Ten trails. Ten unmatched miles each. Get maximum bang for each boot step on hikes that our most-traveled contributors call their all-time favorites.

The Lost Coast, Sinkyone Wilderness SP

Find yourself among the redwoods and isolated coves of California’s wildest shoreline.

—Dennis Lewon

The first time I hiked the Lost Coast, I was in college and it was spring, the sky was bright and clear, the irises blooming, and the beach campsites utterly deserted. Perfect conditions, at a perfect time in life. So when I heard other hikers have found the trail too wet, too cold, too hard, or all three, and vowed never to return, I wondered: Is my memory unreliable, corrupted by a golden moment I can’t repeat? To find out, I returned again and again over the years, and have experienced the notorious summer fog that erases everything but your buddy a few feet away, and rain so hard that I had to coax my friend to even get out of the car. On my most recent hike there, last July, the poison oak grew so robustly it crossed the trail in places. I remain smitten.