Best Hikes in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is blessed with something like 300 sunny days a year and an equally impressive number of worthwhile hiking trails. Combine nice weather and a nice trail and you’ll get a pretty nice day.

Hikespeak.com offers trail reports for over 150 hikes in Los Angeles. With so many trails to choose from, the question you may be asking is:

What are the best hikes in Los Angeles?

The answer may depend on what your interests are and what time of year you are hiking. For example, waterfall hikes are great in the early months of the year by dry out by late summer and fall.

Browse a list of twelve great hikes in Los Angeles that should please the most scrutinizing outdoor enthusiasts. These hikes are listed in alphabetical order with brief descriptions and links to full write-ups.

The list includes the average rating for each hike as decided by the visitors of hikespeak.com. After exploring one of these highly touted hikes, you are encouraged to come back and provide a star rating of your own. If you have a favorite hike that you do not see on this list, please share it as a comment below.

As a bonus, you’ll find some deserving honorable mentions at the bottom of this page. For more best-of recommendations, you can check out the top trails in a number of categories on Los-Angeles-Trails.com (a microsite of hikespeak.com).

Top Trails in Los Angeles

Bridge to Nowhere hike

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This adventurous 10-mile round trip hike follows and crosses a river to an abandoned and out-of-place bridge with a unique history.
Wet adventure!
Cave of Munits and Castle Peak

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This 2.1-mile loop features a cave to explore and a summit to top.
Coolest cave!
Echo Mountain hike

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This 5.8-mile hike visits a historic railway and ruins from a century old resort overlooking Pasadena.
Great ruins, views, and workout!

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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.
Tallest waterfall!
los angeles waterfall escondido

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This 4.8-mile round trip hike starts ominously in an active rock quarry, but then progresses up a beautiful canyon to a mesmerizing multi-tiered waterfall.
Charming canyon!
los angeles waterfall fish canyon
Point Mugu State Park hike

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This 11.75-mile hike explores Point Mugu State Park on the west end of the Santa Monica Mountains, offering extraordinary mountain and ocean views.
Great long coastal hike!
Malibu Creek MASH hike

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This hike visits the preserved site where the exteriors of the television show MASH were filmed, a 4.75-mile trek in Malibu Creek State Park.
Cinematic scenery!
Mount Baldy Loop San Gabriel Mountains

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This 11.3-mile hike incorporates the Devil’s Backbone and the Baldy Bowl – Ski Hit Trail into one see-all loop to the summit that towers over the San Gabriels.
Highest summit!

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This 6-mile loop delivers the biggest views over the west end of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Tallest mountain in the range!
Sandstone Peak Malibu hike

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This 9.5-mile loop visits two peaceful creeks in sylvan canyons, passing a 60-foot waterfall and plenty of beautiful wilderness.
Beautiful canyons and waterfall!
Santa Anita Canyon Hike
Catalina Island Hike

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This 11.75-mile hike over the ridges above Avalon offers amazing ocean views, in two directions at times, as well as a look at the pristine interior of the island.
Scenic island hike!
Twin Peaks hike

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This hike extends a loop over Mount Waterman by dropping across a saddle and ascending Twin Peaks East, a panoramic summit at the center of the San Gabriel Mountains.
You’ll be tired!

 

Honorable Mentions


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This hive-shaped point on the east side of Griffith Park is reached via a 1.7 to 4-mile round trip hike.
Starts by an odd and interesting abandoned zoo!
Bee Rock hike Griffith Park

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This hike starts up Calabasas – Cold Creek Trail, a single track formerly know as the Secret Trail, passing great scenery on the way to the summit.
Panoramic!
Calabasas Peak Hike
Eagle Rock from Trippet Ranch Hike

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This loop takes Musch Trail and Eagle Springs Fire Road to visit a unique sandstone summit in Topanga State Park.
This rocks!
Mount Baden-Powell Hike

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This hike climbs one of the tallest summits in the San Gabriel Mountains and a monument to Lord Baden-Powell, a BSA icon and the founder of the Scout Movement.
High views!

