The 15 Best Hikes in Los Angeles To Walk In Nature [2022]

Although it is said that no one walks in Los Angeles, the city certainly enjoys hitting the trails. Angelenos are just as likely to make a deal over a trek in Bronson Canyon as they are over cocktails in the city.

This is one of the best cities for getting outside, thanks to the hills, beaches, and iconic concrete structures (hello, Griffith Observatory). The Bobcat Fire has temporarily closed a few key hikes in the Angeles National Forest (not to mention the pandemic’s effect on trail distance laws), but nothing is stopping Southlanders from getting out and about.

Here are some of our best urban experiences, as well as our favorite rest places in the nearby mountains and forests. Here are our picks for the best hikes in Los Angeles, including once-in-a-lifetime summits, easy-to-reach seaside views, and everything in between.

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Best Hikes in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has practically year-round sunshine and a geographic location that allows you to visit some of the state’s top beaches and mountains in the same day. Yes, there are lots of things to do outside here, but one activity in particular is at the top of many Angelenos’ to-do lists: hiking.

So, instead of heading to a rooftop bar for a lovely view of the city, lace up your hiking boots and head out into the trail for these things to do. Whether you prefer cityscapes or ocean views, this list of the best hikes in Los Angeles—with views—has something for you.

Allow  Tripononline to assist you when your options are limited. We’ll point you in the right direction for the best hikes in Los Angeles. We hope that our list of the 10 best hikes in Los Angeles, helps you plan a fantastic trip to the city.

1. Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon Park | best hikes in Los Angeles

With shirtless model brothers and blondes in yoga pants with little dogs, the ambiance is oh-so-Hollywood. There are two hiking paths, with the longer one providing a good workout. Those guys worked hard for their abs. Runyon is quite easy to use.

This is one of the most popular best hiking trails in Los Angeles. On the ascent, you may need to take a few breathers to collect your breath and take selfies at various view locations (both are necessary).

This is ideal for those who don’t want to venture far from the city in search of magnificent vistas or a short workout.

2. Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park & Nature Center

Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park & Nature Center | best hikes in Los Angeles

This 190-acre zoological, botanical, and geological nature preserve near the San Gabriel Mountains boasts miles of pathways and a 40-foot waterfall that cascades into a large pool, which is especially refreshing on a hot spring day.

This is one of the most popular best waterfall hikes in Los Angeles. While Angelenos are known to go to some of the more attractive, more populated treks (think Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park), this hike is a true treat, especially when the waterfalls are flowing.

Please note that this trail presently requires a reservation due to the pandemic. One of the best hiking trails with waterfalls in Los Angeles.

3. Paseo Miramar

Paseo Miramar | best hikes in Los Angeles

In the early mornings, Paseo Miramar is more of a locals-only path, where West siders come for the ocean views and well-maintained fire roads, as well as a major booty burn, given the steep ascent to the summit.

This 5.5-mile circle through the Pacific Palisades parkland rewards hikers with one of the city’s most breathtaking oceanfront vistas, Parker Mesa Overlook, making it one of L.A.’s must-do climbs. This is one of the most popular best hiking trails in Los Angeles.

4. Bridge To Nowhere

bridge to Nowhere | best hikes in Los Angeles

This 10-mile journey through rivers and canyons provides breathtaking scenery and adventure, as well as river crossings that can be refreshing in the summer heat. If you’re looking for a rush, join an outfitter on a climb up to the summit and go bungee jumping off the bridge.

To trek the trails, you’ll need to purchase a wilderness pass, and hikers should be aware that they are vulnerable to flash floods during the winter months, which can be perilous. Just remember to check the weather forecast and weigh your options.

If you’re trekking in the summer, bring lots of water with you because the trail is long and remote.

5. Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy | best hikes in Los Angeles

This mountain trail (which leads to the highest point in Los Angeles County) is for experienced Southern California hikers looking for a challenge. Mount Baldy, at 10,068 feet, is the highest point in the San Gabriel Mountains.

The hike itself is around 6.5 miles long and climbs 2,300 feet, but you may shorten it by four miles by taking the chair lift. This is one of the most popular best hiking trails in Los Angeles. Unless you’re feeling extremely ambitious, you’ll probably want to take the lift down even if you don’t take it up.

