Whether it’s for a quick jog, a walk with your dog, exercise or just for a weekend picnic, hiking has always been an integral part of recreation in Los Angeles. The city has numerous options for splendid hikes throughout the year that offer exceptional views of nature and a glimpse of iconic landmarks.
It's a great way to find calm within the chaos by escaping the hustle-bustle of city life. From easily accessible to arduous ones, Los Angeles has hike trails for every level, from beginner to expert. The List featured the top 10 hiking trails in Los Angeles.
11 10. Mount San Antonio
Mount San Antonio, popularly known as Mount Baldy, is the highest point in Los Angeles county. With an elevation 10,046 ft, the hike is treacherous and grueling but the splendid view it has to offer is worth it. It can be even more challenging during winter and sometimes the use of ice axes and crampons are essential.
In spite of this, the gorgeous snowfall makes it a sought-after trail and to avoid the crowd a visit on a weekday is recommended. The easiest way to reach the top is to the ski lift to Baldy Notch and then take the Devil’s Backbone trail.
10 9. Echo Mountain
A hike through the Sam Merrill Trail leads to the historically significant Echo Mountains. The route followed is parallel to the old Mount Lowe Railway track which was built in 1893 and was the first electric mountain railway in the US. The Echo Mountain House resort was accessed by Angelenos through this rail route. It was washed away during the 1938 floods and the remains can still be spotted at the summit of this hike.
Sam Merrill was the enthusiastic man behind the restoration and maintenance of the trail during the 1940s. The 5-mile roundtrip is a great way to get a real hiking experience and become familiar with the glorious history of LA.
9 8. Topanga State Park
The world’s largest wildland within the boundaries of one city is Topanga State Park, located in the Santa Monica Mountains. The 36 miles of trails are within the Los Angeles City limits and offers mesmerizing views of the Pacific Ocean. The park stretches from Topanga Canyon on its west to Rustic Canyon on the east.
The total area covers 11,000 acres and towards the south is Pacific Palisades and Brentwood. The ideal place to start accessing the trails is from Trippet Ranch, which features beautiful California Oaks. The trail is also perfect for bird watching as it's home to many species of migratory birds.
8 7. Runyon Canyon
The popular hiking spot in Los Angeles, Runyon Canyon has the most easily accessible trails that are ideal for a quick hiking experience. It's located in the heart of Hollywood, starting a few blocks from Hollywood Boulevard and progressing up to Mulholland Drive.
The complete 3.3-mile loop offers a scenic view and even a sight of the iconic Hollywood sign. If you are lucky enough, you can even spot the Santa Monica Bay on a clear day. For those who just want to take a picture or jog a little, shorter hikes of 1.9 and 2.65 miles are also available. Further, if you are a dog lover or wish to hike with your dog, this is the perfect place.
6 6. Escondido Falls
Beginning from Pacific Coast Highway along the Winding Way, the 3.8-mile round trip hike is one of the most beautiful waterfall hikes in Los Angeles. The 150-foot Escondido Falls offers a picturesque view during the initial part of the year and when the rainfall is optimum. Wildflowers along the trail add to its beauty and ensure that the hikers get a visual delight.
The 50-foot lower tier is relatively easy and is suitable even for beginners. However, one has to be extremely careful during the hike as the route can be slippery at times. Those seeking more adventure can head to the upper tier, but the risk involved should not be ignored.
5 5. Griffith Park
Spread across a whopping 4,210 acres, Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in the US. With a variety of recreational activities like golf, the Greek Theatre, and even a zoo, this is an ideal picnic spot for tourists and locals alike.
For the hikers, Griffith Park has 53-miles network trails that are open until dusk. The most popular hike is from Griffith Observatory parking to Mount Hollywood’s summit, which is the park’s highest peak that offers a panoramic view of Los Angeles. If you wish to get a closer view of the iconic Hollywood Sign, this hike is the finest choice.
4 4. Elysian Park
The oldest park in Los Angeles, Elysian Park was founded in 1886 and is spread across 600 acres. The park offers easy and convenient trails that are ideal for those looking for a short walk. The trails are dog-friendly and you can spot a lot of dogs during the early hours of the day.
The best-kept secret of this park is the swing at the top that offers a magnificent view of the city. The Secret Swing is on the hill at the intersection of Angeles Point Drive and Park Row. The breath-taking views of the San Gabriel Mountains on a clear day let you escape into a state of tranquillity.
3 3. Franklin Canyon Park
Stretched between the San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills, Franklin Canyon Park has trails for hikers of all levels. The park is spread across 605 acres and is surrounded by scenic grasslands and oak woodlands. The impressive park has a 3-acre lake within, which has been featured in various film and television shows. The 5-mile hike trails can be categorized as easy, moderate and strenuous.
The easiest one is just 0.3 miles round trip named Discovery Trail that stretches through black walnut woodland. The Hastain Trail, which is a moderate climb, offers a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.
2 2. Santa Anita Canyon Loop
This 9-mile round trip along the Santa Anita Canyon hiking trail offers a spectacular view of nature. The serene sound of the 50-ft. Sturtevant Waterfalls offers a feast for the ears throughout the journey. With an elevation of 1,660 feet, the hike is considered one of the best in the San Gabriel Mountains.
During recent times, the popularity has increased manifold and the struggle for parking space is real. It is suggested to visit the awe-inspiring trail in the early morning. The most popular trails here are the Gabrielino Trail, Lower Zion Trail and Lower Winter Creek to Hoegees Camp.
1 1. Switzer Falls Trail
Another beautiful waterfall hike that deserves an undisputed spot in the best LA hike list is the Switzer Falls trail in the Angeles National Forest. The 4.5-mile round trip hike can be completed in less than 3 hours. The elevation of the hike is 650 feet and the climb can be tricky but is tremendously enjoyable.
The route of the hike crosses the famous Arroyo Seco River and you can even spot resort era ruins along the way. Furthermore, you can indulge in some wild blackberries or enjoy the small pools beneath the 50-foot waterfall. It is an iconic picnic area in Los Angeles and a visit during the early morning is recommended to avoid crowds and scorching sun.