Hiking in Los Angeles: Top 16 Amazing Destinations to Hike in The City of Angels

Hiking in Los Angeles is one of the favorite activities of residents and tourists alike, owing to the city’s oh-so-Hollywood parks, beaches, lakes and mountains. While they say nobody walks in Los Angeles, Angelenos do love to hit the trails. From picturesque climbs with ocean views to urban adventures through hills and mature forests, Los Angeles offers plenty of unparalleled hiking destinations.

Best Time for Hiking in Los Angeles

View of Griffith Park from Mount Hollywood, Los Angeles
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Los Angeles is soaked in tropical sunshine for over 300 days every year. The best months for hiking in Los Angeles’ nature trails, coastline and shady reserve forests are between February and November, when temperatures vary from 66°F to 85°F. During December and January, temperatures range between 48°F and 67°F, which are also considered ambient temperatures for hiking at lakes and valleys.

Top 16 Hikes in Los Angeles

Hiking in Griffith Park, Los Angeles
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From mellow meanders to tranquil grasslands and high-intensity workout hikes, Los Angeles has everything for your quick morning jaunts, evening jog and weekend picnics. Here is a comprehensive list of the best parks, beaches, mountains, golf courses and other destinations for hiking in Los Angeles with roundtrip distances, timings and trail details: -

Parks to Hike in Los Angeles

1. Griffith Park

Los Angeles As Seen From Griffith Park's Peaks
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Location: 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California 90027
Timings: Open 24 hours
Elevation: 1,135 feet
Distance: 4.2 miles
Tickets: USD 3 - USD 7

This large municipal park on the east of Santa Monica Mountains is one of the largest reserve parks in North America with a landscaped area of 4,310 acres. Frequented by locals, visitors and children, this heritage Los Feliz park is a great spot for hikes, BBQ and picnics. 

Filled with gigantic sycamores, oaks and brooks, every trail at Griffith Park provides panoramic views of surrounding valleys, glens, LA Basin and Hollywood Circle. The most popular trails are Bronson Caves, Berlin Forest, Charlie Turner Trail, Amir's Garden, Western Canyon and Cadman Drive. There’s also an astronomical observatory with Zeiss telescopes and space shows, art-deco building and an antique carousel inspired by Walt Disney.

2. Runyon Canyon Park

Runyon Canyon Park, Los Angeles
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Location: 2000 North Fuller Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90046
Timings: 7am - 5pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 3 miles
Admission: Free

The 160-acre Runyon Canyon Park is one of the best protected reserve parks for hiking in Los Angeles with stunning vantage points offering views of Catalina Island and Santa Monica Mountains. The trail summit, named Cloud’s Rest, is a well-known spot for off-leash dog parks, celebrity sightings and picnics. 

Highlighted by million dollar mansions, expansive ranches and lofty tropical reserves of oaks and chaparrals, the Runyon Canyon trail loop is also the best place in Hollywood to enjoy unobstructed views of the iconic Hollywood sign, LA Basin and Sunset Boulevard. There is also a dog park inside.

3. Elysian Park

Elysian Park, Los Angeles
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Location: Central Los Angeles, California (Area Code - 323)
Timings: 5am - 9pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 2.3 miles

If you want to avoid regular crowds of runners and joggers with their furry friends, Elysian Park is an underrated gem. Hidden in downtown Los Angeles with spectacular views of Dodger Stadium, the tropical reserve park features low-lying hilly forests and trails leading to vantage points at the summit. This dog-friendly hike emcompasses Chavez Ravine, Portola Trail and Bryce Trail. There is a huge swing at the summit, nestled in ponds and wildflowers.

4. Franklin Canyon Park

Franklin Canyon Park
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Location: 2600 Franklin Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California 90210
Timings: 7am - 7pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 2 miles

Sprawled over 605 acres at the geographical center of Benedict Canyon, this public municipal nature park is a bevy of 5 picturesque trails for hiking in Los Angeles. The park’s history dates back to 1914 with charming remains of Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir in display. Rare Californian birds and wildlife flank these trails which are often used as a pop culture filming location. Rising up on a fire road, there are chaparral covered slopes. Hike all the way up NPS Trail and Hastain Trail for scenic views of West L.A. and the Pacific.

