Hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains

Below is a collection of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains. These hikes are listed from west to east, but the table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. There is also a search feature, which can be used to quickly isolate the hike you are looking for. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these treks. You can also view hikes around the Santa Monica Mountains on the Hike Finder Map.

Highlights of the Santa Monica Mountains

  • This 4.75-hike in Malibu Creek State Park visits the site where the exteriors of the television show MASH were filmed.
  • This 5.7 to 7.8-mile hike takes in Pacific Ocean views en route to an overlook perched above Santa Monica Bay.
  • This park is filled with interesting sandstone formations and trails to a scenic overlook (2.5 miles) and nearby Calabasas Peak (5.2 miles).
  • This 3.5-mile hike ascends from Beachwood Canyon to the summit of Mount Lee behind the Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park.
  • This short hike explores a segment of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area that includes Western Town, an outdoor set cast as frontier towns in TV and film since the 1950s.
  • This 2.5-mile loop offers ocean and canyon views from a unspoiled section of the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu.
  • This 0.6-mile hike explores a unique sandstone cave that you can stand inside and above, and the hike can be extended to 1.55 miles by visiting a nearby vista point.
  • This easy and level 2.6-mile out and back hike visits the ruins of a burned down ranch and a small waterfall.
  • This 1.5-mile hike descends Temescal Ridge to a head-shaped formation with great views over Santa Monica Bay.
  • This 3.85-mile loop drops from Sullivan Ridge into Rustic Canyon where hikers can visit abandoned buildings once occupied by Nazi sympathizers.
  • This 3.8-mile out and back visits a 200-foot waterfall that is split into two tiers. The upper tier is 150 feet tall and stunning after a rainstorm.
  • This 2.7 to 3.5-mile loop takes in tremendous ocean views above Big Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State Park.

Hiking the Santa Monica Mountains

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area spans 40 miles west to east across Los Angeles and Ventura Counties from Point Mugu to Griffith Park. A network of federal, state, and city parks protect over 150,000 acres of this coastal range, offering hundreds of miles of hiking trails.

Did you know? One in seventeen Americans lives within a one hour drive of the Santa Monica Mountains. The national recreation area receives over 30 million visitors each year, but despite the beautiful scenery and easy accessibility, most trails never see a crowd.

The majority of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains are free to access, including the hike to Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the range at 3,111 feet. Select a hike from the list below and begin enjoying the impressive canyons, vast ocean views, and beautiful spring wildflowers that await hikers in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
La Jolla Canyon075La Jolla Canyon Loop
This hike explores Point Mugu State Park on the west end of the Santa Monica Mountains, offering incredible ocean views.
11.75 miles
1,225 feet
34.086097,
-119.03688
Mugu Peak078Mugu Peak
This out and back hike from La Jolla Canyon to the 1,266-foot summit features superb ocean and canyon views.
6.5 miles
1,225 feet
34.092697,
-119.055712
La Jolla Canyon Falls081La Jolla Canyon Falls
This out and back hike visits a short seasonal waterfall in Point Mugu State Park.
1.5 miles
250 feet
34.093047,
-119.043134
Overlook Trail085Scenic and Overlook Trails Loop
This loop takes in tremendous ocean views above Big Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State Park.
2.7 - 3.5 miles
425 - 450 feet
34.071305,
-119.012668
The Grotto Malibu090Grotto
This out and back hike visits a creek flowing through a talus cave in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
3.5 miles
500 feet
34.109292,
-118.937438
Sandstone Peak095Sandstone Peak
This loop summits the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.
6.25 miles
1,075 feet
34.111576, -118.926766
Tri Peaks100Tri Peaks
This 1-mile addition to the Sandstone Peak loop adds extra views to the hike.
7.45 miles
1,075 feet
34.111576, -118.926766
Malibu Springs Trail103Nicholas Flat via Malibu Springs Trail
This scenic lollipop loop hike ascends an overgrown track to meadows and a pond on Nicholas Flat in Leo Carrillo State Park.
7 miles
1,425 feet
34.083743,
-118.918329
Angel Vista Thousand Oaks110Angel Vista via Rosewood Trail
This out and back hike is the most direct route to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the Conejo Valley.
4 miles
800 feet
34.176802,
-118.912804
Angel Vista115Angel Vista via West Los Robles Trail
This out and back hike offers a more gradual route to the overlook on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains.
7.6 miles
800 feet
34.171903,
-118.881004
Malibu Charmlee Wilderness Park120Charmlee Wilderness Park
This loop is one of several possible hikes in this bluff-top park with ocean views over Malibu.
