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7 of the Best Hikes In and Around Los Angeles

Scenic, serene hikes offering ocean views, dog-friendly trails, and the occasional celebrity.

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Hi, I'm Chris!

Chris Dong is a freelance writer and strategist, with his work in Travel + Leisure, Conde Nast Traveler, The Points Guy, and more. You can follow his latest adventures on Instagram at @thechrisflyer.

Los Angeles may be an urban metropolis, but the City of Angels and its surrounding areas are also home to some incredible hiking opportunities. Add in an ideal Southern California climate with comfortable temperatures pretty much year-round, and you’ve got the recipe for the perfect outdoor adventure. Here are some of our picks for the best spots for hiking in Los Angeles—for beginners and experts alike.

1. Palos Verdes Nature Preserve

Palos Verdes Nature Preserve on the Pacific Coast.
Hike by the Pacific Ocean in Palos Verdes Nature Preserve.Foto: Andy Konieczny / Shutters

Hike the shoreline and build in a stop at a tide pool.

Spread across 12 individual reserves on approximately 1,400 acres (567 hectares), Palos Verdes is a peninsula that juts out over the Pacific offering dramatic coastline views. Just 31 miles (50 kilometers) from Downtown LA, its nature preserve offers ample hiking opportunities, from family-friendly shoreline walks near the Terranea Resort to the slightly more challenging Rancho Palos Verdes Coastal Trail, a popular 2-mile (3.2-kilometer) out-and-back option ideal for checking out the tide pools.

2. Griffith Park

Hikers get to know the trails in Griffith Park in LA.
Griffith Park is one of LA's most famous nature spots.Foto: Dania Maxwell / Viator

Get a closeup view of the Hollywood sign.

Located in the LA neighborhood of Los Feliz and scattered across 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares), Griffith Park offers over 50 miles (80.5 kilometers) of trails for varying levels of fitness. The 5.2-mile (8.4-kilometer) Brush Canyon Trail, considered a “medium” hike in terms of difficulty, allows adventure seekers to get to the back of the Hollywood sign. Another outstanding option, Mount Hollywood soars 1,625 feet (495 meters) in the air, offering panoramic views of the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains, and the Downtown skyline.

3. Escondido Falls

Escondido Falls waterfalls in LA.
Escondido Falls can be reached on a short hike.Foto: Adam Mustafa / Shutterstock

Take a short hike to multiple waterfalls.

As a relatively easy 3.8-mile (6.1-kilometer) hike in Malibu just 34 miles (55 kilometers) from Downtown LA, Escondido Falls boasts some of the best waterfalls in Southern California. In fact, there are three falls along this route, each progressively more difficult to get to. At 150 feet (46 meters) high, the last one offers the most dramatic view (especially after a rainstorm) and an impressive array of plant life.

4. Runyon Canyon Park

Hikers look out over LA from Runyon Canyon Park.
Runyon Canyon Park is just above Hollywood.Foto: HannaTor / Shutterstock

Hike with your pup (and maybe spot a celebrity).

Just above the Hollywood neighborhood, you’ll find one of the most popular hiking areas in LA. Runyon Canyon Park boasts dog-friendly trails, the opportunity to spot celebrities, and outstanding views of the city. The three primary routes range from 1.9–3.3 miles (3.1–5.3 kilometers), so you’ll have plenty of time for sightseeing before or after your hike. If you're not confident hiking alone, or want a different perspective on the park, you can also opt for a sunset hike or nighttime exploration.

5. Santiago Oaks Regional Park

A hiking trail in Santiago Oaks Regional Park in LA.
Santiago Oaks Regional Park is a little off the beaten path.Foto: Arne Beruldsen / Shutterstock

Family-friendly hiking perfect for a day off from Disneyland® crowds.

Most out-of-towners don’t know about Santiago Oaks Regional Park, a nature refuge that’s a bit off the beaten path. That’s not to say it’s too far from the action, however. Located just to the east of Anaheim in Orange County, the park can be easily combined with a trip to Disneyland®. Its 1,269 acres (514 hectares) offer an array of hiking opportunities with mountain vistas and many family-friendly trails.

6. Mt. Baldy (Mt. San Antonio)

Mount Baldy (Mount San Antonio) dusted in snow with conifers in the foreground.
Mt. Baldy is about an hour east of LA.Foto: dlhca / Shutterstock

Climb to the highest point of Los Angeles County.

Mt. Baldy, also known by its official name of Mt. San Antonio, is located about an hour east of LA in the Angeles National Forest. True adventure seekers can hike the 6.5-mile (10.5-kilometer) trail, which brings you to the highest point in Los Angeles County at 10,064 feet (3,068 meters). With almost 2,300 total feet (700 meters) of elevation climb, it's a tough yet popular day hike.

7. Topanga State Park

Hikers enjoy exploring Topanga State Park above the sea.
Topanga State Park is known for its view of the Pacific Ocean.Foto: Noah Sauve / Shutterstock

Choose your hiking adventure from three dozen miles of trails.

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains north of the Pacific Palisades, just 24 miles (39 kilometers) from Downtown LA, Topanga State Park boasts scenic views of the Pacific Ocean along most of the trails. Hikers can explore the 36 miles (58 kilometers) of trails, including the Los Liones Trail, a 2.6-mile (4.2-kilometer) path weaving up a leafy canyon with stunning views of the Pacific below.

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