The Best Hikes in Los Angeles

The Best Hikes in LA

This is a Google map put together by ModernHiker.com of some of the best hikes in LA with detailed trail descriptions and directions to the trailheads. Click the picture of the map and it should open in a new window.

Here is a list of hikes on the map:
Sandstone Peak and Tri-Peaks
An easy hike for ‘intermediate beginners’ and novice hikers looking for a challenge. Great scenery, well-maintained trails, and lots of opportunities to branch out and explore. This is definitely one ...
Cucamonga Peak
A lengthy, steep hike up one of the tallest peaks in the San Gabriels. You’ll get a great workout, and amazing views off the peak’s nearly-sheer face — a small promontory that reveals the great L.A. S...
Timber Mountain
A long, tall hike down one of the most beautiful canyons in the Angeles National Forest. Probably the easiest way to reach Timber Mountain, the southernmost of the ‘Three Tees.’ Icehouse Saddle - just...
Dry Lake
A backpacking trip down a rarely-used route to a popular mid-mountain campground — an alpine lake-side camp in view of Southern California’s tallest mountains. A great way to get deep into the heart o...
Matilija Creek
A beautiful, isolated, and rugged river canyon in the Los Padres National Forest. Lots of river crossings, swimming holes, fascinating geology, and opportunities for off-trail adventuring. Read more...
Mount Lawlor
A short but rugged trip up to one of the lesser-known summits in the San Gabriels. Easily accessible, but still moderately challenging, with some light rock-scrambling and a use-trail descent if you’r...
Thunder Mountain and Telegraph Peak
A challenging, lengthy, roller-coaster of a hike. High alpine elevations, great views, solitude, and multiple peaks in the Mount Baldy area. Lots of potential for side-trails or car-shuttle loops. R...
San Gabriel Peak
A short, steep, switchback-sprinkled trail up the north face of Mount Disappointment to San Gabriel Peak. You’ll pass an old Nike Missile Station and end your hike on a small peak with some nice 360-d...
Condor Peak
A single-day distance record hike. Other than the length and leg-burn, this hike has just about everything that makes hiking in Southern California great. Stream crossings and boulder scramblings, syc...
Josephine Peak
A simple, straightforward fire road ascent near the main entrance to the Angeles National Forest. Not terribly challenging, but a pleasant walk with good views of Strawberry Peak and the north side of...
Bridge to Nowhere
A 10 mile trek down the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, following the path of an attempted highway. This hike features multiple river crossings, plenty of opportunities to swim, historic sections...
Queen Mountain
A short but strenuous scramble up a mountainside in the backcountry of Joshua Tree National Park. Opportunities for extra rock scrambling and exploring, with fantastic views of both the park, and the ...
Inspiration Peak
A quick up-and-down that not only escapes the crowds at popular, drivable Keys View, but also provides better vistas of Joshua Tree National Park and its surrounding mountains. Read more.
Burkhart Saddle
A lengthy trip from the high desert to the high peaks of the San Gabriels. This trail will take you through several California Climate zones - from Joshua Trees to Jeffrey Pines - and show off some we...
Mount Lukens
A leg-buster from Big Tujunga Canyon to the highest point in the Los Angeles City Limits. A river crossing, stony trails, and long winding switchbacks lead up to a fantastic view of the city and the s...
Bear Canyon and Switzer Falls
A short hike to one of the most popular and easily-accessible waterfalls in the Angeles National Forest. Includes a trip further down the canyon to Bear Canyon Campground, an easy way to get away from...
Fox Mountain
A long, strenuous hike to one of the more remote peaks in the western Angeles National Forest. A great cool-weather route with some challenging sections of scramble, this hike is an exercise in mental...
Mount Mooney and Vetter Mountain
A mid-length, easy hike to tackle two mountains on the Hundred Peaks List. Not a lot of elevation gain, but fantastic views of the San Gabriels and some of the urban areas outside the Angeles National...
