Hiking is almost a rite of passage in L.A. Whether you’re native born or a transplant, a nature fiend or an indoor kid, hitting one of the city’s many trails at one point or another is unavoidable. In the name of embracing the thigh-grinders, the casual jaunts, the ones with perfect ocean views, and everything in between, here are 50 incredible treks you can’t miss:
- 1. Bronson Canyon
- 2. The Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak
- 3. The Grotto Trail
- 4. Wilacre Park
- 5. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
- 6. Los Liones Canyon
- 7. Malibu Creek State Park
- 8. Trail Canyon Falls
- A photo posted by Jax the Boston Terrier (@btjaxfrisbee) on Jan 29, 2017 at 10:51am PST
- 9. Switzer Falls
- A photo posted by Mark Thompson II (@mark_thompson.ll) on Jan 20, 2017 at 5:13pm PST
- 10. Fern Dell Hiking Trail
- A photo posted by Modern Hiker (@modernhiker) on Jan 4, 2017 at 10:41am PST
- 11. Paradise Falls
- 12. Newton Canyon Falls
- A photo posted by Nathaniel Kaufman (@decafkaufyy) on Jan 6, 2017 at 7:22pm PST
- 13. Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks
- 14. Temescal Canyon Park
- 15. Bridge to Nowhere
- 16. Ernest E Debs Regional Park
- 17. Fish Canyon Narrows
- 18. Mount Lowe Railway
- 19. La Jolla Valley
- 20. East Canyon Trail
- 21. Cooper Canyon
- 22. Sandstone Peak
- 23. Griffith Park
- 24. Stunt High Trail
- 25. Mount Baldy
- 26. Griffith Observatory West Trail Loop
- 27. Palisades Park
- 28. Santa Monica Beach and South Bay Bike Path
- 29. LMU Running Trail
- 30. California Coastal Trail
- 31. Mural Mile
- 32. The Arroyo Seco and Rose Bowl Loop
- 33. Parks of Frogtown
- 34. Escondido Canyon
- 35. Hermosa Valley Greenbelt
- 36. Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
- 37. Backbone Trail
- 38. Corriganville Park
- 39. Mount Baden-Powell Trail
- 40. Charmlee Wilderness Park
- 41. Franklin Canyon Park
- 42. Stoney Point Park
- 43. Seascape Trail
- 44. Solstice Canyon Loop Trails
- 45. Santa Monica Boardwalk
- 46. Sara Wan Trailhead
- 47. Zuma Canyon Ocean View Trail
- 48. Point Dume Cove Trail
- 49. Paseo Miramar Trail
- 50. Tuna Canyon Park Trail
- Hikes in Los Angeles: 7 trails with spectacular endings
- Best Hikes in Los Angeles
- SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS
- SANDSTONE PEAK
- LOS LIONES TRAIL to PARKER MESA
- TEMESCAL CANYON
- MALIBU CREEK STATE PARK
- SOLSTICE CANYON
- SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS
- MOUNT BALDY
- SANTA ANITA CANYON
- BRIDGE TO NOWHERE
- ECHO MOUNTAIN
- MOUNT BADEN-POWELL
- CITY PARKS
- RUNYON CANYON
- CAHUENGA PEAK AND THE WISDOM TREE
- BEAUDRY FIRE ROAD to the VERDUGOS
- ERNEST E. DEBS REGIONAL PARK
- KENNETH HAHN COMMUNITY LOOP TRAIL
- HOLLYWOOD SIGN EXPERIENCE – CLOSEST HIKE TO THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN!
- How to Hike to the Hollywood Sign
- Hike To The Hollywood Sign With Us.
- The Best Hiking Trails In LA for a Sweaty (and Scenic) Workout
1. Bronson Canyon
With views of three major Hollywood landmarks (the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and Bronson Cave), this trail is basically a slightly sweatier version of the Starline bus tour. Griffith Park is famed for its views of the Hollywood Sign, but take the path to Bronson Canyon to check out the tunnel entrance of the ’60s era Batcave. The cave was even the home of a pop-up ice cream parlor last weekend. The canyon also delivers a stunning view of the Griffith Observatory, which appeared in the classic James Dean film Rebel Without A Cause.
2. The Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak
The three-mile loop is tame, but don’t underestimate the 1,821 foot elevation—bring water. Be sure to visit the Wisdom Tree at the top, rumored to have been the sole survivor of a wildfire in 2007. The tree is so photogenic; it even has its own Instagram account. Hikers looking to extend the trail can continue on to the Hollywood Sign at the peak, and the less zealous have an easy, downhill return.
3. The Grotto Trail
A photo posted by natalie (@n4.t) on Aug 3, 2016 at 8:19pm PDT
The standing water that gives the trail this name might be low, but the surrounding geography is as gorgeous as ever: towering boulders, shady nooks, and a few friendly frogs. The hike isn’t dauntingly difficult, but visitors should expect to get a bit dirty and sweaty scrambling over rocks inside the grotto. The lopsided climb makes descending a breeze, but the return trip is mostly uphill. Pro tip: Park at the nearby Circle X Ranch campground.