3.25 miles
260 feet
34.058793,
-118.87925
Rocky Oaks hike123Rocky Oaks Park
This short and easy hike visits a pond and a scenic overlook in a small parcel of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
2 miles
175 feet
34.09732
-118.813637
Zuma Canyon Malibu125Zuma Canyon Trail
This out and back hike leaves a coastal Malibu neighborhood to explore rustic Zuma Canyon.
2.8 miles
115 feet
34.031727,
-118.812177
Zuma Canyon Ocean View129Zuma Canyon Ocean View - Canyon View Trails
This loop demands more effort than the Zuma Canyon Trail and provides great ocean and canyon views.
3.1 miles
750 feet
34.031727,
-118.812177
Malibu Zuma Ridge132Zuma Ridge
This wide dirt service road weaves northwest up the ridge west of Zuma Canyon offering access to several nearby trails.
5.4 - 10.6 miles
1,390 feet
34.03425,
-118.818133
Malibu Zuma Canyon Narrows135Zuma Canyon Narrows
This off-trail trek crosses the narrow canyon beyond Zuma Canyon Trail before return along the Zuma Ridge Trail.
8 miles
1,715 feet
34.031727,
-118.812177
Point Dume140Point Dume Natural Preserve
This short hike explores overlooks on a scenic headland jutting into the Pacific at the northwest end of Santa Monica Bay in Malibu.
1 mile
100 feet
34.004245,
-118.805811
Castro Crest145Castro Crest from Latigo Canyon Road
This out and back hike crosses a green canyon and climbs to a scenic saddle below Castro Peak.
3.8 miles
650 feet
34.078379,
-118.79355
Escondido Falls150Escondido Falls
This out and back hike visits a 200-foot waterfall that is split into two tiers. The upper tier is 150 feet tall and stunning after a rainstorm.
3.8 miles
400 feet
34.026568,
-118.780067
Upper Solstice Canyon155Upper Solstice Canyon
This out and back hike crosses remote Upper Solstice Canyon from Corral Canyon Road to Castro Crest.
5.5 - 6.5 miles
540 - 800 feet
34.08216,
-118.758497
Mesa Peak Motorway Hike157Mesa Peak from Corral Canyon Road
This out and back hike travels along a ridge adorned with sandstone outcroppings to approach a peak with ocean views over Malibu. Shorten the outing by stopping at a prominent boulder on a crest above Mesa Peak.
5.35 - 7 miles
465 feet
34.079,
-118.75556
Solstice Canyon Malibu160Solstice Canyon Trail
This out and back hike is easy and level, and visits the ruins of a burned down ranch and a small waterfall.
2.6 miles
300 feet
34.037166,
-118.746636
Malibu Corral Canyon165Corral Canyon
This loop offers ocean and canyon views from a unspoiled section of the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu.
2.5 miles
525 feet
34.034336,
-118.734362
Paramount Ranch Malibu170Paramount Ranch
This segment of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area includes Western Town, an outdoor set cast as frontier towns in TV and film since the 1950s.
0.25 - 4 miles
150 feet
34.115546,
-118.755176
Malibu Lake Vista175Lake Vista Trail
This out and back hike crosses the west end of Malibu Creek State Park and climbs to a scenic view over Malibu Lake.
4.1 miles
350 feet
34.108084,
-118.749254
MASH hike180M*A*S*H Set
This hike visits the site where the exteriors of the television show MASH were filmed, a 4.75-mile trek from the park entrance.
3.6 - 5.7 miles
200 - 425 feet
34.096321,
-118.716896
Los Cabin Malibu Creek185Lost Cabin Trail
This 1.5-mile round trip extension to the MASH set hike dead-ends in a mountain canyon at the site of a now nonexistent cabin.
5.1 - 7.2 miles
190 feet
34.096321,
-118.716896
Cistern Trail Malibu190Cistern, Lookout, and Cage Creek Trails
This team of trails make a scenic descent to Century Lake for a short loop or longer hikes in Malibu Creek State Park.
2.05 - 3.6 miles
425 feet
34.105305,
-118.731889
Talepop Trail Malibu195Talepop Loop
This lollipop loop crosses a scenic mountain between Liberty Canyon and Las Virgenes Canyon in Malibu Creek State Park.
4.75 miles
500 feet
34.103394,
-118.713806
Grassland Trail Malibu Creek199Grassland Trail to Crags Road and Rock Pool
This easy hike enters Malibu Creek State Park on South Grassland Trail, then forms a loop around Crags Road to visit Rock Pool.
