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The 15 Best Hikes In LA

1 October, 2021by Bounce

When you think about exciting Los Angeles, you probably envision sandy white beaches, palm trees, and celebrities at every turn. While there are definitely sandy beaches, palm trees, and celebrities, there are also several parks and green spaces filled with hikes for every skill level.


Los Angeles has some of the best hiking trails in California and many of these trails will take you through canyons, forests, deserts, and even past some of the most breathtaking waterfalls. There will be a hiking trail that best suits your needs.


Get out into nature, lace up your hiking boots, and find some of the best hikes in Los Angeles. Whether you are looking for a stroll through the woods, a more strenuous hike, or a challenging hike for the experienced hiker, LA has plenty of hikes to pick from.


If you're wondering how to get to some of these beautiful locations, we've got just the guide on how to get around LA for you.


Our top hiking trail picks in LA

While this is not a comprehensive list of all the hiking trails in Los Angeles, these are some of the most popular for their amazing scenery and levels of difficulty. Check out our top hikes in LA.


Mount Hollywood Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Length: 5.3 miles

  • Location: West Observatory Rd. at Mt. Hollywood Dr.

This is one of the most popular trails in Los Angeles and leads hikers through hills filled with wildflowers in the spring and summer. There are even certain parts of the trail that overlook the city and the iconic Hollywood sign. You will want to get there early to avoid the large crowds.


When you reach the peak of the Mount Hollywood Trail you will be able to look down and get a panoramic view of Hollywood Boulevard and the Los Angeles skyline. It is definitely worth the time it takes to go up the trail. Mount Hollywood is also similar to the Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver.

Griffith Observatory Trail

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Length: 2-4 miles

  • Location: Fern Dell Dr.

 There are multiple trailheads off of Fern Dell Drive so you will park along the road closest to the trailhead you are taking. The hike is easy to moderate depending on the weather and which trailhead. Each trail will take you to the observatory and then you can take longer hiking trails past there.


If you are looking for a more challenging trail, take one of the paths that lead past the Griffith Observatory, where you will be able to commune with nature while overlooking the Los Angeles skyline. Check out the spectacular views along the trail for a relaxing time in nature.


Cahuenga Park to Wisdom Tree

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Length: 3 miles

  • Location: Wonder View Drive

Follow the trail as it winds up into the hills to the highest peak in Los Angeles and to the Wisdom Tree which is a geocaching location, the lone tree at the top of the hill. Take a breather and enjoy amazing panoramic views of LA before heading back down the trail. Free parking is along Wonder View Drive.


The Wisdom Tree is the only tree at the peak of this trail and it is well-known among locals. Take a break when you reach the tree before you begin making your way back down to the trailhead. This is a favorite hike for many locals.


Runyon Canyon

  • Difficulty: Strenuous

  • Length: 2.7 miles

  • Location: Fuller Avenue

This is one of the most challenging hikes in LA with steep inclines, descents, and gravel paths. It also has some of the best views of the Pacific Ocean and the LA skyline. Experienced hikers will love the challenge this hike presents. Get there early to avoid the large crowds and enjoy incredible views.


Brush Canyon Trail

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Length: 2.8 miles

  • Location: Fern Dell Drive (at the sharp left turn)

When you are on this hike you will see great views on the Hollywood sign, Observatory, and of the city down below. Expect a moderate climb for the first half of the trail and then enjoy an easier finish as the second half is downhill. Dogs are also welcome on this hike as long as they are leashed.


Bridge to Nowhere

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Length: 9.3 miles

  • Location: San Gabriel Mountains

Pack your backpack and head out to Camp Bonita Road in San Gabriel Mountains to view the abandoned bridge that really does go nowhere. It is on a road that has long been washed away and it spans the East Fork of the San Gabriel River. You do have an elevation increase of 900 feet here.


There are a few river crossings along the trail that can be tricky, especially in wet weather but the beautiful scenery in this state park makes the journey well worth it. You will follow the final part of the trail along a gravel road that ends at the bridge. Expect to spend at least six hours on this hike.

Eaton Canyon

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Length: 3.5 miles

  • Location: North Altadena Drive

Head to Pasadena for a wonderful hike through nature with views of forest, mountains, and even a 40-foot cascading waterfall. A nature center is located at the trailhead where you can find information about Eaton Canyon. The hike is easy to moderate depending on the weather and time of day.


 Sandstone Peak

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Length: 5.7 miles

  • Location: Santa Monica Mountains

Even though this is a summit hike, it is not an overly strenuous hike but has amazing views from the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. You will begin your journey up Backbone Trail and take a gravel trail that leads to Sandstone Peak. Lace up your hiking boots and prepare for a great hike.


Escondido Canyon and Falls

  • Difficulty: Easy

  • Length: 3.7 miles

  • Location: Escondido Canyon Park

 This family-friendly hike features several amazing water features including a seasonal waterfall and babbling brook. The trailhead itself is paved and is wheelchair accessible, but some of the trail is not fully wheelchair accessible. Kids can join the park’s kids club and be honorary park rangers.


The views of the canyon are simply breathtaking with unique rock formations, vibrant wildflowers, and cascading waterfalls. The highest waterfall is located on private property and hikers are not allowed to trespass but you can get a glimpse of it from below.