5. Palisades Park

Palisades Park, Los Angeles
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Location: Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California 90401
Timings: 5am - 12am, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 1.6 miles

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean beach and Ocean Avenue, this 23.6-acre coastal park with hiking trails is encircled by lush tropical mountains and lovely sandstone terrace bluffs. The park fascinates Geography and wildlife enthusiasts for its unconsolidated, unique sedimentary formations, creating magical angles to provide views of the ocean and coastal hills. Palisades Park also has abundant shady palm groves with grasslands for winter hikes and picnics when dipping your feet into the ocean might not be for the best.

6. Wilacre Park

View of Los Angeles From Wilacre Park
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Location: 3431 Fryman Road, Studio City, Los Angeles, California 91604
Timings: 7am - 7pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 2.6 miles

Wilacre Park is a 128-acre park for wildlife watching and hiking in Los Angeles off of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The loop hike takes you through three different terrain types, including coastal sage scrub at Wilacre and offers expansive views of San Fernando Valley from Fryman and Coldwater Canyons at the end. A minute into the hikes, you would meet TreePeople, a non-profit environmental organization. Betty B. Dearing Trail is the park’s dog-friendly trail, dappled in shade with giant chaparrals. Iredell Lane is a cul-de-sac leading to the Rainforest trail, hidden amidst Fryman Canyon.

7. Solstice Canyon Park

Ruins of Keller House in Solstice Canyon Park, Los Angeles
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Location: 3455 Solstice Canyon Road, Malibu, California 90265
Timings: 8am - 6pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 3.2 miles

Tucked into a serene valley on the Santa Monica Mountains, Solstice Canyon Park offers picturesque, shady trails within a massive gulch that you can hike in flip-flops. While the neighborhood is renowned for surf culture and posh real estate, this park is an oasis for middling and hiking through weathered coastal scrublands, amidst sycamores and oaks. Hiking routes cross the ruins of a centuries-old hunting cabin built by African-American architect Paul Revere Williams. There is a cascading waterfall at the trail’s end, running through rock pools into a glistening creek.

8. Topanga State Park

Topanga State Park, Los Angeles
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Location: 20828 Entrada Road, Topanga, Los Angeles, California 90290
Timings: 8am - 6:30pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 36 miles

The Topanga State Park hike in Los Angeles is characterized by steep hills and switchbacks with elevation gain of 1,600 feet. It is known for having the longest loop of trails among parks in Los Angeles. Suitable for intermediates and professional hikers, the park is amazing for family picnics, jogging, running and biking. The hike begins off of Los Liones Drive in Sunset Boulevard and features breathtaking trails meandering along open grasslands, live oaks and cliffs. Towards the trail’s end, gaze out at Los angeles from vantage point bluffs of Parker Mesa Overlook.

9. San Vicente Mountain Park

Former Nike Missile Launch Site at San Vicente Park
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Location: 17500 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles, California 90049
Timings: 7am - 7pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 10 miles

Starting off the unpaved portion west of freeway 405 of Mulholland Drive, San Vicente Mountain Park is a scenic former Nike missile launch, control and radar site with well-maintained ruins of towers. Ground bases, computers, hostile aircrafts and anti-missile equipment are some of the remains around picnic spots. Nothing gets better than a mesmerizing morning hike through the premier trails offering stunning views of the sunrise casting a glow on Los Angeles River, Encino Reservoir, San Fernando Valley and Mulholland Drive.

Mountain Hiking in Los Angeles

10. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Panorama Of Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Los Angeles
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Location: 6300 Hetzler Road, Culver City, Los Angeles, California 90232
Distance: 1.3 miles
Timings: Open 24 hours

Located on the south end of Culver City, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is an acclaimed hiking destination for professionals and intermediate skill level hikers. This 500-foot-tall steep hill is popular for offering unique perspectives of Culver City Stairs, greater Los Angeles and LA’s north basin. Expect a pulse-pounding trail for scenic jogging, walking your dogs and resting under towering oaks to spread a picnic. Posh cafes lining some of the trails, native American birds and Californian wildflowers are the real draw of this hiking trail in Los Angeles.

11. Cahuenga Peak

View of Burbank and North Basin From Cahuenga Peak, Los Angeles
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Location: Los Angeles County, California
Elevation: 1,821 feet
Distance: 3 miles

Cahuenga Peak is the 12th highest peak of Santa Monica Mountains located inside Griffith Park. It stands at the east of Mulholland Drive, so you can walk along the boulevard and climb up the peak for enjoying a 360-degree panorama of LA Basin and San Fernando Valley. Innsdale Trail here is one of the best rugged out and back trails for hiking in Los Angeles where you would be rewarded with exquisite views of Los Angeles, Burbank and the Hollywood Sign at the trail’s end.

