The Best Hikes in LA

by Roki Prunali

The LA hiking scene is about as equally trendy as all of the new foodie stops that pop up every month. As much as Los Angeles is a food lover haven, Angelenos definitely work for that food. There is no way they can all look that good and eat that much – something’s gotta give. The one exercise that all LA people swear by is a good old fashion hike. And that yearlong temperate weather means hiking pretty much any time you want.

Runyon Canyon is fun and all, with an amazing view of the city, but it is a wee bit too trendy for my taste. It seems that everyone you meet along the trail is dressed to impress (or take the token selfie at the top of the hill) and not really breathing in all the hike has to offer. Not to mention, I heard there are meter maids just waiting to give you a ticket if you dilly daddle too long after the hike.  

Hiking for me is super spiritual and a real moment to be alone (even if you are surrounded by other people on the trail).  My mind tends to race a million miles a minute, but with one deep breath, I realize how lucky I am to be there, and then the mindfulness mood sets in. Sounds cheesy, but nature sure has a way of messing with you. In a good way, that is.

Lucky for me, I have one of the best hikes down the street from me, no car needed. The Zuma Ridge Trail is about 2.8 miles total, but there are many trails that connect to it, which lets you customize your own route. Personally, I think the Ocean View and Canyon trail loop offer the best of both worlds. That view…breathtaking, and never gets old.

Best Hikes in LA

Here are some other trails that are not be missed:

1. Bronson Canyon

You want the Hollywood vibe, with less-ish people than Runyon, then this is your place. You get more bang for your buck, the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and the Bronson Cave, all in one hike. The Bronson Cave has played home to Batman, a hideout for a plethora of heists, and alien invasions. If you’re looking for the perfect Instagram op, try Bronson Canyon.

Best Hikes in LA

2. Los Liones Canyon

Brace yourself, for most of these amazing trails are located or overlook gorgeous Malibu, and honestly mountainous treks with ocean views are priceless. If you want a breezier hike (in all the senses) just stick to Los Liones for a 1.5 mile hike, but if you are feeling a bit more adventurous, get your workout in and head to Parker Mesa Overlook. Making the loop is seven miles.

3. The Grotto Trail

It may be on the shorter side of hiking – about 3.5 miles round-trip – but the views are to die for. A 20-foot waterfall, hidden cave, massive boulders, gorgeous open meadows are just a few of the spectacular things you may see on the trail. Be ready to get dirty, climbing over those boulders are a must to see the grotto.

Best Hikes in LA

4. Solstice Canyon Loop Trails

Los Angeles is known to always be in a drought, so I know it seems strange to think of waterfalls flowing. But now is a better time than ever! I have never seen so much rain in LA. And to think, I was escaping the Milanese rain for some classic California sunshine. But boy, did they need it.  Although the waterfall is not the only beauty to see on this trip, the trail commences with ruins of two Malibu homes. Remnants of walls, a stove and even a bathtub leave a wonderment of what actually happened there.

5. Bridge to Nowhere

If you are a real adventure junkie, you can make this hike into a day of bungee jumping. This trail is about ten miles as you trek the San Gabriel River (bring your water shoes because things may get a bit wet) and across some treacherous mountains to reach the Bridge of Nowhere. The bridge, a failed government project, now serves as a hot bungee jumping destination.

Best Hikes in LA

6. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Culver City

Looking to intensify your workout? This trail is mainly made up of stairs, so the glute struggle is real. No natural wonders here, industrial beauty is what makes this hike special. Situated on the edge of Culver City, this overlook points north of the city, highlighting Downtown’s skyline, Century City and even the Mormon temple in Westwood.

Best Hikes in LA

7. Escondido Falls, Malibu

One of the biggest waterfalls in Southern California, this two-tiered waterfall offers a refuge on those hot Californian days. The first tier is 50 feet tall and already rivals any other waterfall on my list. If you are feeling a bit more rugged, a steep climb up some slippery rocks will get you to the next majestic tier of 100 feet. Take a dip in the wading pool; you probably will not be the only one.

Best Hikes LA

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