4. Wilacre Park
The dog-friendly trail is popular with locals for its free parking and moderate incline, making it the perfect addition to your weekend hike rotation. When you reach a fork in the trail, go right for a quick hike or left for the more challenging (and scenic) route. In addition to local fauna, the trail is also home to a few Pokémon and doubles as a Pokéstop. In other words, it’s the perfect place to hatch a few eggs and expand your Pokédex.
5. Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
A photo posted by @paulw495 on Aug 18, 2016 at 1:28am PDT
Most scenic L.A. hikes provide views of the ocean or Griffith Observatory, but these trails provide a stunning view of downtown. The area is the regular home of regional cross-country races, giving it good workout cred. Additionally, the park itself is well stocked with attractions like picnic areas, running paths, and a Japanese garden.
6. Los Liones Canyon
Ocean views and the refreshing Malibu breeze make this less-traveled hiking spot one of the most picturesque on the Westside. The 1.5 mile Los Liones trail is the perfect pre-brunch hike, but visitors looking to get in a good workout can do the seven-mile loop to the Parker Mesa Overlook.
7. Malibu Creek State Park
Easily accessible rock pools make Malibu Creek one of L.A.’s best loved hikes, and for good reason. New hikers just need to follow the stream and the happy shouts of jumping hikers—diving is technically forbidden but still common. The trail continues on to Century Lake, the setting of a couple scenes from the 1968 Planet of the Apes film, for a pleasant 5.7 mile loop.
8. Trail Canyon Falls
A photo posted by Jax the Boston Terrier (@btjaxfrisbee) on Jan 29, 2017 at 10:51am PST
Big Tujunga Creek is a major tributary of the L.A. River, streaming through the steep canyon walls of the San Gabriel Mountains to reach the Pacific Ocean. The connecting falls, nestled in the Angeles National Forest, are one of L.A.’s best kept secrets. A fire road is quickly transformed into a tree-shaded mountain pass that becomes quite steep and narrow as the falls approach. Keep an eye out for snakes, as they are occasionally spotted on the trail.
9. Switzer Falls
La Canada Flintridge
A photo posted by Mark Thompson II (@mark_thompson.ll) on Jan 20, 2017 at 5:13pm PST
The rain has transformed the Angeles National Forest, making the foliage flourish and water stream down the fifty-foot falls. Keep your feet dry by using logs to cross the small creeks that stud the dog-friendly trail, and be sure to wear sensible shoes to avoid slipping. Start at the Switzer Falls Picnic Area in Colby Canyon, then head down the Gabrielino Trail about two miles to reach the waterfall. A $5 Adventure Pass is required for parking.
10. Fern Dell Hiking Trail
A photo posted by Modern Hiker (@modernhiker) on Jan 4, 2017 at 10:41am PST
Nestled inside Griffith Park, this tree-lined trail is ideal for adventurers of all ages. The recent rainfall has made the area’s plentiful vegetation impossibly lush, giving a fairy tale quality to the wooden footbridges and tiny waterfalls that line the path. Traversing the trail doesn’t take long, but the plentiful park benches, giant ferns, and koi ponds make lingering a pleasure. Consider it the perfect urban oasis.
11. Paradise Falls
A 2.5 mile loop winds past a teepee and small cave to reach the forty-foot waterfall that gives Paradise Falls its name. The water quality is too poor for swimming, but the falls feed into a rock grotto that acts as an excellent spot to sit and take in the view. Extend your hike by continuing on to nearby Lizard Rock, where a fairly steep incline results in impressive views of Wildwood Regional Park.
12. Newton Canyon Falls
A photo posted by Nathaniel Kaufman (@decafkaufyy) on Jan 6, 2017 at 7:22pm PST
13. Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks
Santa Monica Mountains
The seven-mile loop takes hikers up the Backbone Trail past fields of wildflowers to the top of Sandstone peak. It’s gorgeous but strenuous, so don’t underestimate the climb. Nestled high in the Santa Monica Mountains, the summit holds a registry where successful hikers leave their names and (sometimes) witty trail commentary.
14. Temescal Canyon Park
A photo posted by olivia barry (@_oliviabarry) on Apr 17, 2016 at 2:08pm PDT
Make it to the top of Temescal Canyon’s winding trails and your prize is a panoramic view of Los Angeles. On a clear day, the hike up to Skull Rock will reward you with vistas of the ocean and the westside.
15. Bridge to Nowhere
San Gabriel Mountains
The almost-ten mile trail follows the San Gabriel River through spiky yucca plants and hot, rocky mountains to reach the giant Bridge to Nowhere—a failed government project turned bungee jumping destination. The hike can be punishing, so start early to avoid a wave of afternoon heat.
