Two young sisters missing since Friday afternoon in a woodland near their California home have been found alive thanks to their survival skills training, granola bars and rubber boots.

Caroline and Leia Carrico, aged five and eight, were last seen outside their home in Benbow, north west of Sacramento, on Friday at around 2.30pm.

The pair were found on Sunday morning after more than 44 hours alone in the woods, Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said.

The girls told their rescuers they were following a deer trail when they had become lost and then instinct kicked in to utilise their survival training.

The two decided to stay put and drink fresh water from Huckleberry leaves.

Ms Carrico was missing for more than 44 hours in the woodland near her California home. Credit: Humboldt County Sheriff

A massive search was underway earlier Sunday in areas of rugged, heavily wooded terrain.

Lt. Mike Findley of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office said search crews came across boot prints in the woods and granola bar wrappers which matched a brand kept at the girls' home.

The girls who went missing on Friday afternoon have now been found 'safe and sound'. Credit: NBC

Sheriff Honsal said the sisters were found "safe and sound" and were uninjured thanks to the survival skills they learned at their local youth club.

"They were safe and sound, still ambulatory, in good spirits, not injured," Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said.

He added: "This is an absolute miracle. This is rugged territory, this is an extreme environment.

"How they were out there for 44 hours is pretty amazing."

He continued: "If your kids lose site of you, stop wherever you are, get to a safe place right there and just hug a tree, hug a bench and that's what these girls did."

Before the girls had disappeared they asked their mum if they could go for a walk - she refused but later noticed the girls were gone.

The Sheriff said: "The two asked to go for a walk," before adding, "The mother said, 'No.' And then, in the course of getting things ready and stuff, she noticed they were missing around 3 o'clock."

The girls were located about 1.4 miles south of where they were last seen, from their home in Benbow, about 200 miles northwest of Sacramento.