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Los Angeles

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Overview

Exploring one of Los Angeles' many parks, open spaces, or surrounding National Forests continues to be one of the best ways to escape the most populous county in the U.S. Ranging from the coastal trails above Malibu stretching out toward Point Mugu State Park, to the city vistas above the Hollywood Hills in Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory, there are lots of opportunities for easy and moderate hikes.

For the more experienced hiker or exercise fiend, the Santa Monica Mountains to the west or San Gabriel Mountains to the northeast are home to many challenging hikes like up and around Mount Wilson, along the Verdugo Crest Trail, or to the summit of Sandstone Peak. There's no shortage of elevation to gain with expansive, rewarding views along the way.

For hikes with historical or cultural significance, the Hollywood Sign has become a rite of passage, but the M*A*S*H relics at Malibu Creek State Park or ruins at Murphy Ranch are also worth the visit.

Easy hikes:

  • Eaton Falls
  • Sturtevant Falls
  • Arroyo Seco
  • Peter's Canyon Loop
  • Intermediate hikes:

  • Bridge to Nowhere - East Fork Trail #8W13
  • Top of the World Loop
  • Hollywood Sign and Bronson Caves
  • Filiorum & Portuguese Bend Loop
  • Difficult hikes:

  • Mount Wilson
  • Parker Mesa Overlook
  • San Antonio Falls - Sierra Club Ski Hut - Devil's Backbone
  • Inspiration Point - Murphy Ranch Out-and-Back
  • Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon
  • Local Info

    For hikes with epic ocean views, check out Topanga State Park or the Temescal Canyon Loop in neighboring Temescal Gateway Park.

    Visiting Tips

    It should come as no surprise that hiking in L.A. can be hot and dry. With that in mind, always bring some water and sun protection, but also consider the non-summer months, like Spring and Fall, for some of the best times to get out, with summer warmth lasting into October, especially on the Eastside. February-April can be a great time for nice temps, blooming wildflowers, and spotting gray whales as they return north from their calving grounds off Baja and coastal western Mexico.

    Camping & Lodging

    You'll find lots of hike-in camping options throughout the San Gabriel Mountains. The Forest Service maintains most of these first-come, first-served sites like the Gould Mesa Trail Camp off the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14 or the Bear Canyon Campsite on the Bear Canyon Trail Camp hike from the Switzer Picnic Area.

    For drive-up campgrounds, check out the Manker Flats Campground near San Antonio Falls or the Chilao Campground near Big Tujunga Canyon and the Silver Moccasin Trail.

    Along the Malibu coastline in the Santa Monica Mountains, you can find established camping in one of these four state parks:
    • Leo Carrillo State Park: Hike and Bike ($10/person), Canyon Family ($45/night), Group Walk-In ($225/night)
    • Point Mugu State Park: Big Sycamore Canyon Hike/Bike ($10/person), Big Sycamore Canyon Family Camp ($45/night), and much more.
    • Malibu Creek State Park: Malibu Creek Family Campground ($45/night), Malibu Creek Group Camp Walk-In ($200/night)
    • Topanga State Park: Musch Camp Backcountry Hike-In ($7/person/night and $10/night parking fee)

    Food & Drink

    After a hike at Griffith Park, like the lesser-known Beacon Hill Loop, check out Proof Bakery for all your pastry and coffee needs. Or just down Eisenhurst Ave is The Village Bakery and Cafe for a casual lunch option. On the Westside, near Will Rogers State Park, the post-hike go-to is a Godmother sandwich from Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery.

    Outfitters, Tours, & Shuttles

    If you need gear, there are lots of retailers to choose from. Head to REI in Santa Monica or Burbank for a good place to start.

    Other Activities

    Los Angeles is a cultural hub with endless arts, shopping, and food for the rare rainy day (February is the rainiest month) or, more likely, when the heat is just too much. After signing up with a TAP account, hop on a Metro Bike Share bike for a free 30-minute ride and find yourself in a new neighborhood with more to explore just around the corner.

    Maps & Guidebooks

    Check out onX Backcountry for the ultimate GPS navigation app.

    Gems in Los Angeles - 8

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Gems

    gem Favorite Black Star Waterfall (dry)

    Black Star Waterfall

    (1) Foothil…, CA
    gem Favorite Made it to the top of Ontario Peak! It was a perfect day for panoramic views!

    Ontario Peak

    (1) Mount B…, CA
    gem Favorite A beautiful, 2000+ year old limber pine; amazing!

    Mt. Baden-Powell

    (1) Wrightwood, CA
    gem Favorite San Antonio Falls

    San Antonio Falls

    (10) Wrightwood, CA
    gem Favorite Los Angeles

    Griffith Observatory

    (8) Hollywood, CA
    gem Favorite Cooper Canyon Falls in late spring.

    Cooper Canyon Falls

    (9) Wrightwood, CA
    gem Favorite View from behind the sign overlooking Hollywood Reservoir.

