphys and Arnold exude historic charm dating back to the 1840s gold rush. Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a short drive away in Arnold, showcases majestic Sequoias and tranquil trails in Stanislaus National Forest.

2. Truckee

A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts year-round, Truckee boasts scenic spots such as Angela, Flora, and Azalea Lakes. Dive into history at the Emigrant Trail Museum near Donner Memorial State Park or relax at Hampton Inn & Suites Tahoe-Truckee, offering panoramic mountain views.

3. Three Rivers

Known as the gateway to Sequoia National Park, Three Rivers offers unparalleled access to the Sierra Nevada’s beauty. Explore Kings Canyon and the iconic Giant Sequoias of Sequoia National Park, or enjoy the mountain vistas from Lazy J Ranch Motel.

4. Mariposa

A quaint town near Yosemite, Mariposa blends history with natural beauty. Discover local art at The Grove House and immerse yourself in Yosemite’s wonders. Experience a cozy retreat at the Historic Adair House Airbnb steeped in local charm.

5. Oakhurst

Located at Yosemite’s doorstep, Oakhurst invites visitors to Bass Lake’s recreational paradise and the historical Fresno Flats Historical Village. Explore the Madera Wine Trail or enjoy a unique stay at Sierra Meadows tiny homes.

6. Bishop

Nestled in the embrace of the Sierra Nevada, Bishop offers a tranquil retreat famous for Bishop Creek Canyon and volcanic tablelands. Hike the Little Lakes Valley Trail, enjoy bouldering adventures, and relax at Mammoth Mountain Resort.

7. Mammoth Lakes

A beloved destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Mammoth Lakes features spectacular hiking trails and natural hot springs like Wild Willy’s and Crab Cooker. Mammoth Mountain Resort offers year-round activities, including ziplining and spa treatments.

8. Big Bear

Known as Southern California’s Lake Tahoe, Big Bear enchants with scenic trails like Castle Rock Trail and the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain. Explore the Village Shops and book a cozy cabin for an authentic mountain experience.

9. Shasta

Remote and serene, Shasta appeals to adventurers seeking McCloud Falls and volcanic landscapes at Fowlers Campground. Enjoy a peaceful retreat at Comfort Inn Mount Shasta.

10. Sonora & PineCrest Lake

Sonora, rich in gold rush history, offers outdoor escapades such as Dragoon Gulch Trail and PineCrest Lake. Experience the historic charm of Columbia State Historic Park and nearby Nevada City.

11. Lake Arrowhead

Known as the “Alps of Southern California,” Lake Arrowhead captivates with its serene lake and charming village. Enjoy Queen Boat Tours and cozy up in an A-Frame cabin Airbnb for a quintessential mountain getaway.

12. Dunsmuir

Nestled amidst stunning hiking trails like Hedge Creek Falls and Mossbrae Falls, Dunsmuir offers a serene escape. Experience local charm at Mossbrae Hotel and discover its rich fishing heritage.

Whether you’re drawn to California’s natural wonders, historical charm, or outdoor activities, these mountain towns promise an unforgettable adventure. Discover the hidden gems of the Golden State and create memories that last a lifetime.

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