3 miles
125 feet
34.103394,
-118.713806
Malibu Creek Adventure202Malibu Creek Traverse
This adventure hike explores the C-shaped gorge between Rock Pool and Century Lake in Malibu Creek State Park.
4 miles
200 feet
34.097733,
-118.729291
Mesa Peak Malibu Creek205Mesa Peak from Malibu Canyon Road (Piuma Trailhead)
This out and back hike ascends the Backbone Trail from Malibu Creek State Park to a subtle summit with substantial ocean views.
6.5 miles
1,375 feet
34.079945,
-118.703809
Calabasas Peak Secret Trail210Calabasas Peak via Calabasas - Cold Creek Trail
This out and back hike starts up a scenic single track formerly know as the Secret Trail to reach the summit.
4.5 miles
750 feet
34.126371,
-118.657407
Summit to Summit Motorway211Summit to Summit Motorway
This mostly unpaved road crosses a scenic ridge between the high points of Old Topanga Canyon Road and Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
6 - 6.6 miles
245 feet
34.12509,
-118.63485
Calabasas Peak Motorway Hike212Calabasas Peak from Old Topanga Canyon Road
This out and back hike on Calabasas Peak Motorway approaches Calabasas Peak from the northeast, providing big views over Topanga and other parts of the Santa Monica Mountains.
4.2 miles
635 feet
34.124945,
-118.63486
Calabasas Peak214Calabasas Peak from Stunt Road
This out and back hike on Calabasas Peak Motorway approaches Calabasas Peak from the south, ascending through sandstone formations to panoramic views of the Santa Monica Mountains and San Fernando Valley.
3.6 miles
900 feet
34.095245,
-118.649551
Red Rock Canyon Park218Red Rock Canyon Park
This park is filled with interesting sandstone formations and trails to a scenic overlook and nearby Calabasas Peak.
2.5 - 5.2 miles
325 - 1,000 feet
34.106015,
-118.637138
Stunt High Trail Malibu222Stunt High Trail to Saddle Peak
This out and back hike combines Stunt High Trail and a section of the Backbone Trail to visit the 6th tallest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
7.5 miles
1,675 feet
34.095245,
-118.649551
Saddle Peak Malibu225Backbone Trail to Saddle Peak
This shorter hike approaches the summit from the east.
2 miles
450 feet
34.080806,
-118.647111
Topanga Lookout230Topanga Lookout
This out and back hike visits the site of an old fire tower that still offers great views of the surrounding mountains.
2 miles
160 feet
34.081242,
-118.645071
Tuna Canyon Park Malibu235Tuna Canyon Park
This ocean-view packed hike explores a less-visited park between Topanga and Malibu.
1.6 - 5.1 miles
275 - 900 feet
34.059538,
-118.616345
Hondo Canyon Park Malibu240Hondo Canyon
This out and back hike up a section of the Backbone Trail crosses grassy fields and climbs a wooded canyon to ocean views and a trail to Topanga Lookout.
7.6 - 10.6 miles
1,550 feet
34.092804,
-118.610122
Summit Valley hike242Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman Park
This park offers a pair of loops with views over a grassy valley in Upper Topanga Canyon.
1.65 - 2 miles
190 - 410 feet
34.12738,
-118.59877
Viewridge Trail Summit Valley243Viewridge Trail
This lollipop loop in Summit Valley Edmund D. Edelman Park travels down a canyon to Summer Hill Ranch Road where there are sweeping views over Topanga from Canyon Overlook.
3 miles
225 feet
34.133,
-118.59172
Eagle Rock Trippet Ranch Hike245Eagle Rock from Trippet Ranch
This loop takes Musch Trail and Eagle Springs Fire Road to visit an exceptional sandstone summit in Topanga State Park.
4.5 miles
800 feet
34.093215,
-118.587629
Parker Mesa Trippet Ranch Hike250Parker Mesa Overlook from Trippet Ranch
This out and back hike heads up to the overlook from Trippet Ranch, Topanga State Park's main trailhead.
6.7 miles
375 feet
34.09321,
-118.587588
Parker Mesa Overlook255Parker Mesa Overlook from Paseo Miramar
This steep out and back hike rewards the effort with Pacific Ocean views en route to an overlook perched above Santa Monica Bay.
5.7 - 7.8 miles
900 - 1,250 feet
34.050803,
-118.557169
Los Liones Trail260Los Liones Trail
This out and back hike visits a lust canyon with ocean views and can be used to reach Parker Mesa Overlook.
2.6 miles
550 feet
34.047263, -118.560098
Eagle Rock Topanga265Santa Ynez Canyon Trail to Eagle Rock
This out and back hike crosses a shaded canyon, climbing a ridge to summit a sandstone prominence in Topanga State Park.