12. Hollywood Sign Hike

Hollywood Sign Hike, Los Angeles
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Location: Mount Lee, Los Angeles
Distance: 6.4 miles
Hiking time: 2 hours

The iconic Hollywood Sign of Los Angeles is in itself a historic landmark and symbol of American culture across the globe. There are 3 trails for hiking in Los Angeles that lead right up to the Hollywood Sign namely Mount Hollywood Trail, Cahuenga Peak trail and Brush Canyon trail. Stroll through valleys with rolling chaparral as the peak ascends to offer magnificent perspectives of LA basin and the Pacific Ocean through a valley in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Waterfalls for Hiking in Los Angeles

13. Eaton Canyon Falls

Eaton Canyon Falls, Los Angeles
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Location: 1750 North Altadena Drive, Altadena, Los Angeles California 91001
Height: 44 feet
Distance: 0.65 miles
Timings:
  • Wednesday - Sunday: 8am - 5pm
  • Monday - Tuesday: Open 24 hours
Housed within Eaton Canyon Natural Area covering 190 acres of botanical, zoological and geographical preserves, this gorging snow-fed waterfall stands at the end of hiking and equestrian trails through San Gabriel Mountains. Staging and picnic areas, seasonal streams, beautiful migratory birds and native flora can be found along the trail. You would be crossing creeks, hopping boulders and hiking through rugged terrain. Unwind at the base of this waterfall, filled with natural wading pools.

14. Santa Ynez Falls

Hiking in Los Angeles Waterfalls
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Location: Santa Ynez Waterfall Trail, Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, California 90272
Distance: 2.2 miles
Height: 20 feet

One of the easiest trails for people of all skill levels for hiking in Los Angeles, Santa Ynez Falls hike ends with a cascading waterfall having shallow pools at the base. The shady hiking trail runs along massive crevices in the canyon walls, laden with chaparral, oaks and Californian wildflowers. These walls close in towards the Santa Ynez Falls gorge, which is accessible after a short climb at the end of designated hiking trails. Prepare to jump and waddle over the running creek on your hike.

Other Places For Hiking in Los Angeles

15. Brush Canyon Trail

Hollywood Sign and Cityscape As Seen From Brush Canyon Trail, Los Angeles
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Location: Canyon Drive, Los Angeles, California 90068
Timings: 8am - 6pm, Monday - Sunday
Distance: 2.8 miles

Brush Canyon Trail is a hiking area in the heart of Los Angeles, featuring a rocky quarry tunnel that begins off the northeast trail from the dirt road. With striking views of downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign, this hiking trail is a major draw for its natural wealth, boasting of birds, chaparral valleys and a gradual, easy climb. Kids love Adam West’s Bat Cave here, home to the original Batmobile used in the 60's Batman series. You can also use this trail to reach the Hollywood sign.

16. Trebek Open Space

Trebek Open Space, Los Angeles
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Location: 2500 Nichols Canyon Road, Los Angeles, California 90046
Timings: Open 24 hours
Distance: 2 miles

Popular for being one of the most sun-soaked destinations for hiking in Los Angeles, Trebek Open Space first started out as a donation made by eponymous game show hosts. This hiking area in Hollywood Hills offers a 62-acre tract with broad, picture-perfect paths abutting southern faces of Runyon Canyon. There is a well-established network of green fire roads suitable for hikers, mountain bikers and horse riding. Bantam Trail is Trebek Open Space’s most-walked hiking trail, opening into the voluptuous Los Angeles River.

Tips For Hiking in Los Angeles

Hiking in Los Angeles
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1. Wearing masks and practicing social distancing of 6 feet is mandatory at every public place.
2. Carry umbrellas, sunscreen and plenty of drinking water. Wear sturdy hiking shoes.
Runyon Canyon Park, Los Angeles
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3. Certain parks and beaches might not be open to cars and pets. Always check for parking and pet policies beforehand.
4. Always bring your camera along for hiking in Los Angeles!

Los Angeles has some of California’s best hiking trails with dynamic views of waterfalls, forests, canyons, mountains, rivers, skyline, basins and valleys. Which of these unique, world-famous trails would you visit for hiking in Los Angeles? Share with us your story of hiking in Los Angeles, queries and suggestions in the comments below.

This post was published by Koushiki Kundu

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