Last Updated on May 9, 2023
Hiking is one of the most fun activities to do in LA, allowing you to take in the stunning scenery around – and right within – the city. Whether you are someone who has been raised in the city or a traveler visiting LA for the first time, you should check out one of the many hiking trails in L.A. The hike doesn’t have to be overly strenuous or long: there are plenty of shorter hikes in L.A., too. Even if you’re not an avid hiker, trust me: you will enjoy every single of the hikes below – all of which are trails I consider to be the best hikes in Los Angeles. Get packing today and return with a backpack full of memories and adrenaline rushes.
The best hiking trails in Los Angeles
Head out to the Hollywood Hills
Though this is a three-mile tame loop, which doesn’t sound like much, it’s the 1,821-foot elevation is that makes this hike quite challenging – especially for novice hikers. The Wisdom Tree at the top should be your goal as it is said to be the only survivor of a 2007 wildfire. Check out the tree on its personal Instagram page. If you wish to extend the loop, climb further up to see the Hollywood Sign. The downhill journey is easy, and even though you’ll huff and puff your way up to the top, the views from the top are absolutely worth it. Don’t forget to pack water and sunscreen!
Since there is no proper trailhead parking lot, you’ll have to park your car in the Beachwood Canyon neighborhood, ideally along along Lake Hollywood Drive. Don’t leave valuables in the car while you’re on the trail, especially if you want to head up to the Hollywood sign for sunset (in that case, make sure you pack a flashlight for the way down, or make sure your phone has enough battery). Luggage storage services in Los Angeles can be found easily, if needed.
Malibu’s Grotto trail is fascinating
You must be wondering what gave this trail such a name. Well, it is the standing water that has done the honors. But there’s more – the surrounding geographical features are just as stunning, which is why the Malibu Grotto Trail is considered one of the best hikes in Los Angeles. There are tall boulders, some of the friendliest frogs, and shady nooks that complete the scenery. Though the hike is fairly easy, you can expect to get stained clothes by the end of it since you will be scrambling into the grotto, so don’t wear your fanciest hiking attire on this trail. If you are heading out with a car or bike, park at the Circle X ranch campground.
Take your dog to Wilacre Park
Are you a dog-lover? Are you traveling with your dog? Then why not go on a hike with your furry, woofy, paw-buddy? Wilacre Park at Studio City has a dog-friendly trail with moderate inclination. There will be a point when you reach the fork. Continue to the right for a quick hike, or turn left for a longer, more challenging and beautiful route. The local fauna is bound to leave you enchanted. Also good to know: the parking lot at the trail head is free!
And if you want to take your dog on more than just one hike – here are seven more scenic off-leash dog walks in Los Angeles.
Explore the less traversed Los Liones Canyon
Los Angeles can be overwhelming – the traffic, the smog, the noise.. If you are someone who is looking for some time away from people and want to get some solitude, then the Los Liones Canyon is the best hike in L.A. for you. It is one of the most stunning spots on the Westside where you can sit and sip coffee, enjoy a book, or walk and explore and vicinity. The trail isn’t very long – it stretches for approximately 1.5 miles and is perfect if you’re looking for a short pre-lunch hike. If you want a longer loop, then you can opt for the 7-miles Parker Mesa Overlook trail, which starts via the Los Liones Canyon trail but goes further into the Santa Monica Mountains. If you opt for the longer hike, don’t leave any valuables in your car. Luckily, luggage storage Los Angeles is never a hassle for anyone.
How about the rock pools at Malibu Creek State Park?
For some of the best hiking trails in LA, head to Malibu Creek State Park. There are a number of hikes here: the Cage Creek Trail, the Lookout Trail, the Cistern Trail and the most popular one: the Rock Pools Trail. The rock pools are easily accessible and make for a picturesque spot for photography lovers. Since this is one of the most popular spots for hiking in the area, you’ll definitely come across other hikers on the trails here. Diving into the creek is forbidden yet it is not uncommon to see people in the water here. This is a trail that is perfect for the entire family – kids will love it, too.
These hiking trails in L.A. have something for everyone: stunning ocean scenery, rugged forest tracks, and rocky canyons. There is no perfect age or time to go hiking – just do it. Some hiking essentials you always need to have: light backpacks, comfortable shoes and clothes, a water bottle, and some snacks.
What are your favorite hikes in Los Angeles? Share them in the comments below!