These are some of the best hiking trails in the LA area to help you escape the city and traffic.
The City of Angels has a vast network of hiking trails, with many options for both novice and experienced hikers. The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation oversees a park system with over 2,000 miles of trails.
Summer days are the perfect time to explore the county's hills and mountains.
Take advantage of the beautiful weather and enjoy the outdoors. This in-depth guide will help you plan a hike in Los Angeles County. It will also provide you with the best tips for the hiking footwear you need for your adventure.
7 of the Best Hiking Trails in Los Angeles
1. Runyon Canyon
The trail near West Hollywood, California is 2.7 miles long. It is a moderately challenging route and on average, it takes 1 hour and 33 minutes to complete. Runyon Canyon is one of the more popular hikes in Los Angeles, so chances are good you'll encounter other hikers and trail runners while you explore.
Runyon Canyon is renowned for its picturesque views of the city and nearby mountains. Hikers can enjoy the breathtaking city skyline, including the iconic Hollywood Sign, from various spots along the trails. The trail is surrounded by natural vegetation - such as chaparral, oak trees, and wildflowers adding to the area' natural beauty.
In addition to the stunning views, Runyon Canyon Trail is also known for its unique geological formations. The trail follows a ridge line, which provides hikers with up-close views of rocky outcroppings and boulders. These formations were created millions of years ago through the movement of tectonic plates and subsequent erosion.
Recommended Women's Hiking Footwear
The Apex Lite Mid waterproof hiking shoe is loaded with everything you need to hit the trails in an urban environment. They're flexible, breathable, and not too bulky. Plus, they were recently rated as "Best Budget" in Byrdie's best hiking boots that are functional and fashionable. Win, win in LA.
Recommended Men's Hiking Footwear
You'll need a robust pair of hiking boots - breathable, lightweight, and waterproof. The Ravus Mid trail shoe in black is perfect for this urban to rural back to urban transition.
2. Griffith Park
Home to the iconic Hollywood sign, Griffith Park has over 50 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult. The trails offer stunning views of the city and the park itself is a beautiful natural oasis.
The trail offers hikers a variety of terrain to explore, including forests, canyons, and open fields. Hikers can choose from several different trails within the park, each offering its own unique scenery and challenges.
One of the main attractions of Griffith Park Trail is the iconic Griffith Observatory, which sits atop a hill and provides hikers with breathtaking views of the city skyline and surrounding mountains.
Another great feature of Griffith Park Trail is the abundance of wildlife and plant life that can be found along the way. The park is home to a variety of animal species, including coyotes, deer, and mountain lions. Hikers can also enjoy the natural beauty of the park's vegetation, which includes oak trees, sycamores, and wildflowers.
The park is also home to several historic sites, including the old Griffith Park Zoo, which has been abandoned and is now a popular spot for urban exploration. With its combination of natural beauty, diverse landscapes, and historic landmarks, Griffith Park Trail is a must-visit destination for hikers in Los Angeles.
Recommended Trail Shoes for Men
The Destroyer Mid is the ultimate city-to-trail performance sneaker that is casual enough for the city in the morning and the shorter trails in the afternoon.
Recommended Trail Running Shoes for Women
For some of the easier and shorter trails, like the Griffith Park Old Zoo loop, a lightweight and breathable shoe like the Apex lite mid will work fine.
3. Escondido Falls
Located in Malibu, Escondido Falls is a beautiful hike that leads to a 200-foot waterfall. It's a moderate hike and the perfect spot for a picnic.
The Winding Way Trail in Malibu leads to the multi-tiered 150 foot tall Escondido Falls, the tallest waterfall in the
Escondido Falls Trail is a scenic hiking trail located in Malibu, California. The trail spans over 3.8 miles and offers hikers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding mountains. The trail winds through a picturesque canyon and offers hikers a mix of shaded areas and exposed sections, making it a great option for hiking in any season.
One unique aspect of the Escondido Falls Trail is the opportunity for hikers to explore a variety of terrains. The trail begins with a flat, well-maintained path before becoming steeper as it approaches the waterfall.
Hikers will also encounter rocky terrain and a stream crossing, adding to the adventure of the hike. The trail is suitable for hikers of all skill levels and is a popular destination for families with children or those looking for a scenic and easy hike.
4. Mount Baldy (Mount San Antonio)
The highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains, Mount Baldy offers a challenging hike with incredible views. Spanning 6.5 miles, the trail is steep and rocky, so it's best for experienced hikers.
