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Hiking in Los Angeles

The Best Hiking Trails in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, with its diverse landscapes and stunning vistas, offers a plethora of hiking trails for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there’s something for everyone. Let’s dive into some of the best trails in the area:

1. Malibu Creek State Park (Crags Road Trail)

Description: The Crags Road Trail in Malibu Creek State Park offers a scenic hike through oak woodlands, past a rock pool, and along the creek. Keep an eye out for the iconic M*A*S*H TV show filming location. The trail is relatively easy, making it suitable for hikers of various skill levels.

Hiking, Mountain Biking, Horseback riding

2. Pacific Crest Trail (Vasquez Rocks)

Description: The Vasquez Rocks section of the Pacific Crest Trail takes you through unique rock formations, including the famous “Vasquez Rocks” seen in many movies and TV shows. The trail offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, making it a great choice for photography enthusiasts.

Santa Monica hiking trails
Backbone Trail to Sandstone Peak and Mishe Mokwa Trail Loop

3. Santa Monica Mountains

Description: The Santa Monica Mountains offer a variety of trails with ocean views, wildflowers, and diverse wildlife. Choose from different routes based on your preferences. The Backbone Trail, in particular, provides stunning vistas of the coastline and is a favorite among locals.

Hiking in Los Angeles on musch trail to eagle rock
Musch trail to eagle rock trail

4. Topanga State Park Trails

Description: Topanga State Park boasts several trails through chaparral-covered hills, with options for both beginners and experienced hikers. Enjoy panoramic views of the city and coastline. The Eagle Rock Trail is a must-do, offering breathtaking vistas and a chance to spot local wildlife.

Hiking in Los Angeles, Sandstone Peak Trail
Sandstone Peak Trail

5. Sandstone Peak

Description: Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, offers breathtaking vistas of the ocean and surrounding peaks. Look for the iconic “Tri Peaks” formation. The Mishe Mokwa Trail takes you there and is a favorite among seasoned hikers.

  • Distance: Approximately 6.25 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,075 feet
  • Hike Time: About 3-4 hours
  • Trail Map: Sandstone Peak Trail Map
  • Official Website: N/A
Hollywood sign hike
The most popular of hiking trails in Los Angeles, the iconic Hollywood sign

6. Hollywood Sign Trails (Griffith Park)

Description: Explore the trails around Griffith Park to get up close to the iconic Hollywood Sign. Choose from various routes, each offering stunning views of the city and the sign. The Brush Canyon Trail is a popular choice, leading you to a prime viewpoint for that classic Hollywood Sign photo.

  • Distance: Varies (multiple routes to the Hollywood Sign)
  • Elevation Gain: Varies
  • Hike Time: Depends on the chosen route
  • Trail Map: Griffith Park Trail Maps
  • Official Website: Griffith Park
Bridge to nowhere trial view
Bridge to Nowhere hiking trail

7. Bridge to Nowhere (via East Fork Trail)

Description: The Bridge to Nowhere hike leads you to an abandoned bridge deep within the San Gabriel Mountains. Cross the bridge and enjoy river crossings along the way. The trail is challenging due to its length and river crossings, but the reward is the unique experience of reaching a bridge seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

  • Distance: Approximately 10 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 900 feet
  • Hike Time: About 5-6 hours
  • Trail Map: Bridge to Nowhere Trail Map
  • Official Website: N/A
Wisdom tree hiking trail in Los Angeles
Wisdom Tree

8. Wisdom Tree (Via Cahuenga and Burbank Peaks)

Description: The Wisdom Tree hike takes you to a lone tree atop Cahuenga Peak, offering panoramic views of Los Angeles and the iconic Hollywood Sign. The trail is steep but rewarding, especially during sunrise or sunset. The tree itself has an interesting backstory related to wildfires and resilience.

  • Distance: Around 3 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 800 feet
  • Hike Time: Approximately 1.5-2 hours
  • Trail Map: Wisdom Tree Trail Map
  • Official Website: N/A
Eaton Canyon falls on Los Angeles hiking trail
Eaton Canyon Falls

9. Eaton Canyon Falls Trail

Description: The Eaton Canyon Falls Trail is a popular choice for families and beginners. It leads to a beautiful 40-foot waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. The trail includes stream crossings and offers a refreshing escape from the city. Be prepared for crowds, especially on weekends.

Runyon Canyon Park Trail hike in Los Angeles
Runyon Canyon Park Trail

10. Runyon Canyon Park

Description: Runyon Canyon Park is a popular spot for both hiking and celebrity sightings. The trails offer views of the Hollywood Hills, downtown LA, and the Pacific Ocean. Choose from various routes, including the famous “Runyon Canyon Loop.” Keep an eye out for fitness enthusiasts, dogs, and stunning vistas.

Hiking Trails in Los Angeles summary

These hiking trails in Los Angeles offer diverse experiences, from hidden waterfalls to city views. Remember to bring water, wear appropriate footwear, and follow trail etiquette. Happy hiking!

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