Hikes in Los Angeles

Region in California, United States

Surprisingly, Los Angeles is a hiking oasis—boasting the perfect ratio of inner-city trails to backcountry adventures. While the City of Angels is usually not considered an adventure traveler’s haven, it is the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts in search of the solitude of the unspoiled wilderness and the excitement of an urban setting. LA is a wonderland, from the quintessential tourist attractions to frontier expeditions, offering something for everyone.

Known as the entertainment capital of the world and a cultural mecca, Los Angeles is one of the most famous metropolitan areas that attracts millions of visitors every year. Because most head to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, the Sunset Strip, or the Hollywood Sign, hiking usually falls short on the to-do list, but we aim to change this! Hiking is unquestionably the best way to discover the wild character and beauty of La La Land and the Greater Los Angeles Area.

Explore a landscape characterized by miles of pristine beaches and rugged headlands, the Transverse Ranges, cultivated farmland, chaparral regions, inland valleys, timbered foothills, and coastal plains. The topographic range of the area engenders a diverse network of trails that tailor to adventurers of all skill levels and ages. Many of the routes here are easy to follow and suitable for kids, with little elevation gain or technical terrain. If, however, you are seeking a more arduous and sweat-inducing trek, you will indeed find a trail to test you!

Occupied by a diversity of flora and fauna, famous landmarks, nature parks, gorgeous beaches, tumbling waterfalls, and impressive skyscrapers, Los Angeles is a sight to behold. But, no matter your motivation for visiting the star-studded city, we encourage you to get out into the wilderness and indulge in the beauty of this natural sanctuary. You can treat yourself to a refreshing beverage after a tiring trek with a bustling bar and restaurant scene.

15 Fantastic Hikes in the Los Angeles Area

Los Angeles is chock full of wonderment and incredible scenery. Enjoy hikes into the rolling foothills, urban greenspaces, along the rugged coastline, or through oak woodlands. Abundant with various wildlife, vegetation, and tremendous beauty, hiking in Los Angeles is tough to beat. Many of these hikes are perfect for families or those looking for easy, low-key trails. However, there is a selection of arduous adventures to satisfy the intrepid, thrill-seeking bunch!

  1. Top of the World via Canyon Acres Trail - Sweeping maritime views await you on the Top of the World via Canyon Acres Trail. This remarkable adventure near Laguna Beach demands quite the climb, but the spectacular views from the “top of the world” are well worth the sweat.
  2. Lake Perris Area Trail - The Lake Perris Area Trail is a moderate day-hike to the southwest of Los Angeles that climbs up to the summit of Terri Peak, boasting spellbinding views of the lake below. Note this is a popular recreational area, so expect some company!
  3. Paradise Falls Hike - Discover a beautiful waterfall hidden in the Wildwood Regional Park on the Paradise Falls Hike. This family-friendly adventure in Southern California yields a diversity of flora and wonderful scenery, affording any explorer a great time.
  4. South Coast Botanic Garden - The South Coast Botanic Garden is a beautiful space adorned with pleasant walking trails that the whole family can enjoy. Wander through an enchanting garden abundant with an array of plant life and learn all about horticulture and wildlife. This destination is worth adding to your LA itinerary.
  5. Runyon Canyon Trail - Explore the rugged landscape that bounds the bustling city on the Runyon Canyon Trail. This scenic expedition is ideal for intermediate hikers and families with older children as it traverses some undulating terrain. Those who make it to the trail’s end will be rewarded for their effort with breathtaking cityscape views.
  6. Point Dume Cove Trail - Located in gorgeous Malibu, the Point Dume Cove Trail traces the Pacific Coastline through a nature preserve. Marvel at the sweeping ocean views from the rugged headlands, then plunge to the soft sandy beaches and enjoy an afternoon in the sun.
  7. Thousand Steps Beach Walk - The Thousand Steps Beach Walk is a fun family adventure near Laguna Beach. Head to the Pacific Coast and explore the uncrowded beach, complete with a fascinating sea cave. Make sure to check the tides; this hike is only accessible during low tide!
  8. Lake Skinner Loop Trail - The Lake Skinner Loop Trail is an easy-going adventure southeast of Los Angeles. Suitable for the whole family, this scenic route wanders along the waterline of the shimmering lake. As you walk, you will likely be in the company of fellow-outdoor enthusiasts—those hiking and those in the water.
  9. Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail - Those seeking a laid-back outdoor experience will enjoy exploring the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Adorned with several walking trails, this beautiful space boasts the opportunity to spot various wildlife and bird species as you stroll through wetlands.
  10. Inspiration Point Trail - The Inspiration Point Trail travels through the Will Rogers State Historic Park into the Santa Monica Mountains, offering breathtaking views of LA’s spectacular cityscape. This is a popular hike, and the trail can get congested on weekends, so head out in the early morning to beat the crowds.
  11. Escondido Falls Trail - Discover a mesmerizing, three-tiered waterfall in Malibu on the Escondido Falls Trail. This beautiful, laid-back adventure through the Escondido Canyon is suitable for the whole family—enjoy!
  12. Sycamore Canyon Trail - Immerse yourself in the wilderness surrounded by various flora and fauna on the Sycamore Canyon Trail. Explore the timbered foothills that border the city and enjoy the wild character of the arid landscape. Note dogs are not permitted on this route.
  13. Kenneth Hahn Recreation Area Hike - The Kenneth Hahn Recreation Area Hike is a pleasant trail that meanders through a swathe of wilderness occupied by waterfalls and serene gardens—offering spellbinding vistas of LA’s famed cityscape along the way.
  14. Carbon Canyon Nature Trail - Meander aimlessly through an enchanting redwood grove on the Carbon Canyon Nature Trail. This beautiful footpath travels along the banks of Carbon Canyon Creek, boasting a relaxing ambiance. Suitable for the whole family, this LA adventure is worth adding to the to-do list.
  15. Franklin Canyon Site Trail - Nestled amongst the mountains, the Franklin Canyon Site Trail boasts the perfect opportunity to spot wildlife, waterfowl, and an array of bird species. Wander along the banks of a scenic reservoir, through an area of wetlands, and by a charming pond—just don’t forget to bring the bug spray!