The summit of Mount Baldy, also known as Mount San Antonio, stands at 10,064 feet and offers hikers stunning views of the surrounding San Gabriel Mountains. The hike up Mount Baldy is challenging but rewarding, and the panoramic views from the top make it well worth the effort. Hikers can choose from several different trails to reach the summit, each offering its own unique scenery and challenges.
In addition to the breathtaking views, hiking Mount Baldy provides a great physical challenge and an opportunity to connect with nature. The trail spans over 11 miles round trip and has a vertical elevation gain of over 3,900 feet, making it a strenuous hike that requires preparation and endurance. However, hikers who make it to the summit are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and a memorable outdoor experience.
Whether you're an experienced hiker or looking for a new adventure, hiking Mount Baldy is a great way to get outside, challenge yourself, and enjoy the beauty of the California mountains.
Recommended Hiking Boots
Dog mom extraordinaire and outdoor traveler Meredith Ewenson recommends a high ankle waterproof hiking boot that offers enough stability and ankle support to traverse uneven terrain.
5. Sandstone Peak
Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, Sandstone Peak offers stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding mountains. It's a moderate hike that's suitable for most hikers. Malibu Magazine recently rated Sandstone Peak as Hike of the Month for locals and travelers alike.
The trail spans over 6.25 miles round trip and offers hikers fantastic views of the surrounding mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The highlight of the hike is the Sandstone Peak summit, which stands at 3,114 feet and is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. From the top, hikers can take in panoramic views of the coastline and the surrounding mountain ranges.
The Sandstone Peak Hike is a challenging but rewarding hike that offers a mix of shaded areas and exposed sections. The trail is well-maintained and is suitable for hikers of all skill levels, although it is recommended that hikers wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water. Along the way, hikers can also explore several unique geological formations, including sandstone rock formations and volcanic boulders.
With its stunning views and unique natural features, the Sandstone Peak Hike is a must-visit destination for hikers in Southern California.
Recommended Hiking Boot
The Yosemite Mid WP waterproof hiking boots are built for comfort, protection, and style on all your adventures. The rugged outsole improves grip and durability on variable and rough terrain, and the fork shank ensures flexible but stable movement.
6. Backbone Trail
The Backbone Trail is a 67-mile trail that runs through the Santa Monica Mountains. It's a challenging hike that offers breathtaking views of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
The Backbone Trail is a scenic and challenging hiking trail located near Los Angeles. The trail spans over 67 miles and offers hikers stunning views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The trail winds through a variety of landscapes, including canyons, ridges, and open fields, and hikers can expect to encounter diverse wildlife and plant life along the way. The trail is well-maintained and offers several different access points, making it a great option for hikers of all skill levels.
One of the main attractions of the Backbone Trail is its challenging terrain. The trail has a cumulative elevation gain of over 13,000 feet, and hikers can expect steep climbs and descents throughout the hike. However, the challenging terrain is balanced by the incredible natural beauty of the trail.
Hikers can take in stunning panoramic views of the ocean and the mountains, and can explore several unique geological formations, including sandstone rock formations and volcanic boulders. With its combination of challenging terrain and breathtaking views, the Backbone Trail offer a little bit of everything for the nature lover in you.
7. Eaton Canyon
Eaton Canyon is an excellent hiking trail for families in Southern California. The trail is a great option for families and groups as it offers a mix of easy and moderate sections, making it suitable for hikers of all ages and skill levels.
The trail spans over 3.5 miles round trip and offers stunning views of the San Gabriel Mountains and the surrounding wilderness. The highlight of the hike is the Eaton Canyon Falls which is a popular destination for hikers, instagram pics, and offers a great place to rest and take in the scenery.
In addition to the beautiful scenery, Eaton Canyon also offers several amenities that make it a great destination for families and groups. The trailhead has ample parking and restroom facilities, and there are several picnic areas along the trail where hikers can stop and enjoy a meal or a snack. The trail is also dog-friendly, so families can bring their furry friends along for the hike.
Overall, Eaton Canyon is a great option for families and groups who want to experience the beauty of the California wilderness while enjoying a fun and accessible hike.
Recommended Trail Shoes for the Family
The Boy's Ravus Blast Mid are great kids hiking boots, they're extremely lightweight and breathable. They are a sturdy, dependable casual trail shoe with bungee laces and feature a hook and loop strap closure for easy on and off. Great for walking, hiking, climbing, and other outdoor activities.