Panoramic vistas and fresh salt air await hikers who venture to the edge of the continent.
"Whenever I'm driving along the Oregon Coast, I always try to stop at Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. The Saint Perpetua Trail is short and steep. Once you reach the summit, though, it's worth it. You're 800 feet above the water, and the views extend for miles in both directions." —Barbara Vaughan
"I like to call Devil's Slide Trail, near Pacifica, California, ‘Another Day in Paradise.' The 1.3-mile-long path hugs the coast high above the Pacific. Seabirds congregate on the rocks below, and raptors soar overhead." —Virginia Larson
"The Coastal Trail at Lands End starts just north of the Cliff House restaurant in San Francisco. Walk the blufftop trail, and you'll pass Baker Beach, Marshall's Beach, and artillery batteries still standing from World War II. The path ends with a lovely view of the Golden Gate Bridge." —Patrick Paine
"When I summited Mount Young (aka Young Hill) in Washington's San Juan Islands, I could see the Olympic Mountains in the south, coastal bays below, and Victoria, B.C., to the west, beyond the waters of Haro Strait. It was magnificent!" —Carole Fredy
Editors' Pick: While Highway 1 delivers glorious views at warp speed, Kortum Trail lets you explore Northern California's Sonoma coast at a walk. Pause to admire the wild irises, dip down to a pocket beach, and soak up the sound of the waves.
"I highly recommend climbing Neahkahnie Mountain on the Oregon Coast. The north trail winds through a series of switchbacks, into a forest, and finally to the rocky summit. On a clear day, you can see Nehalem Bay, the city of Manzanita, and miles of gorgeous coastline." —Bruce Warner
"At the start of the trail to Tomales Point, in California's Point Reyes National Seashore, swallows dart in and out of old farm buildings. Continue along the nine-mile outand- back trail, and you'll see cormorant antics and a quilt of wildflowers. Afterward, head to McClures Beach to walk in the sand." —Mary Joy Renfro
"The moment you spot the finlike rock jutting from the water in Shark Fin Cove, you'll realize how the area got its name. I love this hike near Davenport, California, because it's beautiful, and the path down to the beach is fairly short." —Margaret Carthell
"I love exploring the Point Arena–Stornetta Public Lands in Northern California. Walk the headlands and you'll see waves crashing, sinkholes where water washes in through tunnels, and in the distance, the lighthouse." —Leonard Schwab