16. Ernest E Debs Regional Park
No need to leave your pup at home on a trip to Debs, where manageable inclines and shady spots make for an especially canine friendly jaunt. The on-site pond is ideal for a game of water-logged fetch.
17. Fish Canyon Narrows
Angeles National Forest
18. Mount Lowe Railway
19. La Jolla Valley
20. East Canyon Trail
Santa Susana Mountains
21. Cooper Canyon
Angeles National Forest
22. Sandstone Peak
Santa Monica Mountains
At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. The summit can be reached via a 6.25-mile loop with 1,075 feet of elevation gain that offers expansive views of the range. Forty minutes from Santa Monica, you will feel like you are embarking on a true adventure.
23. Griffith Park
24. Stunt High Trail
Santa Monica Mountains
25. Mount Baldy
San Gabriel Mountains
26. Griffith Observatory West Trail Loop
Dogs are welcome in the Griffith Park and West Trail Loop. There is a quaint picnic area at the base where you can relax with friends and have lunch before taking off on the path to the top, where you’ll enjoy views of the city and observatory.
27. Palisades Park
If there was a ‘see and be seen’ place for dogs, this would be it. Whether it’s early in the morning or the sun is setting, there is never a shortage of dogs walking, running or hanging out with their owners. There are also meet-up groups and social gatherings where dogs can get together and play.
28. Santa Monica Beach and South Bay Bike Path
Quintessential Southern California, this path will take you from Santa Monica through the oddities of Venice Beach all the way to Marina Del Rey. The only caveat: At the start of the path in Santa Monica, you will be sharing road with bikers, roller bladers, walkers, and runners.
29. LMU Running Trail
This unknown trail offers runners and walkers a little serenity from the city only a short drive away. Right off Lincoln Boulevard, this dirt trail provides views of Playa Vista and the ocean. Since it’s never crowded, dogs are mostly found off-leash running the trail with their owners.
30. California Coastal Trail
You can hop on and off this trail anywhere along the coast of California. As south as San Diego, and as north as Del Norte, you can see great ocean views throughout the state. If you’re just planning on a day-hike in L.A., the best places to pick the trail up are in Malibu and Santa Monica.
31. Mural Mile
Throughout a three mile radius in Pacoima City, you can see over 50 murals done by local artists. Take a stroll and and admire the art that now defines the area.
32. The Arroyo Seco and Rose Bowl Loop
The Arroyo is an 11 mile hike starting in the San Gabriel mountains. To do the whole thing, you better be up to the challenge of steep heights. But if you just want a casual day-hike, go straight to the Rose Bowl loop in the middle of the trail. This 3.1 mile section is perfect for walking the dog, and taking a simple stroll.
33. Parks of Frogtown
Also known as Elysian Valley, Frogtown is home to a quaint trail used mainly by those in the neighborhood. The hike offers heights and great views of the Valley and downtown, and is still an easy trip.
34. Escondido Canyon
Leached dogs are welcome on this 4.2 mile hike, as are mountain bikers and equestrians.
35. Hermosa Valley Greenbelt
Take a 3.5 mile trek from Redondo beach to Manhattan beach. Walking, jogging and biking welcome. The trail is also handicap accessible.
36. Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail
If you’re looking for a hike up north, this San Fran trail will provide views and a bit of history.
37. Backbone Trail
This trail through the Santa Monica mountains is long, but you can stop at any point to pick it up for a day. Dogs on leashes welcome.
38. Corriganville Park
San Fernando Valley
Families and kids will enjoy the 1.2 mile trail along a sandstone rock outcropping. Make sure to check out the hummingbird trail.
39. Mount Baden-Powell Trail
San Gabriel Mountains
This trail is for serious hikers. Trek the 8.9 mile trail and enjoy the scenery of beautiful wild flowers from March – October. Dogs allowed.
40. Charmlee Wilderness Park
Hike near the coast at Charmlee Wilderness Park, a 590-acre reserve overlooking the pacific. This 8 mile trail is sure to have something for hikers of all levels.
41. Franklin Canyon Park
Centered between Beverly Hills and the San Fernando Valley this trail-seeker wonderland offers beauty and accessibility. Visitors can check out the duck pond which is wheelchair accessible.
42. Stoney Point Park
Located off the 118 fwy check out this rock climbers paradise. Massive boulders come together to form caves and grooves that will keep you exploring for hours.
43. Seascape Trail
Hike near coastal bluffs at this family-friendly trail. Don’t worry about elevation change, this beginner level trail only descends 40 feet from the main trail to the coast.
44. Solstice Canyon Loop Trails
This trail is perfect for hiking, walking and trail running. Considered a moderate trail, make sure to make it to the waterfall. Dogs allowed.
45. Santa Monica Boardwalk
This gem of a trail is perfect for couples. Cross the 3.3 mile trail and enjoy a drink from one of the local shops along the boardwalk.