    Hollywood Sign

    (8) Hollywo…, CA
    gem Favorite Murphy Ranch

    Murphy Ranch

    (7) Santa M…, CA

    Recommended Routes in Los Angeles - 132

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Recommended Routes

    Favorite Bridge to Nowhere, Angeles National Forest
    Intermediate/Difficult

    Bridge to Nowhere - East Fork Trail #8W13

    9.8 mi 15.8 km 814' Up 248.01 m Up 814' Down 248.01 m Down

    La Verne, CA
    Favorite Lower Eaton Canyon Falls.
    Intermediate

    Eaton Falls

    3.6 mi 5.8 km 382' Up 116.53 m Up 382' Down 116.5 m Down

    Altadena, CA
    Favorite Parker Mesa Overlook looking South.
    Intermediate/Difficult

    Parker Mesa Overlook

    7.5 mi 12.1 km 1,469' Up 447.84 m Up 1,471' Down 448.44 m Down

    Las Flores, CA
    Favorite Everything is clear at 5000ft above.  You can even see the tall buildings in Downtown Los Angeles!
    Difficult

    Mount Wilson

    13.6 mi 21.9 km 4,739' Up 1444.47 m Up 4,739' Down 1444.32 m Down

    Sierra…, CA
    Favorite Sturtevant Falls Trail.
    Intermediate

    Sturtevant Falls

    3.4 mi 5.4 km 639' Up 194.74 m Up 639' Down 194.85 m Down

    Arcadia, CA
    Favorite Top of the World Sunset
    Intermediate

    Top of the World Loop

    7.1 mi 11.4 km 896' Up 272.95 m Up 901' Down 274.66 m Down

    Laguna…, CA
    Favorite Everything is clear at 5000ft above.  You can even see the tall buildings in Downtown Los Angeles!
    Difficult

    Chantry Flat/Mt. Wilson Loop

    15.3 mi 24.6 km 4,195' Up 1278.55 m Up 4,183' Down 1274.84 m Down

    Sierra…, CA
    Favorite Following the leader!
    Difficult

    San Antonio Falls - Sierra Club Ski Hut - Devil's Backbone

    10.8 mi 17.3 km 3,810' Up 1161.35 m Up 3,813' Down 1162.11 m Down

    Mount B…, CA
    Favorite Beautiful mountain views.
    Intermediate

    Mt. Lowe Railway Ruins

    5.3 mi 8.5 km 1,344' Up 409.63 m Up 1,344' Down 409.51 m Down

    Altadena, CA

    Los Angeles Hiking

    • 2,656 Miles 4,274 Kilometers of Trail
    • 140 Recommended Routes
    • 8 Gems Gems
    • 204 Easy Trails Easy Trails
    • 467 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
    • 72 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Share what you know about this area!

    Areas Within Los Angeles

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    Trails in Los Angeles - 603

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Trails

    5.4 mi 8.7 km #1Mt. Baldy Trail #7W12
    Difficult
    San Antonio Heights, CA
    Difficult
    San Antonio Heights, CA 25 
    3.5 mi 5.6 km #2Icehouse Canyon Trail #7W07A
    Intermediate/Difficult
    San Antonio Heights, CA
    Intermediate/Difficult
    San Antonio Heights, CA 20 
    7.4 mi 12.0 km #3Cucamonga Peak Trail #7W04
    Difficult
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Difficult
    Rancho Cucamonga, CA 17 
    3.1 mi 5.0 km #4Devil's Backbone Trail #7W05
    Difficult
    Wrightwood, CA
    Difficult
    Wrightwood, CA 19 
    3.1 mi 5.0 km #5Baldy Bowl Trail #7W02
    Difficult
    Wrightwood, CA
    Difficult
    Wrightwood, CA 16 
    0.6 mi 0.9 km #6Red Rock Canyon Trail
    Intermediate
    Foothill Ranch, CA
    Intermediate
    Foothill Ranch, CA 14 
    1.9 mi 3.0 km #7Big Horn Mine Trail
    Intermediate
    Wrightwood, CA
    Intermediate
    Wrightwood, CA 13 
    1.1 mi 1.8 km #8Beelie Goat Trail
    Very Difficult
    San Fernando, CA
    Very Difficult
    San Fernando, CA
    5.9 mi 9.6 km #9Barrett-Stoddard Truck Trail
    Intermediate
    San Antonio Heights, CA
    Intermediate
    San Antonio Heights, CA
    5.5 mi 8.8 km #10Don Mullally Trail
    Difficult
    Santa Clarita, CA
    Difficult
    Santa Clarita, CA

    Photos of Los Angeles - 1,100

    Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos

    Following the leader!
    May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
    Windswept trees just below the summit...
    May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
    Summit of Mt. San Antonio facing south-east.
    Aug 5, 2015 near Wrightwood, CA
    Owing to its scenic views and easy network of trails, the Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is a popular place for visitors of all ages. The people will then out as you proceed further down the trails and away from the parking area.
    Apr 13, 2022 near Rancho…, CA
    It's all about balance...
    Mar 13, 2019 near La Caña…, CA
    View of the Observatory with Down Town Los Angeles in the distance.
    Apr 22, 2019 near Hollywo…, CA
    Looking south from Griffith
    Mar 24, 2015 near Univers…, CA
    Using my hands to hike...
    May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA