Although Los Angeles often gets a reputation for being isolated and distant from the natural world, there are tons of great hiking opportunities and elevated views close by to get connected to nature and the outdoors. Below is a list of my go-to spots, so lace up your hiking shoes ladies (gents!), get some exercise, and take in the gorgeous scenery all around ya!
Temescal Canyon is just off of Sunset Boulevard near the coast and offers different trail options and extensions for hikers at every experience. The main trail is a loop of approximately 2.6 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation gain, but the hike can be made easier by avoiding the Ridge Trail and opting for an out-and-back hike along Canyon Trail only. For the adventurous types, various trail extensions can make the hike 4 miles or longer. While in this canyon, you’ll enjoy beautiful views, fascinating rock formations (check out Skull Rock!) and the opportunity to cross over into Topanga State Park or Will Rogers State Historic Park. If you’re hiking solo, take some headphones and play some tunes to get in the zone (I’m currently loving these earbuds by Sudio), and def grab a smoothie at Juice Crafters after!
(earphones by Sudio Sweden)
Santa Monica Hills
The Santa Monica Hills provide oodles of different hiking options ranging from short hikes to all-day treks. Ocean views, sprawling canyons, spring wildflowers, and more can all be found in this diverse area. Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the mountain range and can be accessed by a 6.25-mile loop. Grotto, a 3.5 mile out-and-back, takes you to a talus cave with a stream flowing through, perfect on hot summer days. If you’re looking for stunning ocean views, Scenic and Overlook Trail Loop includes Big Sycamore Canyon and fantastic Pacific vistas. Point Dume Natural Preserve is a 1-mile hike featuring ocean views to the northwest of Santa Monica Bay. Make sure to follow the signs guys, or you could get extremely lost into a 3 hour detour (guilty!!). I love to pop by Malibu Farm after my workout for some coffee and granola, a breakfast scramble or burrito for brunch!
Terranea Resort Area
Terranea Resort is located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula and features hundreds of hiking trails winding through the coastal preserve. This unique area incorporates ecological education, conservation, and beautiful scenery. If you’re interested in learning about local species, the Terranea Resort Discovery Trail provides great hiking opportunities. You’ll see dune buckwheat ~a crucial host plant for the endangered El Segundo Blue Butterfly, often active during the summer months. The California Gnatcatcher ~a small, gray songbird, also calls this area home. Other indigenous flora includes the coastal prickly pear, lemonade berry, the California bush sunflower, and more. To explore coastal ecology, take a stroll to the cove or along the tide pools, both home to diverse marine life. Post hike, stop by Terranea’s Catalina Kitchen for their delicious Breakfast Melt, or their Buttermilk Pancakes. Yum!
Runyon Canyon is a unique park which is often described as an urban wilderness because its 130 acres of trails are nestled just two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard. Entrances to the park can be found on Fuller Avenue, Vista Street, and Mulholland Drive. There are a number of trails of varying difficulty, many of which lead to breathtaking views of the city and surrounding area, and a wide road can be found at the Vista Street entrance for those looking for an easier stroll. Hikers can choose to enter the canyon from the south then climb upwards either clockwise or counter-clockwise for varying levels of strenuousness-both will allow you to take in Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest – two breathtaking experiences. Enter the canyon from the north for several short hike options, one of which includes Indian Rock, the highest point in the canyon. If you want to allow your dog to roam off leash, choose the western trail which can be found from the Vista entrance. FYI, Runyon is temporarily closed for just a couple weeks but don’t fret, you’ll be able to hike this famous front starting July 31st! I highly recommend stopping in at Kings Road Cafe after for their strong cup of ‘jo and some amazing egg dishes when you’re through!
There’s nothing like a vigorous hike to help you shed the stress of the work week and get your blood pumping. I love to bring a yoga mat along with me to enjoy the scenery and serenity of being out in the wilderness! The best part is wherever you are, you don’t have to go that far to get in on the action. Happy hiking!
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