7.4 miles
1,400 feet
34.078243,
-118.567421
Santa Ynez Falls270Santa Ynez Falls
This out and back hike follows a shaded creek to a gorge containing a short waterfall.
2.5 miles
250 feet
34.078243,
-118.567421
Vanalden Cave275Vanalden Cave
This short out and back hike explores a unique sandstone cave that you can stand inside and above, and the hike can be extended by visiting a nearby vista point with a panoramic perspective of the Santa Monica Mountains.
0.6 - 1.55 miles
100 - 350 feet
34.134666,
-118.563017
Temescal Peak285Temescal Peak
This pair of out and back hikes ascend Temescal Ridge to a summit with sweeping views over Topanga State Park.
5.8 - 7.6 miles
575 - 1,200 feet
34.078638,
-118.559975
Skull Rock Temescal Ridge290Skull Rock
This out and back hike descends Temescal Ridge to a head-shaped formation with great views over Santa Monica Bay.
1.5 miles
225 feet
34.076421,
-118.54643
Reseda Boulevard hike293Hub Junction from Reseda Boulevard
This hike from the edge of the San Fernando Valley goes through Topanga State Park to a scenic junction at the crossroads of the Eastern Santa Monica Mountains. Extend the trek to 6.85 miles round trip by summiting Temescal Peak or to 7.95 miles round trip by taking a loop to Eagle Rock.
5.3 - 5.45 miles
400 - 460 feet
34.13133,
-118.55313
Cabarillo Canyon hike295Caballero Canyon Trail
This out and back hike ascends a canyon to views over the San Fernando Valley.
3.4 miles
625 feet
34.142731,
-118.540882
Temescal Canyon300Temescal Canyon
This loop offers a variety of scenery and decent exercise, despite its relative brevity.
2.6 - 5.25 miles
1,000 feet
34.050217,
-118.529141
Rivas Canyon hike305Rivas Canyon
This single-track trail crosses a lush secluded canyon connecting Temescal Gateway Park to Will Rogers State Park.
2.1 - 4.2 miles
480 feet
34.055895,
-118.528326
Will Rogers Inspiration Point310Inspiration Point
This easy loop in Will Rogers State Historic Park leads to an overlook with views from Santa Monica Bay to downtown LA.
2.25 miles
325 feet
34.054252,
-118.513349
Will Rogers Rustic Canyon315Rustic Canyon's Murphy Ranch from Will Rogers State Historic Park
This adventure visits the ruins of a commune built by Nazi sympathizers in a canyon east of the park.
4 - 5 miles
225 - 950 feet
34.054774,
-118.510087
Rustic Canyon Murphy Ranch320Rustic Canyon's Murphy Ranch from Sullivan Ridge
This loop drops into Rustic Canyon where hikers can visit abandoned buildings once occupied by Nazi sympathizers.
3.85 miles
325 feet
34.061097,
-118.504121
Sullivan Ridge325Sullivan Ridge
This out and back hike follows a scenic 6.3-mile long ridge through the Big Wild east of Will Rogers State Park.
7.5 - 14.3 miles
1,200 - 1,350 feet
34.061097,
-118.504121
Sullivan Canyon330Sullivan Canyon
This out and back hike follows a wide trail up the center of a sycamore-filled canyon.
8.5 miles
950 feet
34.073771,
-118.506863
Westridge Trail335Westridge Trail to San Vicente Mountain
This out and back hike travels a scenic ridge between a Brentwood neighborhood and a 1,960-foot summit that was once used as a Nike Missile site.
7.4 miles
730 feet
34.08542,
-118.50894
Mandeville Canyon340Mandeville Canyon to San Vicente Mountain
This loop incorporating a few trails, taking a DWP road up to Westridge to visit San Vicente Mountain, before crossing Mulholland Drive and Canyonback Ridge to return to Mandeville Canyon via Hollyhock Fire Road.
5 miles
770 feet
34.121207,
-118.50665
Mulholland Drive hike345Mulholland Drive to San Vicente Mountain
This out and back hike approaches the peak from the east and offers views to the north and south en route to the old Nike Missile site.
2 miles
360 feet
34.128214,
-118.50272
Upper Canyonback Trail350Upper Canyonback Trail
This out and back hike descends Canyonback Ridge from Mulholland Drive to the Mountain Gate Country Club Estates.
