Known for its gorgeous weather, Instagram-worthy beaches, and iconic attractions, LA has certainly earned its place as a tourist-y destination. However, if you’re a born and bred local or just happen to be someone who enjoys stepping off the beaten path, then you know that the City of Angels has some of the most incredible hikes in the world. If you’re ready for an adventure, strap on your Chacos and pick your favorite trek from this list.
1. Bridge to Nowhere
Let’s kick off this list with a really awesome trail that’s best for the seasoned hiker. The name isn’t fooling, this 10-mile hike located right outside of Pasadena actually includes a bridge to nowhere, but you’ll also get a chance to enjoy some really cool landscape, complete with rivers and canyons. You’ll totally forget you’re just outside one of the most bustling cities in the world, as you enjoy the serenity of this particular hike. If you REALLY want to take things to the next level, you can hike up with an outfitter and bungee jump from the historic bridge.
2. Wisdom Tree
Looking for an excellent workout with the perfect meditation spot at the top? This is the hike for you! Wisdom Tree is one of the best-kept secrets about Griffith Park since it sees considerably less traffic than some of the other paths. Be prepared to walk pretty much straight up and straight back down, but the view at the top is nothing short of epic. Don’t forget to take a look at some of the inspirational messages written on the tree from past hikers.
3. Escondido Falls
If mellow is more your style, then you’ll appreciate the Escondido Falls hike in Malibu. The 4-mile walk is straightforward, and ends at a breathtaking waterfall. Trees and sage give the walk an earthy vibe that provides the perfect break from city life.
4. Mount Baldy
Mount Baldy can be an extreme hike if you opt to do the entire 6.5-mile trek, complete with 2,300 feet of elevation. However, if your heart isn’t totally into it, you can choose to take a chairlift that will take about 4 miles off the trip. It’s still a good workout either way. Mount Baldy is known for being the highest point in Los Angeles County. The tree-barren peak is the reason for its name, but the views are hands down some of the best you could ever ask for.
5. Castle Peak
This amazing hike has some Native American history that’s definitely worth the effort. Just north of Calabasas, Castle Peak is the kind of walk that involves some steady footwork and scrambling to make your way through boulders. The chimney of Castle Rock is the draw for most people who opt for this particular trek. You can explore the interior of the cave by scaling along its sides.
6. Tree People
It’s hard not to fall in love with this scenic hike that gets you away from the crowds that flock to the more popular trails. It begins just outside of the non-profit, Tree People, which focuses on the care and conservation of trees. You can learn more about their operation before taking a nice walk on well-maintained trails.
7. Cooper Canyon Falls
Cooper Canyon Falls trail is a rugged hike located in the Angeles National Forest. The classification is of moderate difficulty, but the gorgeous trees are certainly a draw for people to test their hiking chops. The area can be a bit chilly, so hikers are warned to dress appropriately.
8. Temescal Canyon
Located in Topanga State Park, Temescal Canyon is the perfect hike if you yearn for beautiful views of the ocean. There are a few relatively steep areas, but there is also an alternative route known as Skull Rock for all you geology buffs out there.
9. El Matador State Beach
Who doesn’t adore a hike to the beach? It’s a straightforward trek that’s relatively popular year-round. This place is known as a photographer’s haven, so be aware that you may have to work pretty hard not to photobomb someone’s shot of the sunset.
10. The Huntington
This is a slightly different “hike”, as it involves wandering around a garden filled with various plants to enjoy. There’s even a desert garden section where you can check out some pretty incredibly bonsai trees.
11. Griffith Observatory
Griffith Observatory is located at the top of Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park. Full Disclosure: This is a popular location for tourists. It’s an easy-access location that the science buff in your life will absolutely love. Be sure to check out the planetarium shows for an additional cost.
12. Bronson Canyon
And we certainly can’t leave out the hike to the iconic Hollywood sign! It’s a pretty easy hike, but it’s 6.5 miles to the top, so you’ll need to keep that in mind. Tourists often frequent the area, but locals appreciate that it’s the perfect walk for their four-legged friends.