The lack of trees at the summit gives the mountain its name—a it’s strange sub-alpine sight. At Devil’s Backbone, you’ll feel like you’re hiking atop a stegosaurus’ spine, with precipitous drops on all sides, you’ll want to take it all in.

6. Switzer Falls

Switzer Falls | best hikes in Los Angeles

This is one of the most popular best waterfall hikes in Los Angeles, so don’t expect to be alone. But what it lacks in seclusion, it makes up for in beauty, with Arroyo Seco stream crossings, chaparral woodland, and, of course, the lower falls.

Avoid the weekends and the crowds if at all possible. Don’t miss the ruins of Switzer Trail Camp, which was founded by Commodore Perry Switzer, a Pasadena carpenter, in 1884. One of the best hiking trails with waterfalls in Los Angeles.

It was a camping resort that was part of a network of mountain resorts that stretched across the Angeles National Forest, with hikers frequently passing through from one to the next. Consider it California’s version of the Camino de Santiago.

7. Inspiration Point Trail

Inspiration Point Trail | best hikes in Los Angeles

This easy hike in Will Rogers State Historic Park is suitable for people of all ages, and at only two miles long with little climbs, it’s a fantastic opportunity to get some exercise regardless of your fitness level.

Don’t miss Will Rogers’ ranch house, a 31-room mansion with stables, corrals, a riding ring, roping arena, polo field, and a tiny golf course where he and his Hollywood pals used to hang out. Tours are available; however, make sure to check availability before leaving.

It’s worth noting that if you’re searching for pure privacy, this isn’t the place to go because it can get crowded quickly.

8. Rock Pool & Century Lake Trails 

Rock Pool & Century Lake Trails Los Angeles | best hikes in Los Angeles

There are numerous treks in the mountains surrounding Malibu, and this 4.4-mile outing is ideal for an ambitious hiker looking to reconnect with nature without having to load up the SUV for a weekend in the backcountry.

Don’t miss the former MAS*H set, which is located at the 2.5-mile point. Also, don’t go too soon. You’ll be missing out on a swim in the Rock Pool, which also offers some good climbing holds (the Rock Pool was also a location in the 1968 Planet of the Apes film).

Because there are a few twists to make on this trek, we recommend downloading GPS track points to save time on the trail.

9. Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory | best hikes in Los Angeles

This is a network of little paths in Griffith Park that surround the famed observatory, including a three-mile climb (the Mt. Hollywood Trail) that takes you as close as you can get to the Hollywood sign.

Locals and tourists alike enjoy the observatory-adjacent trails: you’ll see plenty of families, pets, and individuals exploring the caves, canyons, and vistas along the way. A post-hike visit to the trails Griffith Park Observatory, an Art Deco marvel that is one of the most visited observatories in the world for a reason, is always worthwhile.

Visitors flock to the museum’s exhibit rooms (one of which features a rare, electricity-pulsing Tesla coil), photogenic views of the Hollywood sign, planetarium, and 12-inch Zeiss telescope.

10. Bronson Caves

Bronson Caves Los Angeles | best hikes in Los Angeles

The trek to the Hollywood sign is one of L.A.’s most famous walks. It’s a 6.5-mile trail with a couple of entertaining twists and a beautiful finale that’s moderate and dog-friendly.

The Bronson Cave, commonly known as the Batcave, is located near the start of the trek and is where Adam West’s Batmobile drove out during the opening credits of his campy version of the program.

It’s not just a popular hike in town, but it’s also quite easy to get to, being just off a busy residential street. If you’re hoping for a solo trek with peace, quiet, and unspoiled views, this isn’t the climb for you.

11. Echo Mountain (Altadena)

Echo Mountain (Altadena) Los Angeles | best hikes in Los Angeles

A sign at the Sam Merrill Trail’s entry proclaims, “A tranquil sanctuary from people and natural life forever.” While you’ll only be here for a few hours, an eternity isn’t unreasonable. Unless you live in the area, this hike feels more like a weekend getaway than an after-work excursion. It’s a bit more serious hiking than Griffith, based on the hydration packs and hiking poles you’ll see, but that doesn’t imply it’s too difficult for a newbie.

The journey begins with a climb up a canyon wall before emerging onto the mountain’s face around 15 minutes later. Even from low heights, the views of Downtown Los Angeles, Pasadena, and the San Gabriel Valley are spectacular.