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This hike takes the Backbone Trail from Piuma Trailhead in Malibu Creek State Park up to a subtle summit overlooking the Pacific.
Canyon and ocean views!
Mesa Peak Hike

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This lollipop loop up Stough Canyon in the Verdugo Mountains passes the ruins of an abandoned camp with views across the San Fernando Valley.
Cool ruins!
Old Youth Camp Loop Hike
Parker Mesa Overlook

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This hike from Paseo Miramar or Los Liones Drive rewards the effort with views of the Pacific Ocean en route to an overlook perched above Santa Monica Bay.
Oh hey, Santa Monica Bay!
Saddle Peak hike

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This 7.5-mile hike combines Stunt High Trail and a section of the Backbone Trail to reach the 6th tallest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Lofty Malibu summit!

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This 2.7 to 3.5-mile hike takes in tremendous views of the Pacific from a ridge above Big Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State Park.
Dramatic oceanfront ridge!
Scenic Overlook Trails Point Mugu

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This 1.6 to 5.1-mile hike offers spectacular views of the Pacific from a less-visited park between Topanga and Malibu.
Amazing coastal views!
Tuna Canyon Park

 

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3 Comments on Best Hikes in Los Angeles

  1. […] The view of Los Angeles from behind the Hollywood Sign. […]

  2. Meghan Hughes says:

    My parents are coming to LA in 2 weeks and I want to show them the best it has to offer which includes hikes :) My parents are mid-50s but they are from the midwest where hiking is fairly flat, so I am worried about big elevation changes / moderate-difficult hikes. I do want a hike with ocean views, is scenic, maybe 1.5-3 miles, that is fairly easy. Any ideas on good spots? I was thinking of doing a test run this weekend somewhere – hoping to find something on west side (malibu, santa monica mountains, etc.)

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Hollywood Sign Mount Lee Cahuenga Peak Burbank Peak Lake Hollywood Reservoir Loop Hike Los Angeles California
You might not realize that Hollywood has a lake until you look down on it from the top of Mount Lee by the Hollywood Sign. Numerous hikes lead to the Hollywood Sign and a level hiking trail wraps around Lake Hollywood Reservoir. To visit the Hollywood Sign, three peaks on the west side of Griffith Park, and Lake Hollywood, set out on the Hollywood Sign – Hollywood... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hollywood · Lakes · Griffith Park · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 7.4 miles · Elevation change: 1070 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 31, 2017
Burbank Peak Hike Wisdom Tree Hike Griffith Park Hollywood Burbank Peak Trail Wonderview Drive Los Angeles
Burbank Peak is a summit-like perch at the end of a ridge extending west from Cahuenga Peak, the highest point in Griffith Park. Hikers have many reasons to reach the top of Burbank Peak. One popular motivation is delivering a message to the Wisdom Tree, a long pine on Burbank Peak that rises above the surrounding brush. The viewpoint also hosts an America Flag in honor... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hollywood · Dog-Friendly Trails · Griffith Park · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 1.6 miles · Elevation change: 740 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 31, 2017
 Hollywood Sign via Innsdale Drive Trail Mulholland Highway Trail Mount Lee Drive Hike Griffith Park Los Angeles California
With the public access closure of the trailhead at the top of Beachwood Drive for the Hollyridge Trail, hikers have lost a key route to the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee. Those wanting to hike to the sign are now being encouraged to start up Brush Canyon Trail from a trailhead on Canyon Drive for a 6.4-mile hike to Mount Lee's famous sign. While this is a great option for... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hollywood · Dog-Friendly Trails · Griffith Park · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 4.6 miles · Elevation change: 750 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 31, 2017
Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail Los Robles Open Space Thousand Oaks California Santa Monica Mountains
Oak Creek Canyon Trail is a rather special trail in Los Robles Open Space that is designed for the blind as well as the sighted. The all-access nature trail has a dozen and a half signs in English and Braille. While blind hikers will probably want to turn around at the end of the guide fence, for a 0.55 mile hike with 50 feet of elevation change, others may continue on to... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: April 5, 2017
Cedar Grove and Vista View Point Hike Vista Del Valle Drive Griffith Park Helipad Los Angeles California
Away from many of the tourists drawn to Griffith Park's great landmarks (like Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Sign), you'll find locals enjoying views of their city from Vista View Point, also know as the helipad site. This overlook along Vista Del Valle Drive presents a broad perspective over downtown Los Angeles, Hollywood, and Griffith Park sites like the Greek... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hollywood · Dog-Friendly Trails · Griffith Park · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 2.3 miles · Elevation change: 400 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 24, 2017