Hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains
Stretching through Malibu toward downtown Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains are a beautiful coastal range packed with enticing trails. 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 the Santa Monica Mountains, offering hundreds of miles of hiking trails.
Hiking the Santa Monica Mountains
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. Impressive canyons, vast ocean views, and beautiful spring wildflowers await hikers on trails throughout the range.
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. Despite the beautiful scenery and easy accessibility, most trails never see a crowd.
Santa Monica Mountains Hiking
This collection of trails is listed from west to east, but the table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. A search feature can also be used to quickly isolate the hike you are looking for. Every trail links to its own report complete with photos, GPS maps, elevation profiles, 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.
|075||La Jolla Canyon Loop|
This hike explores Point Mugu State Park on the west end of the Santa Monica Mountains, offering incredible ocean views.
This out and back hike from La Jolla Canyon to the 1,266-foot summit features superb ocean and canyon views.
|081||La Jolla Canyon Falls|
This out and back hike visits a short seasonal waterfall in Point Mugu State Park.
|085||Scenic 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
This out and back hike visits a creek flowing through a talus cave in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
This loop summits the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.
This 1-mile addition to the Sandstone Peak loop adds extra views to the hike.
This winding loop explores the upper reaches of a canyon carved by the East Fork of Arroyo Sequit and has grand views of the Santa Monica Mountains.
|103||Nicholas 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.
|106||Nicholas Flat via Nicholas Flat Trail|
This scenic hike ventures from the coast in Leo Carrillo State Park up into the mountains to a grassy flat with a small pond.
|7 - 7.6 miles|
1,685 - 1,745 feet
|107||Nicholas Flat Trail - Willow Creek Trail Loop|
This loop in Leo Carrillo State Park wraps around a coastal ridge and tops out at an ocean vista with broad views.
|110||Angel Vista via Rosewood Trail|
This out and back hike is the most direct route to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the Conejo Valley.
|115||Angel 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.
|120||Charmlee Wilderness Park|
This loop is one of several possible hikes in this bluff-top park with ocean views over Malibu.
|123||Rocky 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.
|125||Zuma Canyon Trail|
This out and back hike leaves a coastal Malibu neighborhood to explore rustic Zuma Canyon.
|129||Zuma Canyon Ocean View - Canyon View Trails |
This loop demands more effort than the Zuma Canyon Trail and provides great ocean and canyon views.
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|
|135||Zuma Canyon Narrows|
This off-trail trek crosses the narrow canyon beyond Zuma Canyon Trail before return along the Zuma Ridge Trail.
|140||Point 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.
|145||Castro Crest from Latigo Canyon Road|
This out and back hike crosses a green canyon and climbs to a scenic saddle below Castro Peak.
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.
|155||Upper 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
|157||Mesa 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|
|160||Solstice Canyon Trail|
This out and back hike is easy and level, and visits the ruins of a burned down ranch and a small waterfall.
|163||Malibu Lagoon State Beach|
This easy walk below the mountains goes around a bird-filled lagoon and explores a famous surf beach on a sandy stroll to Malibu Pier.
This loop offers ocean and canyon views from a unspoiled section of the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu.
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|
|175||Lake 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.
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
|185||Lost 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||Cistern, 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|
This lollipop loop crosses a scenic mountain between Liberty Canyon and Las Virgenes Canyon in Malibu Creek State Park.
|199||Grassland 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.
|202||Malibu Creek Traverse|
This adventure hike explores the C-shaped gorge between Rock Pool and Century Lake in Malibu Creek State Park.
|205||Mesa 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.
|210||Calabasas 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.
|211||Summit 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|
|212||Calabasas 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.
|214||Calabasas 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.
|218||Red 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
|222||Stunt 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.
|225||Backbone Trail to Saddle Peak|
This shorter hike approaches the summit from the east.
|230||Topanga Lookout |
This out and back hike visits the site of an old fire tower that still offers great views of the surrounding mountains.
|235||Tuna Canyon Park|
This ocean-view packed hike explores a less-visited park between Topanga and Malibu.
|1.6 - 5.1 miles|
275 - 900 feet
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|
|242||Summit 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
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.
|245||Eagle Rock from Trippet Ranch|
This loop takes Musch Trail and Eagle Springs Fire Road to visit an exceptional sandstone summit in Topanga State Park.
|250||Parker Mesa Overlook from Trippet Ranch|
This out and back hike from Topanga State Park's main trailhead leads to a bluff with immense ocean views.
|255||Parker 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
|260||Los Liones Trail|
This out and back hike visits a lust canyon with ocean views and can be used to reach Parker Mesa Overlook.
|265||Eagle Rock from Santa Ynez Canyon|
This out and back hike crosses a shaded canyon, climbing a ridge to summit a sandstone prominence in Topanga State Park.
|270||Santa Ynez Falls|
This out and back hike follows a shaded creek to a gorge containing a short waterfall.
|272||Winnetka Ridge Trail|
This ridge top hike ventures into the Santa Monica Mountains from the end of Winnetka Avenue in Woodland Hills.