46. Sara Wan Trailhead
Located on a 1,000-acre reserve, Sara Wan offers several options including picnic areas, hiking trails and an educational center.
47. Zuma Canyon Ocean View Trail
If the appeal of an ocean-side hike isn’t enough to get you going, what if we said you can bring your pup, too? Zuma Canyon Ocean View Trail offers a single track trail and steep inclines. Make sure to stretch before tackling this beast.
48. Point Dume Cove Trail
Love wild flowers? Then this trail is for you. Designated as easy-peasy this 1.4 mile trail is all about enjoying the scenery.
49. Paseo Miramar Trail
This moderate trail offers 5 miles of scenic glory. Tucked in the quiet city of Pacific Palisades trek this trail with your special someone. Or alone. Alone is fine.
50. Tuna Canyon Park Trail
Coming in at a whopping 1,255 acres of preserved land, Tuna Canyon Trails is relatively unknown to most hikers. The main trailhead is 1.6 miles and branches off into several trails varying in difficulty. Tuna Canyon Park has something for trail-seekers of all levels.
Hikes in Los Angeles: 7 trails with spectacular endings
Los Angeles’s wealth of outdoors activities is no secret, and in Southern California, it’s hardly ever a bad time to get outside.
Hiking is a cheap way to enjoy the fresh air sunshine. But for those more reluctant hikers—folks who need a little carrot to dangle in front of them as they trudge up a hill—we’ve compiled a list of Los Angeles-area hikes that come with spectacular sights.
Each of the routes below offer beautiful or unique views along the way or at the end: waterfalls, stunning views, leftovers from bygone film shoots. So bribe friends and family by promising them a beautiful waterfall or a selfie with some old Hollywood backdrops, and get out there.
As with any outdoor adventure at any time of the year, it’s a good idea to pack more water than you anticipate needing and check the weather before you head out. This list of hiking essentials is a good way to prepare for even the shortest of walks in LA’s wilderness.
Also, don’t forget to check trail conditions—with the fire season still on, you never know when a blaze can crop up and make a hike infeasible.
Now, time to hit the trail!
1. Malibu Creek State Park
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Hikes in Malibu Creek State Park have Hollywood connections, as the park includes areas that were used to shoot M*A*S*H and South Pacific. Though the area was hit by the Woolsey fire, there are still some (scorched) rusted Army Jeeps and other signs of filming here, making for a nice photo op.
Since the landscape is recovering from the devastation of that wildfire, do take extra care to stay on the existing trails.
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The hike to the old filming location and back is under 5 miles round-trip and gains less than 200 feet of elevation, making it a pretty good trip for families with kids who can be coerced onto the trail.
Heads up: You will have to pay the $12 entrance fee to park in the lot if you want to start the hike at Crags Road; the trailheads for South Grassland Trail and Cistern Trail are both close to free parking. Hikespeak offers good directions with pictures.
2. Paradise Falls in Wildwood Park
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Who can say no to a waterfall? The photogenic water feature is the 40-foot-tall Paradise Falls, tucked into Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks.
A roughly 2-mile hike to see the falls can be extended into a moderate 4.5-mile hike by adding on a stop at Lizard Rock, which offers vistas of the Stagecoach Bluff area and the surrounding valley. Modern Hiker has a well-illustrated guide to the extended hike.
3. Echo Mountain
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Want to have a picnic among some picturesque ruins? The trail to Altadena’s Echo Mountain will make you work for it. Beginning at the very top of Lake Avenue and through a big, beautiful gate, the 5-mile (round-trip) trail is all steep-ish switchbacks and little shade, but it is very well-maintained. It’s also peopled enough that a solo hiker can feel secure.
The reward is a dynamic history exhibit and shaded, very spread-out picnic space left over from .
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There are also large pieces of the dismantled Mt. Lowe Railroad that once brought resort-bound vacationers here, and an old metal echo phone; yell into it and have your words bounce off the mountains back to you. Amazing! SoCal Hiker offers image-heavy directions.
4. Eaton Canyon
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Eaton Canyon’s lower waterfall has water in it right now—it’s no Niagara but it’s pretty nice to look at. (Eaton’s upper falls are closed indefinitely.) The hike to the falls is relatively shady and fairly flat—the roughly 3-mile round-trip hike only gains about 375 feet.
Start hiking from the nature center, where there are restrooms, water, and people to talk to about the trails. This is a really nice novice hike or ideal for a day when you don’t feel like being in pain later.
5. Murphy Ranch
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By now, a lot of people know about Murphy Ranch—the compound built by 1930s Nazi sympathizers in Malibu’s Rustic Canyon that was eventually supposed to have enough self-contained infrastructure to provide for a small town’s worth of people. But who has really gone through the trouble of seeing the place for themselves?
