Best Hiking Spots Near LA
JUNE 1, 2016
Summer is here! What better way to enjoy it with a hike close by? And you can also get a step closer to your summer body with all the intense exercise. Two birds one stone, right? Here is a list of amazing spots to explore!
We know you all love this one! This is one of the most popular and most accessible hikes in L.A. There’s a gently graded paved path for beginners, a rare off-leash dog area for our canine friends, free yoga near the Fuller Avenue entrance, and a surprisingly rugged outer loop that will definitely give you a good workout. And it’s a great place to watch the sunset!
CAHUENGA PEAK AND THE WISDOM TREE
There are many ways to hike to the back of the Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park, but only one that feels like an actual wilderness adventure. The recently-added trail to Cahuenga Peak passes the beloved Wisdom Tree (the only tree in the area to survive an early 2007 fire), hops along a ridge on some gorgeous single-track, and then finally joins with the more tourist-friendly paved route on the back of Mount Lee. If you want to hike to the Hollywood Sign and still have a bit of solitude, this is the hike for you.
BEAUDRY FIRE ROAD to the VERDUGOS
North of Glendale and east of Burbank lie the Verdugo Mountains, a rugged little island of nature inside a sea of urban sprawl. These peaks are lined with old fire roads and ridge trails and are a popular yet uncrowded destination for hikers and mountain bikers alike. On clear days, you’ll have commanding views of the L.A. Basin and you won’t have to drive very far to get there.
ERNEST E. DEBS REGIONAL PARK
This lovely park next to the Arroyo Seco is a great, dog-friendly gem with a variety of terrain and great views. The top-notch Audubon Center near the park’s western entrance hosts family friendly events, is staffed by friendly and knowledgeable volunteers, and will even let you take out a pair of binoculars for some of the park’s excellent bird-watching. And it’s just a short walk from a Gold Line stop!
KENNETH HAHN COMMUNITY LOOP TRAIL
Chances are you’ve driven through this park on the way to LAX, noticed the oil rigs and just kept driving. But if you stop to explore you’ll find a hidden gem – one of the largest open spaces in Los Angeles. Featuring strands of dense wood, huge open meadows, and some fascinating L.A. history, this park is also a destination for photographers on those gorgeous, clear L.A. days. With views stretching from the Pacific Ocean past Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background, it’s not hard to see why.
This trail will take you to the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, past jagged peaks, riparian canyons, and popular rock climbing routes. With killer views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Bay, this is an absolute must-hike.
LOS LIONES TRAIL to PARKER MESA
The Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa is a lush, moderate trail that climbs from the Pacific Palisades into Topanga State Park to the top of Parker Mesa and one of the most incredible coastal views in Los Angeles.
Temescal Canyon‘s loop trail offers a steep, shaded canyon or a more gradual sunny ascent. It also features a seasonal waterfall, strange rock formations, and stunning coastal views – all right at the Westside’s doorstep.
MALIBU CREEK STATE PARK
Rock climbing, lakes and rivers, twisted California geology, ranching and film history – oh, and gorgeous scenery. Malibu Creek State Park has it all – and whether you’re taking a flat stroll along the Canyon floor or climbing the ridge of the Castro Crest, this park is definitely worth your time.
The popular Solstice Canyon Trail will take you through a shaded canyon past the oldest standing stone structure and oldest living tree in Malibu to the ruins of a 1950s mansion nestled beside a small, tiered waterfall.
At 10,064 feet, this is the highest point in Los Angeles County, the highest peak in the San Gabriel range, and the third highest peak in Southern California. This leg-busting and exhilarating loop route features jaw-dropping views and hair-raising ridgeline trails that will make you question whether or not you’re really only an hour from L.A.
SANTA ANITA CANYON
Santa Anita Canyon is probably the most beautiful river canyon in Southern California. This stellar loop winds through a canyon dotted with historic cabins and two waterfalls, including 50-foot Sturtevant Falls. While the falls can be crowded, the trail above the falls is idyllic and serene, the canyon floors covered in ivy. There are several campsites here and junctions with longer trails – and you won’t be able to believe you’re in Southern California.
BRIDGE TO NOWHERE
If you like river crossings and forgotten L.A. history, put the Bridge to Nowhere on your list. This epic 10 mile out-and-back follows (and crosses) the East Fork of the San Gabriel River deep into the mountains, where engineers tried to cut a road in the 1930s. The great flood of ’38 washed most of the road away, except for a 120-foot concrete arch bridge that still stands. This flat hike is great in the summer and will wipe you out – and is definitely worth fighting the crowds at the trailhead.
After the Civil War, the nation’s first military aeronaut retired to Southern California and built a sprawling resort and observatory complex in the San Gabriel Mountains. You could take the old Red Car train from downtown L.A. right to the hotels via a winding railway or an exciting funicular. Time and fire have claimed most of the buildings, but many ruins of the resort are still waiting for you just north of Altadena.
This prominent and popular peak is a bit of a drive down the long and winding Angeles Crest Highway, but the trip to Mount Baden-Powell is worth it. This beautifully designed trail switchbacks its way up to the 9,407-foot high summit named in honor of the founder of the Scouting movement. Along the way you’ll get incredible views of the Antelope Valley, hike past 1500 year-old limber pines (and probably some snow), and end up on a summit with nearly 360 degree views of the landscape.
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