Hiking isn’t what comes to mind when you think of LA, but there are actually some pretty awesome LA hikes. You have cool trails and parks like Runyon Canyon nestled in the middle of the city. There’s also the iconic hike to the Hollywood Sign. If you’re in the north part of the city, Topanga State Park is a big outdoors playground with lots of good hikes. If you’re on the south side of LA, check out the hikes in Orange County. The great southern California weather means that most can be hiked year round.
Nestled in the middle of Hollywood, Runyon Canyon is popular not only with hikers and fitness buffs, but also celebs. Every time I hike at Runyon, I see someone I recognize or kind of recognize. The trails aren’t pristine wilderness, but are in good condition and offer a great hiking fix without the drive. If you’re staying in a Hollywood hotel, chances are you can even walk here.
If you’re visiting LA and want to do a hike that checks off a tourist attraction, do the hike to the Hollywood Sign. It’s relatively easy, you can do the hike in about 2.5 hours, and you’ll get a nice little workout in too. It’s a good one to do early in the morning before the heat.
If you want to get a quick hike in close to LAX, Kenneth Hahn Park is your move. Just minutes from the airport, it offers nice trails and iconic views of the LA skyline. I’ve done this hike on layovers and before red-eye flights. It’s just a quick Uber ride from LAX.
If you want to do a mountain hike without driving far, hike Echo Mountain. It offers a good climb (with 5 and 10 mile options), right outside of Pasadena. If you have time to do something more challenging, I recommend checking out these LA mountain hikes. Otherwise, hit Echo Mountain up, you won’t be disappointed. The top has ruins from an old resort, and you have 5 and 10 mile options.
Mt San Antonio, aka Mt Baldy, is the highest mountain in LA at 10,064 ft. This hike is no joke, it’s a tough climb to an alpine summit that doesn’t feel anything like Los Angeles. Hiking Mt Baldy is an iconic rite of passage for LA hikers and I highly recommend it.
While not technically an LA hike, Mt Whitney is close enough (4 hours away) that lots of people use LA as a base to get to the hike. Mt Whitney is the tallest mountain in the lower-48 states, and you can hike to the summit without any mountaineering experience. It’s truly one of the great USA hikes, I recommend you check it out.
The mountains that surround LA offer some great alpine hiking, with many peaks over 10,000 feet. If you want to explore the best LA mountain hikes, I have a full page of hikes and recommendations.
If you’re in the LA area and are looking for something close but different, I highly recommend hiking in Orange County. There are hikes for all levels, great summits with ocean views, and big mountain climbs that you can do in winter without the hazards you’d find when snow hits Angeles National Forest.
|Fossil Falls Hike||0.5||30||Easy||Yes|
|Hike the Mobius Arch Loop Trail||0.6||65||Easy||Yes|
|Red Cliffs Trail Hike – Red Rock Canyon SP||0.9||120||Easy||Leashed|
|Hagen Canyon Trail Hike (California)||1.2||120||Easy||Leashed|
|Hike the Pumpkin Rock Trail||1.2||370||Easy||Yes|
|Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Hike||2.3||350||Moderate||No|
|Kenneth Hahn Park Hike||2.4||305||Easy||Leashed|
|Runyon Canyon Hike Directions||3.5||970||Moderate||Yes|
|Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest Hike||4.4||620||Moderate||Leashed|
|Echo Mountain Hike||5.4||1500||Hard||Leashed|
|The Easy Hollywood Sign Hike||6||1000||Moderate||Leashed|
|Mount Baden-Powell Hike [Directions]||8.3||2620||Hard||Yes|
|Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Hike To Mt San Jacinto||11||3180||Hard||No|
|Mt Baldy Hike||11||3830||Hard||Yes|
|Cucamonga Peak Hike||12||4300||Hard||Leashed|
|Hike Mt Baldy on the Bear Canyon Trail||12.6||5740||Very Hard||Leashed|
|Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat||14.5||4110||Hard||Leashed|
|Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak||14.7||4170||Hard||Leashed|
|Hike White Mountain Peak (California)||15||3450||Hard||Leashed|
|Hiking on Catalina Island to Parsons Landing Campsite||15||3600||Easy||No|
|San Bernardino Peak Hike||16||4650||Hard||Yes|
|Hike the Three T’s Trail||17.6||5635||Hard||Yes|
|San Gorgonio Hike||18.5||5390||Very Hard||Yes|
|Hike Mount San Jacinto From Idyllwild||19.5||5080||Hard||No|
|Cactus to Clouds Hike||21||10800||Extremely Hard||No|
|Mt Whitney Hike||22||6100||Very Difficult||No|
The short Fossil Falls hike brings you through a volcanic landscape to a dry, water-polished waterfall. The landscape is beautiful and unique, and is well worth a stop.Read More
The easy Hagen Canyon Trail hike takes you through a colorful geographic landscape that was once underwater. It’s a great place to stop if you’re traveling between LA and the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.Read More
The Red Cliffs Trail is an easy 1 mile loop hike in the shadow of unique red cliffs in the Mojave Desert. It’s a great place to stretch your legs if you’re traveling between LA and the Eastern Sierra or Death Valley.Read More
The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Hike to Mt San Jacinto is a great way to bag Southern California’s second highest peak without a huge effort. It’s still a tough 11 mile hike, but nothing like climbing to Mt San Jacinto from Palm Springs or Idyllwild. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway cuts about 8,000 feet of climbing off the hike, and offers a nice base station where you can grab a beer and bite after your summit. A really fun and insanely beautiful hike.Read More