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This generally flat hike comes in at just under 4 miles and starts only a few miles from the 405. The grounds are graffiti-covered but the structures that were built are still mostly in one piece (or in discernible pieces), and there are staircases and gates still standing too.
In 2016, it was rumored that the buildings were being torn down, but photos show that it remains a mostly well-preserved site in a beautiful setting. Hikespeak provides detailed directions from the start of the trail.
6. Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park
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This historic park in Chatsworth encompasses an area that was once the primary route between the San Fernando and Simi Valleys for the Tongva and Chumash who lived in the area. Later, the route was used by the Spanish and by stagecoaches to travel between Los Angeles and points north.
Today, the park is dotted with reminders of the Chumash (like their grinding basins in rocks) and the stagecoaches (look down and you might see wheel ruts in the sandstone). There are also exciting natural features like rock formations, cliffs, and maybe even a seasonal waterfall.
And then there are the vistas. “Panoramic views of the rugged natural landscape as a striking contrast to the developed communities nearby,” says the park’s website, a nod to the impressive views of the Valley available from the park.
Nobody Hikes in LA has directions for a 5-mile hike through the park.
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7. Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon
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Not to be confused with the similar-sounding Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks, Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon offers an easy-to-moderate 2-mile loop, with a peak providing sweaty explorers some amazing city views and a permanent reclining chair/memorial on which to kick back and relax until it’s time to carry on.
There are picnic grounds, restrooms, and drinking water off of Wildwood Canyon Road, too, so you can compare photos and munch on post-hike snacks while you sit down and cool off. Get there early, though: The park closes at sundown.
Best Hikes in Los Angeles
When you think about Los Angeles, what comes to mind first?
The Walk of Fame?
Taco trucks and In-N-Out?
Uncontrollable sprawl and thick, gross smog in the air?
Los Angeles is not a city known for its hiking — but it should be.
With a variety of distinct climate zones, fascinating geology, nearby wilderness areas and nearly-perfect weather year-round, L.A. really does have something for everyone who’s looking to get outside. And in some case, you might not even have to leave your neighborhood!
Here is a list of some of the distinct hiking areas of the Greater Los Angeles area, with my picks for the trails that will give you the best feel for the region. As the site expands, so will these lists. Be sure to investigate Best Hike drop-down menu for lists like the 5 Best L.A. Hikes for Beginners, and check out the Trail Map for Los Angeles County for a lot more hikes in the L.A. area:
SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS
Rounded, rolling hills and low mountains nestled near the Pacific Coast and stretching into Hollywood. Trails here generally have lower elevation gains than the San Gabriels, and are less shaded. Here, you’ll find large swaths of native California Grassland and incredible wildflower blooms in the spring.
The Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks might just be my favorite hike in all of Southern California. 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.
SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS
655,000 acres of rugged mountain terrain, right in L.A.’s backyard. From the ruins of turn-of-the-century resort hotels to the highest peak in Los Angeles County, this region runs the gamut from easy walks to intense backcountry adventures.
No SoCal hiker’s journey is complete until they’ve summited Mount San Antonio, better known to locals as Mount Baldy. 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. This trail is a short spur off the Pacific Crest Trail, too, so if you’re lucky you might even run into a Thru-Hiker!
These city, county, and state parks are good for getting your hiking fix when you don’t want to spend a full day out on the trail. Just because they’re close by doesn’t mean they’re not worth hiking!
While a lot of hikers who enjoy the solitude of longer trails in the wilderness will turn their nose up at Runyon (and I used to, too), this is one of the most popular and most accessible hikes in L.A. – and for good reason. 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. Yes, there are celebrities hiking the trail – and people who are desperately trying to be celebrities – but don’t let that stop you from hiking this trail – it’s a great place to watch the sun set!
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.
HOLLYWOOD SIGN EXPERIENCE – CLOSEST HIKE TO THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN!
Hike to the Hollywood Sign
- Hollywood Sign (behind and in front!)
- Panoramic, 360° views of all of LA
- Best photos of the Hollywood Sign to last a lifetime
- Leave LA fulfilled – get your full fix of insider, LA history from the best local guides in Los Angeles!
Additional Highlights include…
- Warner Brothers’ Studios
- Dreamworks Animation Studio
- Disney Studios
- Paramount Studios
- Hollywood Forever Cemetery
- Historic Burbank
- Lake Hollywood
- Beverly Hills
- West Hollywood
- Century City
- Downtown LA
- Forest Lawn Mausoleum
- Griffith Park Observatory…and many more!
What is Provided:
- Expert tour guide
- Unlimited Instagram photo opportunities!
What to Expect:
- We’ll be walking 4 miles/6.4 km along what is widely considered to be an easy to moderate hiking trail.
- Guests joining this tour should be in good health, with a beginner to intermediate fitness expectation.
- Guests should be able to walk 4 miles/6.4 km to take this tour.
- Guests should not have a fear of heights, and should not be afraid to break a sweat.