The Grotto
A short hike to one of Southern California’s classic hiking destinations. An easy route that can extend as far as you want, with great opportunities for climbing and a wonderful place to refresh your ...
Icehouse Canyon
I was going through the ol’ blog-archives, and found an old trip to Icehouse Canyon. Since I’ve already written-up a few other trails that go through the canyon, I won’t give this the full treatment. ...
Pacifico Mountain
A post-storm trip on the Pacific Crest Trail to one of the ‘lower high’ peaks on the north range of the San Gabriels. A little bit of snow-hiking, some bouldering, and just a touch of backcountry navi...
Strawberry Peak
The most challenging peak in the front range of the San Gabriels. This trail loops through a shaded canyon, brush, and exposed rock-face Class Three bouldering before descending to idyllic meadows in ...
Mount Gleason
A short stint on the Pacific Crest Trail to a mountain with a lot of history. A cool, shaded, north-face trail takes you to the summit’s old Nike Missile radio base, while (an alleged) bushwhack leads...
Mount Wilson via Winter Creek
A 13 mile partial loop up to the one of Southern California’s most well-known peaks, with a wide range of Southern California geography. This route is just one of the 5 Sierra Club-recognized summit p...
Sespe River
A 9 mile round-trip backpack along the Sespe Creek to a shaded riverside campground. Hot valley air, cold river water, and plenty of scenes of recent wildfires keep up the variety, and the relatively ...
Mount Hillyer
A short, meandering trip on the Silver Moccasin Trail into an historic horse-thief hideout. Plenty of incredible boulder formations, pine forests, and nice views of the interior San Gabriels. Read m...
Runyon Canyon
A short, relatively easy trail loop in one of the most accessible areas of Los Angeles’ mountains. Quick access and very dog-friendly, although the crowds may leave you longing for something a bit fur...
Solstice Canyon
A picturesque, shaded canyon hike. A popular, well-maintained trail with opportunities for less-traveled spurs. Highlights include a small waterfall, the oldest still-standing stone building in Malibu...
Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point
A great hike in the lower San Gabriels to incredible vistas, forested mountain canyons, and the ruins of a turn-of-the-century mountaintop resort. Bonus enjoyment for history buffs, in the form of pla...
Hellhole Canyon
A short hike from the hot, dry desert flat into a narrow canyon and to a hidden waterfall oasis, full of mosses, vines, and trees. A surreal arid experience that is not to be missed if you’re in Anza-...
Wind Caves
A short, off-trail mountain scramble and climb near the Wind Caves area of the park. We didn’t go all the way in because my Accord was probably not meant to be on the sandy dirt road leading to the ca...
Calcite Mine
For write up, see combined description with The Slot trail.
The Slot
Two short hikes in some of the best Slot Canyons in Southern California. Lots of squeezing through walls, scrambling in and out of canyons, and generally feeling like you’re in an Indiana Jones movie....
Mount San Antonio (Mount Baldy) and Mount Harwood
A leg-busting ascent to the highest point in Los Angeles County, with a neighboring mountain thrown in for good measure. This is a classic hike through some incredible subalpine scenery, and is a MUST...
Iron Mountain (#2)
A short, yet secluded hike to a secluded mountain deep in the western San Gabriels. A trek down a long dirt road gets you to the trailhead, where you’ll walk along unused fire roads and use-trails to ...
The Devil's Chair
A moderate trek around one of the most breathtaking natural landmarks in the region. A hike to Devil’s Chair gives you panoramic views of what happens to the ground near one of the most active rift zo...
Temescal Peak and Eagle Rock
A 7+ mile semi-loop in one of the Los Angeles area’s most accessible parks. Some classic, Sycamore-covered SoCal geography, with meadows, boulder formations and outcroppings, and rolling chaparral rid...
Sunset Peak
A winding fire-road hike to one of the front peaks near the Mt. Baldy Area. This is the longer but less strenuous of two routes, and offers outstanding, panoramic views of the Baldy Bowl and - on clea...
