Venture Outside: The 7 Best Hikes in Los Angeles Take You Beyond City Limits

Hiking in Los Angeles


Since the City of Angels boasts fairly predictable (and awesome) weather pretty much year-round, its residents love—some might say live—to be active. It seems L.A. natives post more Instagrams featuring their hikes than New Yorkers do pizza. And who wouldn't want to with those views and perfect sunshine to match?

For those who live in La La Land, the city has some of the best trails around, so it's about time we talked about the best hikes in Los Angeles. From the Bridge to Nowhere, the Wisdom Tree, and the 1950s ruins, there are some pretty scenic routes in the City of Angels.

So, whether you're a California local or just in town for a few days, these are the best hikes in Los Angeles, for sure. Scroll through, and then take a hike (literally).

Runyon Canyon

We know, we know, Runyon Canyon is no secret. But if you're up for a hike that's still pretty social, it's the place to see and be seen (i.e., it's perfect for people-watching). There are two routes you can choose from: Start from the east on Fuller Avenue or from the west on North Vista. Either way, the hike is pleasurable until the very end when you have to tackle a sharp incline. The good news is that the views at the top of the Hollywood Hills more than make up for it. Bonus points: If you have a dog, they're allowed to be off-leash for most of the trail.

2001 N. Fuller Ave., Los Angeles

The Sara Wan Trailhead at Corral Canyon

Enter from the Pacific Coast Highway and start walking this 2.5-mile loop along the coast (you can park on the street; just beware of no-parking signs). What makes this particular hike pretty cool is that the Corral Canyon is the last canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains that has a watershed that flows directly into the Pacific Ocean. Prepare to immerse yourself in nature, from delicious-smelling purple sage to coastal scrub, and catch a glimpse of the Pacific through the canyons. At the end of the trail, it's pretty much mandatory to stop for some food at Malibu Seafood (you'll be sorry if you don't).

5623 Pacific Coast Highway, Los Angeles

Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa

If you want a pretty low-key walk with gorgeous views, the 7.3-mile hike from the Pacific Palisades to Parker Mesa outlook in Topanga State Park is the one for you. During a shadier part of your four-hour trek, you'll witness ivy blooming like a rug on the ground, so be sure to stop for pictures. And if you get a little tired, relax for a few on one of the benches overlooking the rest of the city and then be on your merry way. 

566 Los Liones Drive, Los Angeles

Solstice Canyon Trail

If you like to sightsee, the Solstice Canyon Trail in Malibu has a lot to offer. First, you can actually sit and have a picnic here, so that earns it bonus points in our book. When you start venturing into the tree-covered trail, you'll catch sight of the oldest tree in Malibu, get to explore the ruins of a 1950s mansion, and stop in front of the famous Solstice waterfall.

Solstice Canyon Trail, Corral Canyon Road, and Solstice Canyon Road, Malibu

Bridge to Nowhere

If you want to push yourself, try hiking the 10-mile trail that goes along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River into the mountains. It's at this spot in the 1930s that most of the large road was washed away by a flood, leaving only the 120-foot concrete bridge (which you can still cross with an easy-to-get wilderness permit). If you're feeling especially adventurous, you can plan ahead and bungee jump from the top. 

Bridge to Nowhere, Azusa, California

Cahuenga Peak and the Wisdom Tree

Getting to the back of the Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park has never been as much fun as through this route (Cahuenga Peak is the absolute highest point, by the way). This trail is fairly new, and it allows you to stop by the iconic Wisdom Tree, where passersby write their hopes and dreams in the journal pages found in the green ammo box beneath its branches.

Cahuenga Park Trail, Los Angeles, California

Switzer Falls

Even some Angelenos haven't heard of Switzer Falls (it's kind of the best little-known secret only 35 minutes outside of the city). Those who are familiar with it know it for its magical 50-foot waterfall, but you'll need to get to it first. You'll start out at the picnic grounds, pounding the pavement, and eventually, you'll be climbing boulders. You'll want to take a map with you because there are longer and shorter routes that all end up at the falls (you just need to pick your preference).

Switzer Falls, Tujunga, California

Related Stories