- Young children are welcome to join this hike tour; we recommend this tour for guests ages 6 and up. Children participating in the hiking tour should be able to hike on their own. NO STROLLERS!
- Guests will be provided with water upon check in to stay hydrated throughout the tour. We recommend guests to hydrate before, during, and after the Hollywood Sign Experience, especially important in the warm summer months!
What to Bring
- Comfortable shirt and shorts/pants
- Jacket, windbreaker or sweatshirt (check the weather)
- Closed-toe shoes with good treads
- Don’t forget your camera! Please tag us on Instagram @bikesandhikesla
Private Tour Option
All of our tours can be made private for an additional one time fee of $125 per group. When booking a private Hollywood Sign Experience, please include your desired start time in the “notes” section. Our Hollywood Sign Experience is also an excellent option for corporate group tours in Los Angeles.
Keep in Mind
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking.
- Guests should have a moderate physical fitness level and be in good health.
- Hotel pick-up and drop off and on site storage area not included.
- Gratuities for guide are not included in the booking cost.
Free parking in Griffith Park.
No car? No problem!
Just book it! You can cancel or make changes no later than 24 hours in advance of your booking, for a full refund or to reschedule your tour! If you happen to miss the 24-hour mark, you’re guaranteed credit to use at a more convenient time. You’ll also have the opportunity to transfer your tour to someone you like (or to whom you owe a favor).
How to Hike to the Hollywood Sign
Find out how to hike to the Hollywood Sign, the world’s most famous sign! Our guides can’t wait to take you on our Hollywood Sign Experience.
Hike To The Hollywood Sign With Us.
Take our Hollywood Sign Hike Tour – the closest you’ll get to the sign in LA.
- See LA the right way – get out of your car, and get up close and personal with the City of Angels
- Stay fit, get sun – you’ll burn calories and spend time outside
- Get the best views (and pics!) of the Hollywood Sign – both in front and behind
- Hear the unbelievable, “made for the screen” history of the most photographed sign in the world
- You’ll cure your Jet Lag – the best medicine for jet lag? Sunshine and exercise. Get moving on the first day to make the most of your trip!
Bikes and Hikes LA
- Best in Class – Founded 2009. Rated #1 in Los Angeles across the board.
- Expert Guides – Our Hollywood Sign Docents share the full history of the city, Griffith Park, and the iconic sign.
- Go Green – Our tours are carbon neutral. We pride ourselves on being a local leader in the fight against climate change!
Our new daily hike to the Hollywood Sign is the ultimate Hollywood Sign hike tour. You’ll go in front and behind the Hollywood sign on this unforgettable hike.
Great for solo travelers! On this LA hike tour , guests are treated to 360 views of Los Angeles from the San Fernando Valley to Catalina Island. Guests will have ample opportunities for killer Instagram photos, insider Hollywood History, and a spectacular guided hike tour. This hike brags some of the best views in Los Angeles. You’ll snag a bird’s eye view of the top film studios in Hollywood: Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, and Disney. You’ll also catch a glimpse of the Forest Lawn Mausoleum, the final resting place for many of the top Hollywood celebrities. Your docent will regale you with Tinseltown trivia and Hollywood history, while ensuring a safe and exciting climb. Keep your eyes peeled for top LA filming locations in Griffith Park, the backdrop for such classics as “Rebel Without a Cause,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “La La Land,” and more!
Once we hike up behind the Hollywood Sign, you’ll arrive at a scenic overlook with the best view of the Hollywood Sign in all of Los Angeles. Once you’ve taken photos and taken in the stunning views of LA, we’ll hike down to the front of the Hollywood Sign, where you can take the best possible photo of ALL photos with the Hollywood Sign. This hike tour will take approximately 2.5 hours, and is suited for guests looking for a challenging, bucket-list outdoor adventure. Perfect for guests looking for a very special, unforgettable Hollywood Sign Hike!
Take advantage of the balmy California weather, and take a break from the fun madness of Tinseltown by enjoying the sights and stunning landscapes along one of L.A.’s very popular (and numerous) hiking trails. Here are some professional tips to help you get started, and some of the best trails to check out.
The most important thing to consider when preparing to go on a hike is safety. Trevor Morrow, founder, and guide at The Los Angeles Hiking Company, gave us his basic tips for anyone hiking in L.A.
Know Before You Go
Sunscreen is a must: “Many of the hills and mountains surrounding Los Angeles are covered in low-lying chaparral, which means hikers will find few or no shade-providing trees. Be prepared to hike in direct sunlight so always have sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses handy. For those especially sensitive to the sun, I recommend hiking in clothing with built-in SPF protection. I also recommend hiking in the morning or late afternoon to avoid harsh sunlight and enjoy the best temperatures.”
Water is too: “This one is especially obvious, but don’t hike without enough water. As mentioned above, shade is sparse and you’ll get thirsty.”
The sun can get very hot on L.A.’s hiking trails, so come prepared
Get shoes with good grip: “It’s important to wear shoes you feel comfortable and stable in. Whether you choose an athletic sneaker or a hiking shoe or boot, be sure the sole has good traction. Due to sun exposure and lack of rain, trails in Los Angeles can be covered in a thin, light layer of dry dirt, which can sometimes be slippery when heading downhill.”
Heed trail signs: “On some trails, you may see signs warning of rattlesnakes. Many trails in Los Angeles double as fire roads (dirt roads wide enough for pickup trucks to reach the top of the mountain) and therefore provide little cover for critters like snakes to hide. Many trails also see a lot of foot traffic which wildlife tends to stay away from. However, you should always watch where you’re stepping.”
Don’t hike alone: “While you may want to enjoy nature solo, it’s always a good idea to hike with a partner or group, especially if hiking one of Los Angeles’ lesser visited trails. If you’re visiting the city solo, consider joining a hiking tour.”
Top Trails to Try
Fryman Canyon Park: If you’re looking for a breezy hike that is as close to civilization as you can get, then this is for you. With convenient parking in the Wilacre Park lot, simply start the climb on the tree-lined 2.5 mile Betty B. Dearing Mountain Trail that winds its way around the hillside as the pavement gives way to a dirt road. With a gradual climb up, there are rest spots with benches where you can take in the view of the valley and watch as people walk by you with their dogs or whiz by on their mountain bikes. Once you’ve reached the top of the hillside, the trail descends around the bowl above the canyon where you’ll come to a gate that leads to a residential cul-de-sac. From there, it’s just a matter of making your way down Iredell Lane to Iredell Street and hang a left on Fryman Road which will lead right back to the Wilacre lot.
Get a glimpse of Hollywood mansions on the Getty View Trail
Getty View Trail: This 3-mile hike goes through the ritzy neighborhood of Bel Air and is great for those who want a glimpse of the stunning homes owned by its residents. To get here you have to park at the dead end at Casiano Road and then make your way up the dirt and gravel fire road. Although on one side you overlook a freeway for a bit, the famous Getty Centre lies to the other side and gradually the highway sounds disappear as you climb a ridge to reveal a deep canyon, giving you a rare peep (from a distance) of the mansions behind all those high Bel Air Gates. You know you’ve reached the halfway point once you hit a gated community and can see the MountainGate Country club golf course in all its lush green glory on the other side of the 405 highway.
Lower Canyonback Trail: If mid-century architecture is something you’re interested in, this 4.2-mile hike is ideal. Starting in Crestwood, an architecturally controlled area of Brentwood famous for mid-century style homes, you climb up and down on a paved path that winds its way to a dirt fire road that has canyons on both sides. The road will split at one point; if you want a higher intensity workout, take the higher road, otherwise stick with the low one (either way, you’ll end up at the same destination: Mountain Gate Estates). From here you make your way through a very well to do neighborhood to continue on Upper Canyonback trail for a longer hike or turn around to head back to where you started. On the third hilltop, there’s even a swing under a shaded tree to take a minute (or ten) to enjoy the view before heading back to where you parked.
Griffith Observatory is one of L.A’s most recognizable landmarks
One of Morrow’s favorites and the one that his L.A. hiking company specializes in is hiking in beautiful Griffith Park. “Home to over 4,200 acres, 53 miles of hiking trails, and just 10 minutes from Hollywood, Griffith Park is a natural oasis in the middle of the second largest city in the country”, says Morrow. “It’s full of fascinating history and incredible photo and Instagram opportunities featuring the downtown skyline, the Hollywood sign, and the Griffith Observatory. It’s the ultimate way to see L.A. from above (without getting in a helicopter)”.
Rustic Canyon to Murphy’s Ranch: If you’re the kind of person who gets bored with simply looking at landscapes, this 3.3-mile trail has enough other things to see to keep you busy. Starting in Pacific Palisades on Casale Road, look for the yellow gate and make your way through, heading along a road lined with graffiti. They’ll be green rolling hills in the distance to the left and rock face to the right. You’ll come to a hole in the fence leading to a staircase where 500 or so stairs (down!) end in a beautiful dirt path lined with pine trees. From here, check out the graffiti-covered, fenced-off remains of Murphy Ranch, an encampment that Nazi sympathizers constructed during World War II. To get back, climb some stairs to a paved road, go through a stone-framed gate and you’ll end up on the main road where you started off.