Ryan Mountain
A straightforward, relatively easy hike up one of the most prominent, centrally-located peaks in Joshua Tree National Park. From this popular trail, hikers can get nearly 360 degree views of the entir...
Barker Dam Loop
A short and well-trodden nature trail in the center of the park. An easy way to get a glimpse at one of the most accessible areas of the Wonderland of Rocks, as well as seeing evidence of Native Ameri...
The Maze Loop
A newly-designated trail near the West Entrance, this loop encompasses parts of the North View, Maze, and Window Rock trails. A fantastic route that winds through large boulder formations, desert wash...
Santa Anita Canyon
A loop on multiple trails through one of the most picturesque and popular canyons in the San Gabriels. Multiple stream crossings, river cascades, shaded canyons and a 50 foot waterfall give way to th...
Shortcut Canyon
A tranquil route into a wooded canyon on the Silver Moccasin Trail. A good conditioning hike with beautiful campgrounds, streamside views for almost the entire run, and plenty of boulder-hopping and ...
Mount Lukens via Haines Canyon
A strenuous ascent up the south face of Mount Lukens - the highest point of elevation within Los Angeles City Limits. This particular route travels a secluded and steep, but rarely traveled and sligh...
Havasu Canyon
A 20-mile backpack in the Havasupai Reservation. This breathtaking journey takes you from the rim of one of the offshoots of the Grand Canyon down to the village of its only permanent inhabitants, al...
La Jolla Valley and Ray Miller Trail
A beautiful hike in the coastal mountains. Phenomenal flower blooms in the spring, strong sun in the summer, and a small spring and waterfall (during wet years), the main attraction are large swaths ...
Sycamore Canyon
A pleasant loop through the low mountains and wide grasslands of northern Point Mugu State Park. This route features a seasonal waterfall, cabin ruins, and great spring wildflower blooms -- and while...
Winston Peak and Winston Ridge
A short 4 mile loop through the San Gabriel High Country. This route turns a very easily-bagged single peak hike into a moderately strenuous two-peak journey, with expansive views of the interior San...
Mount Akawie
A very short, relatively unimpressive mountain deep in the central high San Gabriels. Best when hiked in combination with other peaks in the area. Read More.
Kratka Ridge
A short but steep hike to a prominent ridge in the San Gabriel High Country. You'll pass through a defunct picnic area, an abandoned ski resort, and top it off with outstanding views of the middle of...
Waterman Mountain Loop
A 6+ mile, moderate loop on and off-trail in the middle High San Gabriels. While low on sweeping vistas, this hike features large stands of incense cedar, boulder formations typical of the area, ski ...
Mount Markham
A 6.3 mile ascent over an additional ridge to an often-overlooked peak in the front range of the San Gabriels. This route passes by several other prominent peaks in the area, and finally makes a ridg...
Mount Wilson - Devore Trail Camp Loop
A 10.5 mile loop from the top of Mount Wilson to two trail camps along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, then back up to the top of the mountain. This trail is entirely along the mountain's coo...
Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak
A 14 mile in-and-out that hits two of the tallest, most prominent peaks in the Angeles National Forest. Beginning with the historic, alpine brook that runs through Icehouse Canyon, this trail climbs ...
Rocky Peak
A moderate 5 mile hike along fire roads and trails, just outside Simi Valley. Easy trailhead access, interesting rock formations, and breathtaking vistas (when the air is clear), make this a great ch...
Mugu Peak
A very pleasant 5+ mile hike in the southern part of Point Mugu State Park. Low rolling mountains, sweeping meadows of native grass, spectacular coastal views, and a few sections of steep ascent make...
Fryman Canyon
A short, 3 mile loop in the Hollywood Hills. Centrally located, with easy access from Hollywood and Studio City, this is a slightly easier but MUCH nicer alternative to other popular Hollywood hikes ...