Inspiration Point Loop

  • Difficulty: Strenuous

  • Length: 9 miles

  • Location: Will Rogers State Historic Site

Located near Altadena, this trail is great for hikers, mountain bikers, sightseers, and runners. It is accessible year-round and is dog-friendly but they must be leashed at all times. It will take between five and seven hours to complete the trail, so plan accordingly and bring enough provisions.


After visiting the Will Rogers State Historic Site, head over to Topanga State Park for more great hikes for every skill level.


Solstice Canyon

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Length: 3.2 miles

  • Location: Santa Monica Mountains

You will have brilliant views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean when you hike in this canyon. There are also otherworldly rock formations and waterfalls that you do not want to miss. Along the trail check out the Tropical Terrace filled with statues and tropical plants.


Fryman Canyon Loop at Wilacre Park

  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

  • Length: 3 miles

  • Location: Wilacre Park

When you are looking for a trail that has breathtaking views of the magnificent LA sunsets, Fryman Canyon Loop is the trail. It is such a peaceful and mostly easy hike, if you stick to the paved paths, right in the middle of Hollywood Hills. For a more difficult hike try the dirt or gravel paths.


This is a dog-friendly trail, but dogs must remain leashed. The main trail also passes right by the Tree People headquarters. Drop in and learn more about their efforts to create a better environment through planting new trees throughout Southern California. Many of their trees can be seen along the trail.  


Wildwood Canyon

  • Difficulty: Strenuous

  • Length: 2.3 miles

  • Location: Foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains

Wildwood Canyon is near Burbank and is a shorter, but still very challenging, hike up some very steep and difficult inclines. This rustic canyon hike gives you wonderful mountain views as you make your way along the strenuous path. The terrain will vary as you make your way through the 2.3 miles.

Devil’s Backbone

  • Difficulty: Strenuous

  • Length: 6.6 miles

  • Location: San Gabriel Mountains

 This amazing ridgetop trail offers incredible mountain views as you hike and climb your way up Mount Baldy. This is most definitely not a trail for beginners or anyone not used to hiking more strenuous paths. It does have an elevation gain of 2,350 feet as you make your way to the top.


 Much of Devil’s Backbone is exposed to the unforgiving California sun so remember to bring along plenty of protective gear and water to be safe as you make your way through this challenging trail. There are other top trails in the same area that are not as strenuous for the less experienced hiker.


Santa Anita Canyon Loop

  • Difficulty: Moderate

  • Length: 9.5 miles

  • Location: San Gabriel Mountains

 This has to be one of the most picturesque hikes in or near Los Angeles. Located inside Angeles National Forest in the San Gabriel Mountains, this is a half-day hike for more experienced hikers or a full-day hike for less experienced hikers. Take in the natural beauty of the park as you move deeper along the trail.

Easy Hikes In LA

Here are a few easy hikes that offer spectacular views of nature and/or Los Angeles. Bring along plenty of sunscreen and water when you head out on your hike. These treks will be fun for active kids. Try one before heading out for more kid-friendly attractions in LA!

  • Mount Hollywood Trail: This 5.3-mile hike is perfect for tourists who want great photos of the iconic Hollywood sign. It is incredibly popular, especially on the weekends.

  • Griffith Observatory Trail: Plan this hike during sunny weather for an easier hike and take the 2-mile trailhead instead of the trailhead for the 4-mile hike.

  • Solstice Canyon: Head to the Santa Monica Mountains for a 3.2-mile family-friendly hike and enjoy amazing views of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.


Intermediate Hikes In LA

After you have tackled the easier hikes, it is time to challenge yourself and take on one or two of the more moderate trails. Lace-up your hiking boots and check out these trails.

  • Brush Canyon Trail: This is a great 2.8-mile hike that will get your heart rate up and your muscles working. The first half is all uphill but leads to the Observatory.

  • Sandstone Park: Hike your way along a 5.7-mile trail that leads right up to the tallest peak of the Santa Monica Mountains.

  • Bridge to Nowhere: Curious minds really want to tackle this 9.3-mile trail, with a few river crossings, just to see the eerie 130-foot bridge that has been long since abandoned.


Difficult Hikes In LA

Experienced hikers will be looking for more challenging hikes around Los Angeles. Check your packs before heading out, you will be spending a few hours on the trail.

  • Runyon Canyon: Even though it is only 2.7 miles, it is one of the most challenging hikes near Los Angeles. It runs along an old fire road that is a little rough at times.

  • Inspiration Point Loop: This 9-mile path will take you between 5 and 7 hours to complete and has several different terrains to hike through.

  • Devil’s Backbone: While this 6.6-mile hike sounds daunting, it is great fun and challenges even the most experienced hiker. The hike starts near the Mount Baldy Loop.

Conclusion

Whether you are hiking to see the Hollywood sign, looking for panoramic views of LA and the Pacific Ocean, or visiting a state park, there are so many fantastic hikes in and near exciting Los Angeles. You can become one with nature as you hike through untamed parks or enjoy more leisurely hikes. But before you head out, check out the best brunch spots in LA to fuel your body.


It does not matter if you have never been on a hike or are a seasoned pro, there are hikes for every skill level so find a trail that best suits you, grab your sunscreen and water and set out on an adventure. If you are feeling really adventurous check out Bronson Cave, home of Batman, for an interesting hike.

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