See our selection of vacation homes in Los Angeles
Image: c/o Trevor Morrow/The Los Angeles Hiking Company; iStock/jeremyiswild
The Best Hiking Trails In LA for a Sweaty (and Scenic) Workout
Known as the land of celebrities, taco trucks, and year-round perfect weather, Los Angeles is also a great place to go for a hike and explore the great outdoors. For any new Angeleno or visitor, sunshine-filled workouts with Mother Nature exploring the 150+ trails that grace this popular SoCal city are a must. So if you too are looking to break a sweat while taking in the city’s many Instagram-worthy views, check out these top three hikes in the City of Angels that are perfect for beginners and novice hikers alike. (Related: These Benefits of Hiking Will Make You Want to Hit the Trails)
Image zoom Photo: Robbie Ann Darby
Great for first-timers, this short Hollywood trail is by far the most popular and accessible. There are both paved and rugged paths, free yoga near the Fuller Avenue entrance, and loads of off-leash areas for your canine friends. Plus, if you’re looking to people watch while you sweat, Runyon is also a hot spot for celebrity sightings.
Getting There: Only two blocks from Hollywood Blvd, there are entrances on Fuller Avenue, Vista Street, and off Mulholland. Street parking is available-just be sure to read the signs to avoid getting ticketed on the blocks that are for permit-parking only.
Distance: About 3 miles round-trip along the outer loop. However, both shorter and longer options are also available. If you’re looking for a dip-in, dip-out experience at Runyon, enter on Mulholland street for a .85-mile trek up to the top of the park, and then return back down for a little less than a 2-mile hike.
Pros: Great place to watch the sunset and take in multiple popular LA views while you sweat. On a clear day, you can see downtown LA, the Pacific Ocean, the Hollywood sign, Griffith Park, and much more. In it for the ‘gram? Well, if you enter on Fuller Street you can reach Inspiration Point at 0.45 miles. Or go 0.8 miles from the entrance to snap a pic at Clouds Rest. Lower intensity, high chance of multiple likes.
Cons: It can get pretty crowded, so it’s not the best spot if you’re looking for a moment of solitude during your hike.
Fun Fact: After a recent remodel, Runyon Canyon Park also has a large paved area that was originally designed to be a basketball court. However, after many controversial complaints in 2016, the project was denied. The remains? A large open space (with a cement wall) that’s perfect for a group HIIT workout or even a few boot-camp drills.
The Hollywood Sign – Mount Lee (Griffith Park)
Image zoom Photo: Robbie Ann Darby
There are many ways to hike to the famous Hollywood sign, located in one of North America’s largest parks-Griffith Park. However, this hike, hitting at close to 1,100 feet in elevation, is by far the most intense, so be prepared for a heart-pumping workout! It’s a challenge worth taking simply for the views.
Getting There: The entrance to Griffith Park is at 3200 Canyon Drive between Bronson Avenue and Van Ness Avenue, and the drive to the trailhead is about 1.4 miles. Once you get there, there is a small free parking area on the left and a larger lot on the right.
Distance: If you want to arrive directly behind the iconic “Hollywood” lettering, this hike is 6.5 miles. But if you’re looking for a shorter alternative, you could try the Hollyridge Trail to Mount Lee, clocking in at just 3.5 miles round-trip.
Pros: There are multiple views of the Hollywood sign throughout and many other breathtaking views, such as the San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Monica Mountains. Plus, while this trail is quite popular, it is not overly crowded. So enjoy the runners, dog-walkers, and equestrians that you’ll periodically share the trail with.
Cons: Most of this trail is unshaded, so packing a hat, sunglasses, SPF that you can quickly reapply-plus plenty of water-is highly recommended.
Fun Facts: If you’re looking to have a Hollywood moment, you can go slightly off-route and visit the Bronson Caves-best known as the Batcave from the 1960s Batman series. Just watch out for rattlesnakes, as they often take their naps there.
Kenneth Hahn Park Community Loop Trail
Image zoom Photo: Robbie Ann Darby
This is an easy hike and hidden gem on your way to LAX, located in the middle of West LA. Outside of hiking, you can bird-watch, catch a great sunset, or snap your next family photos here. The background of downtown LA with the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains is a professional photographer’s dream location.
Getting There: Located at 4100 South La Cienega Boulevard in Baldwin Hills. There is $6 parking, but also plenty of free parking nearby. A popular free lot is at Norman O. Houston Park-home to one-of-a-kind outdoor exercise equipment that is easy to use and fun to include in your trail adventures.
Distance: The loop is 2.6 miles. However, the entire park is 401 acres of open green space, making this location a great place to go “off trail” without worrying about getting lost.
Pros: With a low elevation of 243 feet, this trail is perfect for the hiker who also enjoys trail running or a beginner looking for a short scenic experience. This trail is also pretty secluded and shaded, making it a perfect private oasis on a sunny day.
Cons: For large sections of the trail, take note that the Inglewood Oil Fields will be your constant view. Also, depending where you are, the machinery can get pretty loud. So if peace and quiet is important to you while hiking, this element may disrupt your flow.
Fun Facts: Since you won’t be too far from the 1.25-mile Culver City stairs, if you need an extra burn, head that way for a leg day workout to remember and get a glimpse of the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook.
Happy hiking in La-La Land! Three down, 150+ more to go.
- By By Robbie Ann Darby