When is the Best Time to Visit Los Angeles?

Los Angeles is a year-round hiking destination. The sunny arid climate engenders ideal conditions for outdoor exploration, no matter the season. However, La La Land is notorious for extremely hot weather in July-October. In addition, the dry climate is predisposed to wildfires—so some regions and hiking networks are subject to seasonal closure. We enjoy hiking in the spring and late autumn when it is not uncomfortably warm and wildflower displays adorn the landscape.

Other Outdoor Activities in the Los Angeles Area

San Francisco is an outdoor playground, and in addition to hiking, you’ll find plenty of other fun outdoor activities. While the tourist attractions, sightseeing, and celebrity spotting tours are abundant, there is also remarkable biking, camping, sea kayaking, surfing, sailing, swimming, and wildlife watching opportunities. This beautifully diverse region has an extensive range of places to explore, and you will surely find an adventure to suit your preferences.

Frequently-Asked-Questions About Los Angeles

What is Los Angeles known for?

Los Angeles is famously known as the world's entertainment capital—with landmarks including the Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Paramount Pictures Studios.

Is it safe to visit Los Angeles?

Yes, Los Angeles is a safe tourist destination.

Can you hike to the Hollywood Sign?

Yes, you can hike up to the sign via the Hollywood Sign via Canyon Drive.

Is the San Francisco Area good for hiking?

Los Angeles’ year-round Mediterranean climate, dramatic coastline, and hilly terrain make for a hiking wonderland.

Awesome Adventure Tours near Los Angeles

While we have yet to curate a tour specifically tailored to the City of Angels, we have an extensive repertoire of adventure tours in California that we encourage you to check out! The Point Reyes hiking tour and California and Hawaii multisport self-drive tour are unforgettable vacations!

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Best Hikes in Los Angeles

Open details for Top of the World via Canyon Acres Trail

Top of the World via Canyon Acres Trail

Moderate
3.9 km
263 m
1.5-2h

The Top of the World via Canyon Acres Drive is a fantastic hiking adventure in Laguna Beach that offers some wonderful views of the ocean. While out on the trail, you will climb uphill through scenic canyon terrain, before arriving at a breathtaking viewpoint overlooking the surrounding area. Hikers should take note that there is no parking at the trailhead, so make use of any available parking nearby.

