Hikes in Los Angeles
Los Angeles Hikes
When it comes to Los Angeles hikes, locals and tourists alike will find a good variety of adventures that align with their age, interests, and skill level. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned outdoor enthusiast one thing is for sure, the majority of Los Angeles hikes are easily accessible from the city and include some amazing views of the surrounding mountains and cityscape!
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, and Los Angeles hikes form the perfect contrast to the quintessential tourist attractions, offering a little something for everyone looking to visit the West Coast.
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! Los Angeles hikes are unquestionably the best way to discover the wild character and beauty of La La Land and the Greater Los Angeles Area, all you need to do is tie up your laces and hit the trail!
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 Los Angeles hikes 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 on one of many amazing Los Angeles hikes. 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
Find Other Amazing Hiking Regions in California
- Death Valley
- Inyo National Forest
- Joshua Tree National Park
- North Bay
- Yosemite National Park
- Stanislaus National Forest
- Sierra National Forest
- Redwoods National and State Parks
- Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Point Reyes National Seashore
- Los Padres National Forest
- Angeles National Forest
- San Francisco
- Lake Tahoe
- Sequoia and Kings National Parks
Best Hikes in Los Angeles
Top of the World via Canyon Acres Trail
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.
Lake Perris Area Trail
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.
Paradise Falls Hike
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.
South Coast Botanic Garden
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.
Runyon Canyon Trail
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.
Point Dume Cove Trail
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.
Thousand Steps Beach Walk
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.
Lake Skinner Loop Trail
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.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail
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.
Inspiration Point Trail
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.
Escondido Falls Trail
The Escondido Falls Trail is a fun hiking adventure in Southern California that will take you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the region. While out on the trail, you will traverse the terrain of the Escondido Canyon, eventually arriving at the 3-tiered cascade. Hikers should take note that the upper level of the falls are located on private property and should not be climbed by the public in order to preserve the fragile habitat.
Sycamore Canyon Trail
Hiking the Sycamore Canyon Trail is a family-friendly adventure in the Los Angeles area that will take you through a scenic canyon landscape. While out on the trail, you will traverse a fairly level and easy-going path that is surrounded with natural beauty and plenty of wildlife, including insects, birds, and reptiles. While this is a great hike for the entire family, you will need to leave your dogs at home, as they are not permitted on the trail.
Kenneth Hahn Recreation Area Hike
The Kenneth Hahn Recreation Area Hike is a quick and easy adventure in Los Angeles that features scenic terrain and is suitable for the entire family. While out hiking the trail, you will climb uphill across mildly undulating terrain to reach several vantage points that feature some of the best views in Los Angeles. Hikers should take note that the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area does charge a fee on weekends and holidays, so make sure to plan your trip accordingly.
Carbon Canyon Nature Trail
The Carbon Canyon Nature Trail is a beautifully scenic adventure near Los Angeles that features over 200 redwood trees. While out on the trail, you will meander through the park along the banks of Carbon Canyon Creek, taking in the lovely views of the trees and local wildlife. Hikers should take note that there is a fee to enter the park; check the Carbon Canyon Regional Park website for more information.
Franklin Canyon Site Trail
The Franklin Canyon Site Trail is a popular family-friendly hiking route outside of Los Angeles that circles around a reservoir and offers plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities. While out hiking the trail, you will enjoy views across the Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir and Heavenly Pond, as you explore the canyon landscape along an easy to traverse path. Hikers can also check out the Sooky Goldman Nature Center near the trailhead to learn more about the local plant and animal life in the area.
Bonelli Park Loop Trail
The Bonelli Park Loop Trail is a quick and easy adventure in Los Angeles that will take you along the quiet shores of the Puddingstone Reservoir. While out walking the trail, you will pass by countless picnic areas while taking in the lovely scenery that stretches out across the calm surface of the water. Less of a true hike, this little adventure is still a great excursion if you are looking to head outdoors for some fresh air.
Black Star Canyon Falls Trail
Hiking the Black Star Canyon Falls Trail is a fun, albeit challenging at times, adventure near Los Angeles that features some rugged terrain and beautiful scenery. While out on the trail, you will navigate the undulating terrain of the Black Star Canyon, traversing the riverbed and some rocky scramble sections to eventually arrive at the site of the Black Star Canyon Falls. Make sure to lock and avoid keeping valuables inside your vehicle when leaving it unattended, especially when setting out on longer hikes.
Hollywood Sign via Canyon Drive
Hiking to the Hollywood Sign via Canyon Drive is a classic Los Angeles adventure that, as the name implies, will take you up to the iconic Hollywood sign. While out on the trail, you will steadily work your way uphill through the undulating terrain of Griffith Park, enjoying the sweeping views of both the world famous sign and the surrounding landscape, before arriving at the summit of Mount Lee. Make sure to arrive early to secure a parking space, as this is a very popular route with tourists visiting the area.
Wisdom Tree, Cahuenga Peak, and Mount Lee Summit Loop
The Wisdom Tree, Cahuenga Peak, and Mount Lee Summit Loop is the ideal trail for those who want to take in some iconic L.A. landmarks while also getting a solid workout. While out hiking the trail, you will climb steeply uphill past the Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak to reach the top of Mount Lee for views overlooking the famous Hollywood Sign. Make sure to arrive early, as this route is very popular and can be congested during peak hours.
Bronson Caves Hike
The Bronson Caves Hike is a short and sweet adventure in Los Angeles that features a series of interesting caves and scenic canyon views. While out hiking the trail, you will make your way to the Bronson Caves that have been featured in countless films – including Batman – and experience views that stretch out to the iconic Hollywood Sign. While this trail itself is fairly short, there are a number of other trails in the area that can be utilized to extend your adventure.
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