Where to hike in L.A. Area? The Best hiking trails in L.A.

Posted on February 4, 2020

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in the city of angels, you might just end up believing this is where your heart belongs. The thing L.A. is genuinely blessed with is nature.

The sheer abundance of it and how the hills and the forests with their many streams casually weave themselves with the city, it all fits perfectly like a puzzle.

If you live in L.A. you haven’t truly lived, or if you are a tourist, your visit will feel incomplete unless you have gone out there, into the woods, hiked along the many gorgeous trails on the hills, or come across some secluded waterfall and taken a dip.

The following are the best hiking trails in L.A., so be sure to check them out!

Malibu Creek Estate Park

Photo by Greg Illy

The “Yosemite of Southern California,” as this place is known, is blessed with verdant tall-grass plains, oak savannahs, and gorgeous peaks that cover almost 8000 acres. When it first opened in 1976, it was owned by 20th-century fox studios, and it has been swarmed by millions of visitors.

It is famous for being appearing in M.A.S.H., the filming of Planet of The Apes, and several hundred other Hollywood productions. It’s a 25 mile trip from Downtown L.A.

The woods are flooded with beautiful Oaks, Sycamores, and Redwoods, and eye-catching colorful wildflowers decorate the landscape.

With the Malibu Creek running right through the middle of the estate, you will have a 15-mile trail running right by the stream along with 37 more miles of trails running through the woods, absolutely full to the brim with exploration potential.

Bring your H.D. cameras along so you can capture the picturesque landscape in all its glory and zoom in to catch the hummingbirds rocketing about or the salamanders sunbathing.

If you get lucky, you might even witness a mountain lion but stay cautious as these agile, powerful predators are curious about your presence, and they might be out to investigate. Keep your distance, do not approach and make sure you are in a relatively large party and not by yourself.

Cahuenga Peak & Wisdom Tree hike

bets hiking trails in L.A.

A 13 to 14 minute drive up north of Downtown L.A., and you will find your way to Griffith Park. Along the Lake Hollywood Drive, follow the paved path for a quarter mile up the Wonder View Drive to begin the Wonder Trail. Go through the yellow gate and take the first right where the dirt road starts and head east up the mountain.

This is a relatively short hike, and you will get some amazing shots of the Hollywood sign. The views are breathtaking, and as you travel through the steep rocky trail, you will be heading up to Cahuenga peak. Enjoy the sights and nature, but definitely watch your step here, being sure-footed will turn out to be a rewarding quality.

Also, avoid bringing pets along this way. Follow half a mile from the end of the road to reach a ridge running west from the peak, and to the right, you will find a trail that continues up the mountain. If you take the left fork, you will find a short path. Take that, and you will finally reach Wisdom Tree.

You have now reached the highest point in Griffith Park. The American flag you will see hosted here is in honor of the tragic incident and the fallen of 9-11. Take some time here to gather your thoughts and let the calm serenity wash away your worries.

This place is remarkable for it is witness to beautiful memories of families and loved ones. As a matter of fact, if you search around its base, you will find an old box of ammunition that contains letters of love and wishful thoughts.

El Scorpion Canyon Park

Castle peak best hiking trails in L.A.

It’s relation to Chumash culture has made this park rich in historical value. The Castle Peak and Cave of Muntis are the main attractions here. A hike to the Cave of Muntis is really an exciting package because it has a cave, complete with a summit, and like all L.A. hikes, the path isn’t difficult and is just a 3 to 4 miles round trip.

A chimney cave opens into the Cave of Muntis, and then if you follow up a ridgeline, you will find yourself on the summit of Castle Peak at 700 feet of elevation.

The priests and astronomers of the Chumash people revered this place and held ceremonies during the summer and winter solstice. This area is significant for being one of the nine alignment points, considered paramount for maintaining balance in the natural world, found within Chumash territory.

The Cave of Muntis is well known for its stories about the Chumash people, the most famous being that the cave housed a mighty shaman who was put to death after having murdered the son of a high ranking member of the tribe.

Now the hike to the cave begins right where the west end of the San Fernando valley crosses with the Simi Hills. Follow the El Scorpion dirt trail shifting from a turn at the end of Vanowen Street in West Hills right at the western corner of the San Fernando Valley.

If you are checking Google Maps, you will find the El Scorpion trail labeled as Moore Canyon Road’. The path from here is relatively barren, and if you are hiking at midday, you might feel the sun scorching your back. There are a few healthy Oaks with plenty of cover along the way, so take your breaks when you think you need them.

By now, you should be able to spot Castle Peak looming against the horizon. Stick to the left of the dirt road you are following at the first junction you see, and if you follow it for nearly a mile and right about, then you will see a break in the fence. Get past this break, and you will see the Cave of Muntis to your right.

Keep in mind that as you continue up to the cave, you will be experiencing elevation, and after hiking for another quarter mile, you will have reached the base of the cave.

From here, explore to your heart’s content, marvel at the cave but be careful and watch your step if you intend on climbing up to the summit. A little bit of rock climbing is what it will take, but it will be worth it.

Los Liones Canyon

South of the Topanga State Park with the Pacific Ocean just a mile away, the Los Liones Trail is surrounded by a lush canyon. With the Cul-de-sac at the end of Los Liones Drive in the Pacific Palisades, follow the Los Liones trail to enter Topanga State Park.

There’s a big sign there, so you can’t miss the trail. To get to the drive, take the second left off Sunset Boulevard from P.C.H. The beach is just a third of a mile away. Enter the path from the end of the Cul-de-sac.

Hike for about 1.3 miles, and you will feel the effects of elevation at 550 feet arriving in a clearing on a ridge from where you can fill your eyes with the beautiful scenery offered by the ivy and chaparral line path, the Santa Monica Bay and the Pacific Ocean peeking from beyond the horizon.

A round trip is just about 2.5 miles, easy and very rewarding, but if you want a little bit of a challenge, continue up the Paseo Miramar. But try to take this hike when the weather is somewhat pleasant or cooler because otherwise, if it is too hot, especially during peak summer days, this trail will feel too difficult to enjoy.

Leave your bikes and dogs at home please for this trail is not welcome to either, but otherwise, no fee is incurred to enter and enjoy this lovely gaze and gaze across the ocean waters.

Griffith Park

It is located at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. Griffith Park is one of the largest municipal parks in the United States of America and is the second-largest one in the State of California right after the Mission Trails Preserve in San Diego. It graces the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

Often regarded as the Central Park of Los Angeles, Griffith Park is much larger and more wild than its New York cousin.

The history of this place is somewhat controversial, with its founder Griffith J.

Griffith being convicted of shooting his wife in 1903. During World War 2, the park served as a detention camp for Japanese Americans residing near military bases as they were considered to have participated in the planning and execution of the Pearl Harbour Bombing.

Later the park also served as a Pow Camp for keeping Italian, German, and Japanese prisoners of war. It is also famous for the Mineral Wells fire of 1933 that killed 29 people and injured 150.

This park is a hiker’s dream with over 50 miles of trails spread across a beautiful untamed landscape covering around 4310 acres. This place is famous for the filming of La La Land and Rebel Without a Cause. The famous Griffith Park Observatory needs no introduction and awaits your visit.

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