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Open details for Lake Perris Area Trail

Lake Perris Area Trail

Moderate
6.4 km
507 m
2.5-3.5h

The Lake Perris Area Trail is a beautiful hiking route in Southern California that climbs over some rugged terrain for views of the lake. While out on the trail, you will steadily gain elevation to the top of Terri Peak for a stunning sightline overlooking Lake Perris, before descending to the road and backtracking along the trail once again. Make sure to arrive early for this hike, especially in the summer months, as the recreational areas surrounding the lake can make it an extremely busy place.

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Open details for Paradise Falls Hike

Paradise Falls Hike

Moderate
4.5 km
152 m
1-1.5h

The Paradise Falls Hike is a short, but beautifully scenic, hiking route in Southern California that will take you to a cascading waterfall. While out on the trail, you will meander along a well-maintained network of paths, before meeting up with the banks of Arroyo Conejo and following its banks to reach Paradise Falls. Be sure to arrive early for this adventure, as parking at the trailhead can fill up quickly.

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Open details for South Coast Botanic Garden

South Coast Botanic Garden

Very Easy
2.7 km
54 m
0.5-1h

Walking the trails of the South Coast Botanic Garden is a lovely experience near Los Angeles that is perfectly suited for the whole family. While out on the trail, you will meander along winding paths that intersect within the 87-acre garden, allowing the opportunity to view a beautiful variety of plantlife. Anyone looking to walk this trail should take note that there is a $15 entry fee.

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Open details for Runyon Canyon Trail

Runyon Canyon Trail

Moderate
4.3 km
228 m
1.5-2h

Hiking the Runyon Canyon Trail is a fun experience in Los Angeles that will take you through a rugged canyon landscape with views of the city. While out on the trail, you will navigate an undulating stretch of terrain within Runyon Canyon Park, stopping at several vistas to appreciate the views overlooking L.A. While this hike isn’t overly difficult, there are some stretches of rugged terrain that make it unsuitable for younger children.

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Open details for Point Dume Cove Trail

Point Dume Cove Trail

Easy
2.3 km
106 m
0.5-1h

The Point Dume Cove Trail is a quick and easy hiking route in Malibu that features sandy beaches and beautiful ocean views. Along the trail you will enjoy stunning views from atop coastal bluffs that extend out across the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. While the pathways here are well-maintained and fairly easy to navigate, there are some rugged areas that will likely be difficult for younger children to traverse.

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Open details for Thousand Steps Beach Walk

Thousand Steps Beach Walk

Easy
1.3 km
29 m
0.5h

The Thousand Steps Beach Walk is a charming outdoor adventure in Laguna Beach, California for anyone who loves strolling along the sandy beach. While out on this hike, you will be able to take in the natural beauty of SoCal and its Pacific coast, as you wander aimlessly to your heart’s content. Walkers should take note that this area is only accessible during low tide, so be sure to check tide times before setting out on your walk.

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Open details for Lake Skinner Loop Trail

Lake Skinner Loop Trail

Easy
6.0 km
34 m
1-1.5h

The Lake Skinner Loop Trail is a great family-friendly adventure in Southern California that features beautiful lakeside views. While out on the trail, you will loop around the perimeter of Lake Skinner County Park, before finishing with a scenic walk along the water’s edge with views that extend out across the surface of the water. Hikers should take note that there is a $6 fee to enter the park.

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Open details for Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail

Easy
4.8 km
22 m
1-1.5h

Hiking the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail is a great family-friendly outing near Los Angeles that features beautiful views of the water and local wildlife. While out on the trail, you will skirt along the edge of a wetland and have plenty of chances to spot local bird species, before visiting several vistas overlooking the water. This route is fairly level and is accessible for people in wheelchairs or families with strollers; however, there are a few steeper sections where some visitors may need assistance.

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Open details for Inspiration Point Trail

Inspiration Point Trail

Easy
3.5 km
115 m
1-1.5h

The Inspiration Point Trail is a beautifully scenic hiking route in Los Angeles that features far reaching views across the entire L.A. area. While out on the trail, you will traverse the undulating terrain of Will Rogers State Historic Park, stopping off at several scenic vistas for incredible views. This trail can become extremely busy and congested during peak hours, so make sure to arrive early or on a weekday in order to secure parking at the trailhead.

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