This partial loop offers an easy stroll along the bottom of a canyon on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains near Tarzana and Woodland Hills.
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
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
This out and back hike descends Temescal Ridge to a head-shaped formation with great views over Santa Monica Bay.
|293||Hub 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
|295||Caballero Canyon Trail|
This out and back hike ascends a canyon to views over the San Fernando Valley.
This loop offers a variety of scenery and decent exercise, despite its relative brevity.
|2.6 - 5.25 miles |
860 feet - 1,075 feet
This single-track trail crosses a lush secluded canyon connecting Temescal Gateway Park to Will Rogers State Park.
|2.1 - 4.2 miles|
This easy loop in Will Rogers State Historic Park leads to an overlook with views from Santa Monica Bay to downtown LA.
|315||Rustic Canyon's Murphy Ranch from Will Rogers State Historic Park|
This adventure visits the former ruins of a commune built by Nazi sympathizers in a canyon east of the park.
|4 - 5 miles|
225 - 950 feet
|320||Rustic Canyon's Murphy Ranch from Sullivan Ridge|
This loop drops into Rustic Canyon where hikers could visit abandoned buildings once occupied by Nazi sympathizers.
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
This out and back hike follows a wide trail up the center of a sycamore-filled canyon.
|335||Westridge 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.
|340||Mandeville 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.
|345||Mulholland 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.
|350||Upper Canyonback Trail|
This out and back hike descends Canyonback Ridge from Mulholland Drive to the Mountain Gate Country Club Estates.
|3 - 8 miles|
|355||Lower 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|
|360||Getty 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.
|370||Dixie Canyon Park|
This hike forms a partial loop in a small wooded canyon on the Sherman Oaks side of the Santa Monica Mountains.
|395||Franklin 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
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
|410||Fryman Canyon Loop|
This loop in the Hollywood Hills follows Betty B. Dearing Trail through Wilacre Park and Coldwater Canyon Park.
|440||Trebek 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
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
|450||Cahuenga 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.
|452||Lake Hollywood Reservoir Walking Trail|
This easy loop circles a peaceful fence-enclosed reservoir in the hills below the Hollywood Sign.
|455||Mount Lee and the Hollywood Sign via Hollyridge Trail|
This hike ascends from Beachwood Canyon to the summit of Mount Lee behind the Hollywood Sign.
|460||Mount Chapel, Mount Bell, and Mount Hollywood|
This undulating loop tops three prominent summits on a panoramic tour of Griffith Park.
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.
This 1,625-foot peak is a star of Griffith Park with panoramic views that can be reached from Griffith Observatory on a steep 1.4-mile hike or a scenic 2.65-mile trek and from lower in the park in Western Canyon for a hike of around 4.2 miles.
|1.4 - 4.8 miles|
500 - 925 feet
|472||Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood Sign|
This hike travels from one Griffith Park landmark to another, taking a lengthy route across Mount Hollywood.
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
|474||Griffith 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.
|475||Griffith Observatory via East Observatory Trail|
This hike from Vermont Canyon Avenue up to Griffith Park's great observatory delivers excellent views over Los Angeles along the way.
|477||Glendale Peak - Mount Hollywood Loop|
This hike tops two summits in Griffith Park that both have awesome views.
This hike visits a less known summit on the southeast side of Griffith Park with views that deserve more attention.
|2.55 - 3.3 miles|
330 - 405 feet
This hike reaches a relaxing garden on the east side of Griffith Park that is a pleasant retreat for hikers.
|490||Old Zoo Picnic Area|
This short hike explores the abandoned exhibits and animal cages in the ruins of the old LA Zoo in Griffith Park.
This hive-shaped point on the east side of Griffith Park can be reached via a pair of loop hikes.
|1.7 - 4 miles|
|465||Mount 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|
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|
Or explore hikes around the Santa Monica Mountains on the Hike Finder Map