If you’re in Lone Pine, CA, don’t miss the Mobius Arch Loop Trail. It’s an easy hike that has one of the best photo opportunities in the Eastern Sierras. You’ll be able to perfectly frame Mt Whitney within a natural rock arch formation. The Mobius Arch Loop Trail is within Alabama Hills Recreation Area, which is a popular filming location. You might recognize some of the spots in Alabama Hills from Django Unchained, Gladiator and Iron Man.Read More
This Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest hike takes you through awe-inspiring groves of the oldest trees in the world, Bristlecone Pines. The hike is relatively easy, on a well marked trail, and includes a very cool visitor center and info. It’s not close to much else, but if you’re in the area, this hike through the Bristlecone Pine forest is your move.Read More
Hiking on Catalina Island offers some beautiful options, but I think the hike to and overnight at Parsons Landing campsite is the best. You’ll camp on a secluded beach, with the sounds of the waves as your soundtrack. There are only 8 campsites, the hike is easy, and the scenery is breathtaking. Do it. Do it.Read More
The hike to Pumpkin Rock is one of those things you just have to do at least once. It’s obviously a great Halloween hike, and there are lots of photo opportunities. The trails to Pumpkin Rock can be confusing — this guide gives you the main route up, complete with parking and bathrooms.Read More
The hike to White Mountain Peak brings you to the third highest peak in California, only a few hundred feet lower that Mt Whitney. The hike is tough, but doable, and the peak is spectacular with incredible 360 views that stretch from the Eastern Sierra to Death Valley.Read More
The Mt Whitney hike is on every hiker’s bucket list. At 14,505 feet, it’s the highest point in the lower 48, and is one of those rare high peaks that you can hike to without any mountaineering skills. There is some prep work you need to do, like getting your Mt Whitney permit. This hike guide has everything you need to know to successfully climb Mt Whitney. That includes choosing a route, getting your permit, extra hiking gear considerations, planning your trip, training, and dealing with altitude. Keep reading for all the info.Read More
The Cactus to Clouds hike is epic. It has over 10,000 feet of climbing, with a large stretch on the treacherous Skyline Trail, the Cactus to Clouds hike should only be attempted by the very experienced and very fit hiker.Read More
Everyone hikes Mt Baldy from Manker Flats, but have you done it on the Bear Canyon Trail? Also known as Old Mt Baldy Trail, this hike to Mt Baldy is tougher but doesn’t have the crowds.Read More
The Three T’s Trail hike is one of the more peaceful hikes in the Mt Baldy area. This loop hike starts at Icehouse Canyon, climbs to Icehouse Saddle, then hits Timber Mountain, Telegraph Peak, Thunder Mountain, and then descends down to Baldy Notch, Manker Flats, and back to Icehouse Canyon. It’s a long hike, but a favorite for those avoiding crowds.Read More
The Echo Mountain Hike packs a lot of bang for the buck. The hike is easy to follow, has great views, is a good workout, and ends at ruins of an old hotel. These directions have an optional hike to the viewpoint at Inspiration Point.Read More
At 11,503 feet, the San Gorgonio hike brings you to the highest peak in Southern California. The hike to San Gorgonio is an iconic SoCal hiker rite of passage, I highly recommend it. There are a few ways to hike to the peak. This hiking guide takes the Vivian Creek trail, which is the quickest way to the summit at 10 hours roundtrip. It’s a tough hike but doable in a day if you train for it.Read More
The San Bernardino Peak (10,649 feet) hike is tough but rewarding. The crowds are light and it offers sweeping views of Mt Baldy, Mt San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, and the Inland Empire.Read More
John Muir called the views from Mount San Jacinto the most sublime spectacle to be found anywhere on this earth! On a clear day, you can see from Catalina Island to Southern Utah. To hike Mount San Jacinto from Idyllwild, you’ll need a good level of fitness, it’s a tough one.Read More
If you want a great mountain hike without the crowds, hike Ontario Peak (8,696 ft) and Bighorn Peak. You might see more bighorn sheep than people!Read More
With one of the coolest summits in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Cucamonga Peak hike is a favorite. The climb is tough but not brutal, the scenery and views are awesome, and the crowds aren’t as bad as Mount Baldy.Read More
This Mt Wilson hike starts at Chantry Flat and gradually makes it way to the summit. Mt Wilson (5,710 feet) is the peak with all the radio towers that dominates the LA skyline. It’s a fun hike and a good long hike for beginners.Read More
The Mt Baldy hike brings you to the highest point in LA at 10,064 feet. With about 4000 feet of climbing, it’s a tough yet popular hike, and well worth the effort. You can see from the Pacific to the Mojave on a clear day.Read More
Bringing you to one of the highest peaks in the San Gabriel mountains at 9,399 feet, the Mount Baden-Powell hike offers 360 views from the summit. It’s a fun hike with 40 switchbacks and a manageable distance.Read More
The Kenneth Hahn Park hike brings you through a natural oasis in the middle of west LA. There’s tons of wildlife, great sunsets, and views of downtown LA. In fact, Kenneth Hahn Park is where many professional photographers come to get a photo of downtown LA with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background.Read More
The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook hike offers views and quick hiking fix in the middle of LA. On a clear day you can see from the Pacific Ocean to the San Gabriel Mountains.Read More
The Runyon Canyon hike is unique – it’s a patch of wilderness right in the middle of Hollywood. Often visited by celebs, this hike’s won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and is worth a visit.Read More