The greater Los Angeles area is home to a variety of serene parks and hiking trails that allow visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The following trails provide enjoyable and adventurous outings for both experienced and beginner hikers.
Trail: Escondido Canyon Park
Distance: 4.2 miles round-trip
Location: 27200 Winding Way, Malibu, CA 90265
Parking: Free parking available along the PCH and in a small lot on Winding Way East.
Pets: The Escondido Canyon trail is pet-friendly, but dogs are required to be leashed at all times.
Hidden in the Santa Monica Mountains, the tree-lined trail of Escondido Canyon is more than just an adventure in the woods. Hikers are sure to get dirty making their way through the challenging trail, which is often shared with mountain bikers and equestrians. The Escondido Canyon Creek crosses the trail at various points, adding further mud and moisture to the rugged terrain. The trail ends with a breathtaking payoff in the form of a multitiered, 150-foot waterfall. A deep pool sits at the base of the waterfall, serving as the perfect place to relax before trekking back down.
Trail: Bronson Canyon at Griffith Park
Distance: 1.5 miles round-trip
Location: 3200 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068
Parking: Free parking in a small lot on Canyon Drive.
Pets: Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed at all times.
Bronson Canyon provides visitors the perfect trail for a short hike. Hikers can opt to follow the trail up to the famous Hollywood sign or make their way to the Bronson Caves, where countless Hollywood movies and television shows were filmed, including old Westerns and the classic “Batman” TV series. Many hikers even refer to the caves as the “Bat Cave.” The park also offers picturesque views of nearby facilities, including the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Reservoir. The heavy foliage of the park helps drown out the sounds of the surrounding city, making hikers truly feel as though they’re in a different world.
Trail: Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa Overlook at Topanga State Park
Distance: 7.28 miles round-trip
Location: Off the PCH on Los Liones Drive in the Pacific Palisades
Parking: Free street parking.
Pets: No pets allowed.
The Los Liones Trail is a single track that leads hikers to the popular Parker Mesa Overlook. The trail is anything but easy, as it winds up and over a series of short, steep hills, but the landscape along the path is nature at its finest. Lush canyons, blooming flowers and a mass of greenery emerge to shade hikers on their trek. At the final destination of Parker Mesa, hikers can take in tremendous views of the Pacific Coast and beyond.
Trail: Inspiration Point Trail at the Will Rogers State Park
Distance: 2 miles round-trip
Location: Will Rogers State Park, 1501 Will Rogers Park Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
(Located in Santa Monica, just off Sunset Blvd. about a half mile east of Chataqua Blvd.)
Parking: $12 parking fee
Pets: Dogs must be leashed and are not allowed on any trails.
Visitors of the Will Rogers State Park enjoy exploring what was once a private ranch owned by Hollywood icon Will Rogers. The Inspiration Point Trail is an ideal place for families with young hikers. The hiking route offers remarkable views of the Santa Monica Bay, San Gabriel Mountains and, on a clear day, Catalina Island. In addition to these spectacular views, hikers can get close — but not too close — to the many animals living on the ranch grounds, including rabbits, squirrels, gophers and lizards.
Trail: Sulpher Spring Trail at O’Melveny Park
Distance: about 2.6 miles
Location: 17300 Sesnon Blvd., Granada Hills, CA 91344 (the northern end of Neon Way in Granada Hills)
Parking: Free parking
Pets: Dogs are allowed but must be leashed at all times.
Although it is the second largest park in Los Angeles, O’Melveny Park has mostly remained a hidden treasure in Granada Hills. The secrecy of the park allows hikers to enjoy their outing in peace. Like most parks, O’Melveny is home to several hiking trails. The Sulpher Spring Trail provides hikers splendid views of downtown Los Angeles and the neighboring Santa Clarita and San Fernando Valley areas. The 672-acre park is filled with a variety of lemon, grapefruit and tangerine trees, filling the air with familiar citrus smells. Grassy slopes dominate the park, painting every inch of the landscape with a fresh green look.