Driving down Melrose Blvd. in Los Angeles, it is hard to envision that the surrounding mountains are home to some of the most beloved Southern California hikes. The mountains across Los Angeles County are packed with hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. Whatever your chosen level of difficulty, the trails are easy to follow and well-worn thanks to the plethora of hikers that trek on a daily basis. You want trees? Cheeseboro Canyon will cater to your need for lush forest. You want waterfalls? Hike two moderate miles into the Malibu Canyon to find the multi-tiered Escondido Falls cascading 150 feet. You want spectacular views of the city of Los Angeles? The Runyon Canyon Loop provides views of the Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood sign, and the LA basin. If these sights aren't worth marching up the hills for, then why even be in LA?. But remember to use sunscreen as well as to stay hydrated, especially during the summer season when heat exhaustion is a danger. Take a gander for yourself at some of LA great hiking resources; Los Angeles has more to offer than just a walk for the stars.
Top Three LA Hikes:
Icehouse Canyon Trail - Icehouse Canyon Trail is a 7.2 mile round-trip hike with an intimidating 2,620 foot elevation gain. However, if you tread at an easy pace, you can make it to the top in three or four hours and make it back down in two and a half. The trail boasts a tranquil ambiance with the trickling sounds of the streams, the canopy of towering trees, and moss-covered rocks. This hidden jewel in the Angeles Forest is a must-hike. Just be sure to park legally in the trailhead parking lot: you will need to purchase an affordable National Forest Adventure Pass which can be bought here: www.fs.fed.us.
Griffith Park - Venture into Griffith Park and embark upon any of the picturesque trails for a visually stimulating hike. Whether you want to watch the sunrise or the sunset, Mount Hollywood and Dante's View Trails are well-equipped with 360 degree views of Los Angeles. For some spectacular vegetation, cross the threshold into Amir's Garden Trail, Fern Canyon Nature Trail, or even the Ferndell Trail. Any of the loops and trails in Griffith Park will not disappoint, I guarantee.
San Antonio Falls - For an astounding waterfall, be sure to make your way to the San Antonio Falls in the San Gabriels. It brags a three-tiered lush 60-foot fall, especially during the post-winter months of March- July. The hike is a mere 1.2 mile roundtrip trail, so once you park (with your National Forest Adventure Pass -- check link above), you will walk on a paved road for about half a mile and then another three-five minute stroll on a dirt pathway to reach the base of the falls. For you advanced hikers: don't underestimate the awe-inspiring sight available from such a short hike.
- 1. Hike LA:
- This downloadable PDF file is a great resource to use as a starting point for finding the right hike. It has all of the LA hikes categorized in groups titled "Best Hikes…" according to location, views, and even moods. Some categories include Best hike for romance, for views, for classic peaks, to find wildflowers, et cetera. This is the best guide to get you started, but check out the next listing so that you can search each hike for more useful details.
- Website: www.hike-la.com/pdf/best_hikes_of_la_county.pdf
- 2. Local Hikes:
- This local hikes site provides details of hikes in the Los Angeles and surrounding counties. Such details include trail highlights, distances, elevation gains, estimated hike times, difficulty levels, trail conditions and hike types.
- Website: www.localhikes.com
- 3. This Hiking Trail:
- This website allows you to enter your zip code so that you can find hikes more specific to your location. Once you find a trail in a convenient locale, you can view hike maps, driving directions, trail lengths, mileage, views, waterfalls, whether hikes are dog friendly or not, as well as other useful information.
- Website: www.thishikingtrail.com
- 4. Trails:
- This is the ultimate guide, providing tools to help you charge up those mountains and canyons as a smart and safe hiker. The tabs on the site are entitled Outdoor 101, Trail Finder, Topo Maps, Gear, Travel, Forums, and My Trails to help you from start to finish with all the useful information you need to embark on an adventurous trip.
- Website: www.trails.com
- 5. Modern Hiker:
- I like to use this blog because it categorizes the best hikes according to their regions. They have grouped hikes into the Santa Monica Mountains, the Low San Gabriels, the High San Gabriels, and the Joshua Tree National Park. Each region has different scenic views with varying vegetation, so it's easy to narrow down the appropriate hike for you.
- Website: www.modernhiker.com
- 1. The Los Angles Hiking Meeting Group:
- Meet people who are hiking enthusiasts that gather together for outdoor activities particularly hiking.
- Website: hiking.meetup.com
- 2. Facebook Group:
- Join the Facebook group to meet fellow hikers and arrange group hikes.
- Website: www.facebook.com
- 3. Hiking groups in Southern California:
- This site gives you access to local hiking groups.
- Website: www.socal.hiking.info/groups