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 175 hikes in Los Angeles. With so many trails to choose from, you may be asking the question:

What are the best hikes in Los Angeles?

The answer depends on what your interest in seeing 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. The Hollywood Sign is a popular hiking destination year-round.

Have a look at this 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 judged by the visitors of hikespeak.com. After exploring one of these highly recommended hikes, you can 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

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

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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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!

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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


ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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!

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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!

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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

ForgettableAverageGoodGreatUnforgettableThis 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 wrote:

    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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Las Virgenes View Trail Las Virgenes Valley Hike Malibu Canyon Las Virgenes View Park Calabasas California Santa Monica Mountains
Las Virgenes View Park preserves nearly 700 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains adjacent to Malibu Creek State Park. The park has one established trail, Las Virgenes View Trail, which rises to a panorama-boasting ridge. The trail traverses grasslands and oak woodlands near Las Virgenes Road and then runs up a canyon to a ridge where it forms a small loop with mountain views in all... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: March 23, 2018
Heartbreak Hill Trail Santa Monica Mountains Hike Liberty Canyon Agoura Hills California
The heart pounding on Heartbreak Hill comes from the heavy dose of elevation on this short trail, which climbs 600 feet in a little over a mile. The trail is steep from the start, but does taper out before a rapid rise to Heartbreak Ridge, just below a summit crest. The hike is easy-to-reach, setting out from Agoura Road near the Liberty Canyon Exit of the 101 Freeway. The top of the hike... Read more.
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Tagged with · Agoura Hills · Free Trails · Dog-Friendly Trails · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 2.1 miles · Elevation change: 600 feet
By: Published: Last updated: February 27, 2018
Anza Loop Trail Santa Monica Mountains Hike Calabasas Agoura Hills California
In a rolling, grassy stretch of the Santa Monica Mountains near the 101 Freeway, Anza Loop Trail plots a course through history. Pause along the trail to study panels and plaques about the past - or just breeze through the loop and enjoy the present sights and sounds. Like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Loop Trail takes its name from Juan Bautista de Anza who led an expedition up... Read more.
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Tagged with · Calabasas · Free Trails · Dog-Friendly Trails · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 4.5 miles · Elevation change: 535 feet
By: Published: Last updated: February 21, 2018
Calabasas Stairs Anza Loop Trail Calabasas California Concrete Steps Workout Hike
Do you want to combine a hike with a stair workout? If the answer is yes, head for the Calabasas Stairs, a long, straight flight of 375 steps that climb a slope in the Santa Monica Mountains below a Calabasas neighborhood. It is a 0.6-mile hike from Calabasas Road (just off Highway 101) to the base of the steps. Venturing to the top of the steps and back to the road is 1.4 miles round trip... Read more.
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Tagged with · Calabasas · Free Trails · Stairs · Dog-Friendly Trails · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 1.4 miles · Elevation change: 330 feet
By: Published: Last updated: February 21, 2018
McAuley Peak 2049 Backbone Trail Piuma Trailhead Mesa Peak Motorway Milt McAuley hike Malibu California
Existing without an official name until 2015, McAuley Peak was already a convenient destination along the Backbone Trail, hosting a distinct rock formation and panoramic views over the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains. The name - honoring conservationist, author, and literal trailblazer Milt McAuley - adds even more heft to the peak. This hike to the 2,049-foot crown of McAuley Peak... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: January 17, 2018