Within a decade of its opening, two fires razed the entire complex. Only ruined foundations and train tracks remain for hikers to explore and dine on. It’s a poetic rendering of a long-forgotten dream’s burnt remains.

12. Escondido Falls

Escondido Falls | best hikes in Los Angeles

This easy hike in Malibu leads to a waterfall amid sage, chaparral, and ancient oaks, Escondido Falls is one of the best waterfall hikes in Los Angeles. If there has been recent rain, the falls are a must-see in the winter, but even if it hasn’t rained in a while and the falls aren’t running, it’s a great four-mile hike.

It’s easy to traverse because there’s only one track. Allow two hours for a leisurely, picturesque stroll at a steady but moderate pace. One of the best hiking trails with waterfalls in Los Angeles.

13. Temescal Canyon

Temescal Canyon | best hikes in Los Angeles

Temescal Canyon, located within Topanga State Park, is a wooded canyon with beautiful views of the coast, all within a short loop that doesn’t take all day. It also leads to Skull Rock, a geological feature with an apt name that geology buffs should check out.

If you’re disturbed by hikers wearing yoga pants and talking on their phones, the first part of the hike may be enough to put you off. But persevere, and you’ll be rewarded richly with breathtaking views.

14. Castle Peak

Castle Peak | best hikes in Los Angeles

This hike just north of Calabasas is not to be missed if you enjoy scrambling and bouldering. The Chumash Native Americans revered this terrain, and you’ll discover why once you see the interior of Castle Rock, which gives the walk its name.

Inside, you’ll discover an upward-facing cave with crags and fissures ideal for gripping as you scale the interior. Even before you reach the summit, however, you’ll be treated to spectacular vistas of the San Fernando Valley’s undulating hills.

This one is for a more experienced climber, as getting up the chimney takes firm footing.

15. Portuguese Bend Reserve (Rancho Palos Verdes)

Portuguese Bend Reserve (Rancho Palos Verdes) | best hikes in Los Angeles

Portuguese Bend Reserve is a 399-acre park with a tangle of pathways, almost all of which offer a stunning, panoramic vista of the Pacific Ocean with Catalina Island in the distance. What’s the best part?

These paths are less busy than those in L.A. since they are on the edge of the Palos Verdes Peninsula (though parking is limited), and they are part of a Nature Preserve with plenty of blooms and wildlife to observe. If you’ve had your fill of Runyon Canyon, you might want to head south.

To begin, enter the park from the street and go down Burma Road, passing Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Vista Point. Turn left into Eagle’s Nest Trail, which will take you approximately two kilometers until you reach Burma Road again.

You can either return up Toyon Trail or continue to the bottom loop by turning right. Continue on Toyon Trail until you reach the end, where you will turn right into Peppertree Trail.

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FAQs About Best Hikes in Los Angeles

Is L.A. good for hiking?

Los Angeles isn’t recognized for its hiking opportunities, but it should be. L.A. has something for everyone who wants to be outside, with a range of temperature zones, fascinating geology, neighboring wilderness areas, and nearly-perfect weather year-round.

What is the hardest hike in Los Angeles?

7 Hardest hike in Los Angeles
1. Limestone Canyon
2. Bighorn Peak and Ontario Peak
3. Mt. San Antonio (Baldy) Loop.
4. Three Tee’s Trail via Icehouse Canyon.
5. Mt. Wilson via Chantry Flats.
6. Chantry Flats Loop (Mt Zion, Sturtevant Falls).
7. Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon.

What to wear hiking in LA?

The following are some essential items to bring:
Clothing: Dress comfortably in loose-fitting attire.
Shoes: For most Beginner and Moderate trails, sturdy walking shoes or sports shoes are sufficient.
Hat: A hat covers your face and head from the sun, reduces glare, and keeps you warm when it’s cold outside.

Where do the stars hike in Los Angeles?

1. Runyon Canyon Park. 
2. Franklin Canyon Park.
3. The Trail Griffith Park Observatory.
4. Temescal Canyon Gateway Park.
5. Bronson Canyon Park

Eaton Canyon Falls Altadena | best hikes in Los Angeles

Tell Us In The Comments About One Of Your Favorite Best Hikes in Los Angeles!

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