3 - 8 miles
200 feet
34.128214,
-118.50272
Lower Canyonback Trail355Lower Canyonback Trail
This out and back hike ascends Canyonback Ridge from Kenter Ave. in Brentwood to the Mountain Gate Country Club Estates.
3.6 - 8 miles
500 feet
34.081754,
-118.494577
Getty View360Getty View Park
This out and back hike crosses East Sepulveda Fire Road (Casiano Fire Road) on a ridge east of the 405 Freeway that offers light traffic and plentiful views of the Getty Museum and Santa Monica Bay.
3 miles
375 feet
34.088875,
-118.472562
Franklin Canyon Lake Loop395Franklin Canyon Lake Loop & Chaparral Trail
This loop around Franklin Canyon Lake can be extended to ascend Chaparral Trail for an overview of Franklin Canyon.
1.5 - 2.5 miles
100 - 325 feet
34.115753,
-118.413778
Hastain Trail400Hastain Trail
This pair of short loops explore Franklin Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains above Beverly Hills.
1.8 - 2.2 miles
350 - 550 feet
34.111344,
-118.415152
Fryman Canyon410Fryman Canyon Loop
This loop in the Hollywood Hills follows Betty B. Dearing Trail through Wilacre Park and Coldwater Canyon Park.
3 miles
450 feet
34.133298,
-118.391726
Trebek Open Space Hike440Trebek Open Space
This out and back hike incorporated Bantam Trail and Castair Trail in a park adjacent to Runyon Canyon.
1 - 2.5 miles
125 - 375 feet
34.113539,
-118.359405
Runyon Canyon Hike445Runyon Canyon
This set of loops tour the most popular dog park in Los Angeles, offerings good exercise and views over Hollywood.
1.65, 2.65, or 3.25 miles
500 - 800 feet
34.105259,
-118.348933
Cahuenga Peak Hike450Cahuenga Peak from Wonder View Trail
This out and back hike ascends a dirt single track to Cahuenga Peak and the adjacent Mount Lee, home of the Hollywood Sign.
3 miles
925 feet
34.133131,
-118.336451
Hollywood Reservoir Trail452Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail
This easy loop circles a peaceful fence-enclosed reservoir in the hills below the Hollywood Sign.
3.5 miles
100 feet
34.128716,
-118.336355
Mount Lee Hike455Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign via Hollyridge Trail
This hike ascends from Beachwood Canyon to the summit of Mount Lee behind the Hollywood Sign.
3.5 miles
750 feet
34.129346,
-118.314735
Mount Chapel Hike460Mount Chapel, Mount Bell, and Mount Hollywood
This undulating loop tops three prominent summits on a panoramic tour of Griffith Park.
5.7 miles
675 feet
34.129346,
-118.314735
Hollywood Sign465Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Trail
This out and back hike crosses Griffith Park from Canyon Drive to the top of Mount Lee, directly behind the landmark Hollywood Sign.
6.4 - 7.1 miles
1,100 - 1,200 feet
34.124879,
-118.313517
Bronson Cave470Bronson Cave
This short easy hike visits a man-made cave recognizable as the Batcave from the Batman TV series and hundreds of other locations on TV and film.
0.66 miles
50 feet
34.124448,
-118.314226
Griffith Observatory hike473Griffith Observatory via West Observatory Trail
This partial loop goes from Western Canyon up ridges to Griffith Observatory, getting sweeping views over Los Angeles and Griffith Park along the way.
2.1 miles
540 feet
34.11325
-118.3075
Ferndell Trail474Ferndell Trail
This relaxing hike goes through a tropical garden in the lushest little canyon in Griffith Park and can be extended to explore more of Western Canyon.
0.5 - 1.75 miles
65 - 260 feet
34.10935,
-118.3076
Amirs Garden480Amir's Garden
This hike reaches a relaxing garden on the east side of Griffith Park that is a pleasant retreat for hikers.
1 miles
275 feet
34.145047,
-118.293891
Bee Rock485Bee Rock
This hive-shaped point on the east side of Griffith Park can be reached via a pair of loop hikes.
1.7 - 4 miles
600 feet
34.131464,
-118.282791
Old Zoo Picnic Area490Old Zoo Picnic Area
This short hike explores the abandoned exhibits and animal cages in the ruins of the old LA Zoo in Griffith Park.
0.5 miles
50 feet
34.134035,
-118.288168
Beacon Hill495Beacon Hill
This out and back or loop hike in Griffith Park climbs 500 feet to the easternmost summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
2.75 - 3.9 miles
500 feet
34.128342,
-118.277314
View Los Angeles Hikes in a larger map
Or explore hikes around the Santa Monica Mountains on the Hike Finder Map

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