Hiking can be a great way to get out into nature and enjoy the fresh air. There are many benefits to hiking that go beyond just enjoying the outdoors. Hiking helps improve your mental health, physical health and overall wellbeing. Los Angeles is fortunate enough to have pleasant weather year-round, making hiking a good option when you’re in the mood for an outdoor activity. Check out these top hiking trails near Los Angeles.
Where to go hiking near Los Angeles
Griffith Park Trails
9 miles (22 minutes) from Los Angeles
There are three different trails within Griffith Park. The Bronson Trail is less than a mile long and is located in the southwest section of Griffith Park. It is a popular destination for filmmakers to film remote-looking scenes. The Bronson Cave, also called the Batcave after it was featured in the Batman TV series, is a 50-foot-long tunnel that is the remnant of a quarry founded in 1903 and originally called Brush Canyon.
The Griffith Observatory West Trail Loop is roughly 2.5 miles long and the trailhead starts at the Fern Dell picnic area, which is near Los Feliz Boulevard. Head off to the Griffith Observatory by staying to the right when you start at the trailhead. As the path flattens, you will see the observatory.
Brush Canyon Trail is located near Bronson Park on Canyon Drive. From the parking lot, head past the gate and resume the trail toward Pacific Electric Quarry. You will find a park and picnic area just as you are about to climb out of the canyon. The trail also crosses the Mulholland trail around the three-quarters of a mile marker. Keep right and proceed another quarter of a mile toward Mount Hollywood Drive. To get back to the trailhead, follow the same route back.
Runyon Canyon Trail
9.9 miles (16 minutes) from Los Angeles
The Runyon Canyon trail is roughly 3 miles round trip, but don’t expect a wilderness experience. It is a great trail if you enjoy people-watching and you might even spot a few celebrities. From this trail, you can see the Hollywood Sign, Sunset Strip and Los Angeles Basin. Stop at the scenic lookout known as Cloud’s Rest for a great view.
Rustic Canyon Loop
14 miles (26 minutes) from Los Angeles
The Rustic Canyon Loop/Inspiration Point Trail is roughly 6 miles long and is located in Will Rogers State Park. About a mile into your hike, take the Inspiration Point Trail. It’s a quick detour, but well worth the Instagram-worthy photos of the waterfront and mountains.
Betty B. Dearing Trail
14 miles (26 minutes) from Los Angeles
Betty B. Dearing Trail is about 2.5 miles round trip and located off Fryman Road in Wilacre Park. Wilacre Park is commonly called the Fryman Canyon Park due to the fact that you can take a hike through the Coldwater Canyon, Fryman Canyon and Wilacre parks. This trail is well-shaded and dog-friendly. It is a bit steep before the trail levels off around the quarter-mile mark. In less than half a mile, you will come to the TreePeople facility, which is the center of their non-profit organization dedicated to restoring nature in cities. This is a great spot to stop and explore to hear more about the organization.
Franklin Canyon Discovery Trail
16.7 miles (26 minutes) from Los Angeles
The Discovery Trail is approximately a mile round trip and is known to be an easy stroll in Franklin Canyon Park. On this trail, you will likely see plentiful views of birds and wildlife. This trail also gives you access to more difficult trails such as Runyon or Fryman Canyon. Franklin Canyon Park has been featured in many tv shows and films including American Horror Story and The A-Team.
Eaton Canyon Trail
19 miles (24 minutes) from Los Angeles
Eaton Canyon Trail is open from sunrise to sunset and features a zoological, botanical and geological nature preserve at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. The trail is roughly 4 miles round trip. The Eaton Canyon Natural Area and nature center is here. They have a wide variety of fascinating exhibits, animal presentations and programs along with a useful visitor’s center. As you hike down the Eaton Canyon Trail, take the junction marked Waterfall. It is a bit rugged in this area compared to the rest of the trail, with large boulders to scramble over and creeks to cross.
Los Liones Trail
26.2 miles (34 minutes) from Los Angeles
Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa Overlook is roughly 7 miles round trip and is steep compared to the other trails in the area. It is located in Topanga State Park and has an elevation gain of 1,300 feet, but the reward is worth it. At the top, you’ll see magnificent views from the Parker Mesa Overlook.
31 miles (39 minutes) from Los Angeles
The Rising Sun Trail in Solstice Canyon is an easy hike that is roughly 3 miles round trip. This trail will take you to the Tropical Terrace, which is the ruins of the Robert Ranch House. This was designed by renowned architect Paul Williams and built in 1952. A big attraction of this hike is a waterfall that sits right next to the ruins. This spot is excellent for a picnic or a walk around the area.
Escondido Canyon Trail
34 miles (43 minutes) from Los Angeles
Escondido Canyon Trail is about 4.2 miles round trip and crosses the Escondido Canyon Creek often, so expect to get your feet wet. The trail is a gradual climb as you make your way to the 50-foot-high Escondido Falls. You can climb to the top of the falls for a different view. The best part is that you can swim in the pool just below the falls to cool off before heading back.
Crags Road Trail
34 miles (36 minutes) from Los Angeles
Crags Road Trail, located in Malibu Creek State Park, is roughly 4.75 miles long. It was used as a set in the popular television show M*A*S*H as well as in films including Planet of the Apes. Hike up and check out the set for yourself. Here you can see the old iconic signpost and a number of informational placards and photos.
Pack a day bag for your hiking trip to ensure you can take care of yourself while hiking. That includes packing sunscreen, bug spray, basic first aid items and plenty of water (about 1 liter per person per every 1-2 hours hiking). Hiking boots aren’t necessarily a requirement, depending on the trail, but it is important to wear properly fitting shoes that offer support on dry or wet grounds or if you need to scramble over boulders or cross a creek. If your route passes by a natural pool, like that on the Rising Sun Trail in Solstice Canyon, you may want to bring clothes to swim in and a towel to dry off after.
Watch out for wildlife, and if you encounter an animal, leave plenty of distance between you so you don’t disturb them. Poisonous snakes like rattlesnakes are commonly encountered on hiking trails in California, so use caution especially when stepping away from the main path or crossing an area with overgrown brush.