Malibu Creek
An 8 mile in-and-out, exploring the lower canyon sections of Malibu Creek State Park. Lots of stream-side scenery, a few man-made lakes, spectacular Santa Monica Mountains scenery, and lots of side-t...
Ghost Mountain and Pictograph Trail
A tour through some of the highlights of the southwestern corner of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, that can be done as a strenuous 14.6 mile hike, or in easy 1-2 mile chunks if you're willing to driv...
Borrego Palm Canyon
A relatively easy, 3-mile roundtrip down a rocky canyon to one of the last remaining naturally occurring native California palm groves left on the planet. This is a fascinating hike for amateur botan...
Verdugo Mountains
A just-under-six mile loop on fire roads in the mountains between Glendale and Burbank. A moderate hike that can be easily overlooked, this loop is a great last-minute hiking getaway that has outstan...
Pine Knot Trail
A 6+ mile partial loop on a mostly-gently graded trail just south of Big Bear Lake. This trail offers secluded woodlands and great views of the southern San Bernardinos. There is also a trail to the...
Bertha Peak
A just-under 8 mile hike from the Big Bear Discovery Center that really highlights everything you'll want to experience on the north shore of Big Bear Lake -- wide lake vistas, great cedars and pines,...
Charmlee Wilderness Park
A short but beautiful hike in the Charmlee Wilderness Park, a 530 acre park on the coastal bluffs in Malibu. Beautiful grassy meadows, coastal scrub, and live oak are all highlights in this park, whi...
Eaton Canyon
A relatively easy, less than 4 mile hike up a canyon in the lower San Gabriels to a 40-foot waterfall. This popular trail can get crowded on the weekends, but is still worth a visit - especially in t...
High Peaks Loop
A breathtaking 9.3 mile loop through most of the big sights in Pinnacles National Monument. This trail crosses streams, dives into talus caves, and climbs around and through the monument's namesake r...
Condor Gulch
An easy, short path from a nature center up to an overlook point with a great view of the Pinnacles Formation. An easy way to see some of the sights in the park, with the option to connect to the Hig...
Bear Gulch
A short and easy - yet still exciting - hike in the Bear Gulch at Pinnacles National Monument. The trail travels through forest, cliffs, two caves, a man-made lake, and some of the spectacular Pinnac...
Wallace Creek
A short and easy hike along a world-famous section of the San Andreas Fault. This is a great way to get close to the fault, see its effects on the landscape firsthand, and come to terms with the powe...
Mount Baden-Powell
A moderately challenging 8-mile trek up the north face of one of the tallest mountains in the San Gabriels. Fans of switchbacks will love the march to the top of this peak, which rewards hikers with ...
Throop Peak and Mount Hawkins
A just over 6 mile out-and-back trail to two prominent peaks to the west of Mount Baden-Powell. With a stretch of spectacularly-designed trail, lots of shade, and phenomenal scenery with not a whole ...
Mount Islip
A mostly shaded, gently graded 7 mile hike to the mostly-exposed peak of Mount Islip. This hike offers unparalleled views of the Yerba Santa Ampitheatre and nearby middle peaks of the San Gabriels, a...
San Gorgonio Mountain via South Fork Trail
The fact that San Gorgonio Mountain is the tallest peak in Southern California (11,502 feet) is reason enough to hike it - the breathtaking 360 degree vistas and stunning alpine scenery along the way ...
Parker Mesa via Los Liones Trail
A 7.3 mile hike from the Pacific Palisades to a popular overlook in Topanga State Park. The first part of this hike - the Los Liones Trail - is one of the most lush riparian canyons I've seen in the ...
Panorama Loop Trail
A nearly 13 mile trail that hits some of the highlights of Yosemite National Park. This route starts out with a refreshing soak from Vernal Falls on the Mist Trail, then treats you to great views of ...
North Dome
A moderate 9.5 mile hike to North Dome - a granite promontory with commanding views of Half Dome, Cloud's Rest and the Yosemite Valley below. This meandering trail on the north rim of the valley is u...
Cathedral Lakes
A 7 mile out-and-back on the John Muir Trail to a set of glacial lakes in the Yosemite Wilderness. This northern hike near Tuolumne Meadows offers some relatively easy hiking away from the crowds, wi...
Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve
A short and easy but breathtaking stroll through the Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve - a 1800 acre reserve of prime California poppy real estate. Accessible for just about everyone, this sm...
Mount Lee / Hollywood Sign
Get up close and personal with two of L.A.'s landmarks on this moderate 6.5 mile out-and-back in Griffith Park -- the iconic Hollywood Sign AND the Batcave from the 60's TV series "Batman." This dog-...
The Devil's Postpile
An under 6-mile trail in Devil's Postpile National Monument. This is spectacular Sierra scenery all around, with the Wild and Scenic San Joaquin River, several waterfalls, and the Postpile itself - a...
Hiking Mount Whitney
At an elevation of 14,505 feet, Mount Whitney is the tallest mountain in California AND the tallest peak in the Lower 48. Beyond the physical superlatives, hiking the Mount Whitney Trail is a beautif...
Mount San Jacinto via Mountain Station
A moderately easy high-altitude trek to one of Southern California's "three saints" - the three tallest peaks of their ranges. This trail is probably the easiest way to summit, featuring an aerial tr...
Malibu Lagoon State Beach
A short and easy beachside hike and stroll along the Pacific Ocean to some of the gems of coastal Southern California - including a beautiful lagoon filled with birds, one of the world's landmark surf...
Castro Crest - Bulldog Road
A 7.6 mile out-and-back in the southwestern portion of Malibu Creek State Park. This area is drastically different than the areas along Malibu Creek, and offer great opportunities for rock climbing a...
Vasquez Rocks
This 3.4 mile hike through Vasquez Rocks Natural Area highlights some of the fascinating earthquake geology of the area, as well as some recovering areas from a 2007 wildfire. This park's trails mean...
Placerita Canyon Firebreak Trail
This 7 mile loop in Placerita Canyon Natural Area has a little something for everyone. This route starts out at one of the best Nature Centers at any local or state park, then makes a grueling ascent...
Corralitas Rail Way
A very short but kind of hidden open tract of land in Echo Park / Silver Lake. Historic Red Line properties and ruins and easy access from those neighborhoods make this a great quick walk or part of ...
Lewis Falls
A short but potentially challenging hike to a 50 foot waterfall high in the San Gabriel Mountains in a narrow, sylvan canyon. Beautiful foliage and seclusion make this hike a memorable excursion, eve...
Elysian Park West Loop
A convenient, dog-friendly hike in the northwest side of Elysian Park, near the heart of Los Angeles itself. This short route offers some decent portions of elevation gain, good shade, and great view...
Angel's Point
A 2.8 mile loop through the northern section of Elysian Park. This route through a park next to Dodger Stadium features a surprisingly rugged single-track overlooking the Golden State Freeway (which ...
Towsley Canyon
A 5.3 mile loop trail through some rugged Santa Clarita terrain. This hike features a decent workout in its elevation gain, some spectacular views of the Santa Susana Mountains and lots of geologic a...
Smith Mountain
Smith Mountain is a prominent peak overlooking the central Angeles National Forest near the San Gabriel Wilderness. This hike follows the Upper Bear Creek Trail on a gradual incline before making a m...
Badwater Basin
A very easy in-and-out hike from a boardwalk to the salt flats of Badwater Basin, the lowest point of elevation in the Western Hemisphere. Even though this is not a terrifically challenging hike, if ...
Salt Creek
A short half-mile loop on a boardwalk through a very, very strange area of Death Valley - a bonafide salt marsh in the middle of one of the driest places on earth. Read More.
Darwin Falls
A decidedly non-desert landscape in the middle of one of the hottest, driest deserts in the world - Darwin Falls is one of the only permanent fresh water sources in the park. A spring-fed creek flows...
Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch to Zabriskie Point
A six mile loop through some of the most stunning badlands in Death Valley National Park. This route features tons of geologic and human history - you'll pass through layers of strata defining the di...
Eugene E. Debs Regional Park
A lovely 5+ mile loop through almost every section of this hidden park near the Arroyo Seco. Birds are abundant here, and their air will probably be filled with birdsong as you hike its mostly easily...
Mount Hollywood
An accessible, just-under four mile loop in Griffith Park to the peak of Mount Hollywood. On a clear day, this hike will give you tremendous views of the L.A. basin and nearby Griffith Observatory, a...
Bridalveil Falls
A quick and easy nature walk up to Bridalveil Fall, a 617-foot year-round cascade that also happens to be one of the most popular spots in the park. Yosemite Valley is notoriously crowded - especiall...
Chilnualna Falls
A 7.6 mile round trip to the top of the largest cascade of Chilnualna Falls. This low-elevation, steady uphill trail can get pretty warm in the sunny summer months, but you'll have a few opportunitie...
Station Fire Closure Zone
As of 5/24/12, all trails within this area are completely closed and off-limits to foot traffic. Entering the area may result in fines or incarceration.
Murphy Ranch
A 3.8 mile loop hike into the ruins of Murphy Ranch - a small parcel of land with an almost legendary history. This hike takes you from a popular fire road hike in view of the Pacific Ocean and peaks...
Placemark 102
Bee Rock
A just-under four mile loop through a seldom-used section of Griffith Park. This hike will take you up to the fenced promontory of Bee Rock for tremendous views of Glendale and the San Gabriels, then...
Hastain Loop
A short loop in the southern half of Franklin Canyon Park - a rugged, hidden little canyon just outside of Beverly Hills. This is a decent workout with some really lovely canyon scenery and views of ...
Ranch and Reservoir Loop
This short and easy loop in the north end of Franklin Canyon Park is a great introduction to the area - and a reminder of what kinds of hidden gems are scattered all over the city. There are lots of ...
Jones Peak via Bailey Canyon
This trail has two parts - a surprisingly rugged short trip through a shaded canyon to a small waterfall and a calf-kicking nonstop ascent to Jones Peak with killer views of Sierra Madre and the San G...
Kenneth Hahn Community Loop Trail
A lovely 2.6 mile loop in a park in the heart of L.A. sprawl. On clear days, this trail offers outstanding views of downtown, the San Gabriels, the Hollywood Hills, and beyond - and otherwise this pa...
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
A short but strenuous hike up a steep set of stairs just south of Ballona Creek in Culver City for some fantastic views of the surrounding landscape. This small park is popular with fitness-types swe...
Temescal Canyon to Skull Rock
A moderately challenging 4.6 mile loop trail in the Pacific Palisades. This route takes you on the popular Temescal Canyon Trail to Temescal Falls (really just a small cascade, most often only a tric...
Trebek Open Space
A just-under-3 mile out-and-back in the Hollywood Hills. This seldom-traveled route offers fantastic city views and easy, dog-friendly routes. While parking and trailhead issues may be complicated, ...
Hidden Valley
A short, mile-long interpretive trail through an area rich with history, wildlife, and rock climbers. A great introduction to the park if you're coming in from the Western Entrance.   Read More
Wonderland Ranch and Wall Street Mill
This easy 3 mile out-and-back highlights some of the prospecting history of Joshua Tree National Park. This route passes the ruins of Wonderland Ranch and some old foundations further up Wonderland W...
Lost Palms Oasis
A moderately difficult 7 mile trail to an overlook featuring the highest concentration of native California Fan Palms in the park. There are great views of the oasis, nearby peaks, and the Salton Sea...
Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak
A rugged three mile out-and-back in the newest section of Griffith Park. This trail features relentless ascents and tremendous views of Griffith Park, heading to a unique lone tree and geocaching are...

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