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The Best LA Hikes

Hiking isn't what comes to mind when you think of LA, but there are actually some pretty awesome LA hikes. You have city trails and parks like Runyon Canyon nestled in the middle of Hollywood. There's also the iconic hike to the Hollywood Sign.  There are also some big mountain hikes within an hour of downtown LA.

Name Distance Level Location Climb Dogs
Hike Mt San Jacinto Peak on the Deer Springs Trail19Very HardIdyllwild5400N
Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) Hike Guide38.5Hard Avalon7900Y
Hike the Mt Rubidoux Trail (Riverside)3ModerateRiverside560Y
Cougar Crest Trail to Bertha Peak Hike Guide8ModerateBig Bear1450Y
Big Bear Aspen Grove Trail Hike4.8ModerateAngelus Oaks770Y
Terri Peak Hike at Lake Perris5ModeratePerris1100N
Dawn Mine Trail Hike6ModerateAltadena1900Y
Mt Hillyer Trail Hike6.5ModerateChilao Campground1240Y
Mount Pinos Trail and Sawmill Mountain Hike Guide8ModerateFrazier Park1600Y
Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat9HardArcadia2740Y
Mt Hawkins Loop Hike (Hawkins, Middle, and South Mount Hawkins)13HardIrwindale3750Y
Dry Lake (San Gorgonio) From The South Fork Trail11.5HardAngelus Oaks2330Y
Black Mountain Trail to the Fire Lookout (Idyllwild, CA)8HardBanning2820Y
Vital Link Trail to Verdugo Peak Hike6HardBurbank1920Y
Millard Canyon Falls Hike2.8EasyAltadena560Y
Temescal Canyon Hike3.2ModeratePacific Palisades920N
Potato Mountain Hike (Angeles National Forest)4.5ModerateClaremont1270Y
Hike the Etiwanda Falls Trail3.5ModerateRancho Cucamonga790N
Lake Hollywood Reservoir Hike3.5EasyLos Angeles150N
Wisdom Tree Hike (+ Cahuenga Peak and Hollywood Sign)1.8ModerateLos Angeles740Y
Hike Mt Islip From Crystal Lake10.5HardAzuza2800Y
Gabrielino Trail (NRT) Guide28.8HardArcadia6500Y
Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail Hike5.2EasyIdyllwild740Y
Hike San Bernardino East Peak From Forsee Creek Trail18HardAngelus Oaks4600Y
Hike Mt Waterman & Twin Peaks11.5HardPearblossom3700Y
Tahquitz Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail Hike8.5HardIdyllwild2350Y
Switzer Falls Hike4ModerateAltadena690Y
Strawberry Peak Hike7.2ModerateAzusa1720Y
Deep Creek Hot Springs Hike5.6ModerateLake Arrowhead1500Y
Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail Hike4ModerateHesperia1000Y
Mt Wilson Trail Hike14.5HardSierra Madre5640N
Devil’s Chair Hike (Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area)7.5ModeratePearblossom1850Y
Marshall Canyon Trail10.5ModerateLa Verne1310Y
Big Horn Mine Trail Hike4EasyValyermo840Y
Hike Mt Lukens From Deukmejian Wilderness Park10HardLa Crescenta2800Y
Bridge to Nowhere Hike10.5ModerateLa Verne1870Y
Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Hike To Mt San Jacinto11HardPalm Springs2620N
Hiking on Catalina Island to Parsons Landing Campsite15.2EasyAvalon1320N
Hike the Pumpkin Rock Trail1.2EasyNorco370Y
Cactus to Clouds Hike21Very HardPalm Springs10800N
Hike Mt Baldy on the Bear Canyon Trail13Very HardMt Baldy5650Y
Hike the Three T’s Trail16HardMt Baldy5110Y
Echo Mountain Hike on the Sam Merrill Trail5.4HardAltadena1730Y
San Gorgonio Hike18.5Very HardForest Falls5470Y
San Bernardino Peak Hike16HardAngelus Oaks4670Y
Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak14.7HardMt Baldy4240Y
Cucamonga Peak Hike12HardMt Baldy4200Y
Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat14.5HardSierra Madre4600Y
Mt Baldy Hike11HardMt Baldy3990Y
Mount Baden-Powell Hike8.3HardVincent Gap2800Y
Kenneth Hahn Park Hike2.4EasyLos Angeles305Y
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Hike2.3ModerateLos Angeles330N
Runyon Canyon Hike Guide3.5ModerateLos Angeles900Y
The Easy Hollywood Sign Hike6ModerateLos Angeles1100Y

Runyon Canyon Hike trails

Best LA Hikes

  1. Hollywood Sign Hike
  2. Runyon Canyon
  3. Mt Baldy
  4. Echo Mountain
  5. Mt Wilson

Best LA Hikes For Families

  1. Baldwin Hills
  2. Kenneth Hahn
  3. Switzer Falls
  4. Runyon Canyon
  5. Hollywood Sign Hike

Best LA Hikes For Beginners

  1. Kenneth Hahn
  2. Hollywood Sign Hike
  3. Runyon Canyon
  4. Switzer Falls
  5. Echo Mountain

Best LA Hikes With Dogs

  1. Runyon Canyon
  2. Echo Mountain
  3. Hollywood Sign Hike
  4. Kenneth Hahn
  5. Switzer Falls

All Guides

Hike Mt San Jacinto Peak on the Deer Springs Trail

Hike Mt San Jacinto Peak on the Deer Springs Trail

The hike to Mt San Jacinto Peak on the Deer Springs Trail is one of the toughest and most beautiful hikes in Southern California. You’ll climb over 5000 feet on the ascent of San Jacinto Peak, hiking through old-growth pine forests until you crest the summit. On the way back down, we’ll hike the Wellman’s Cienega Trail, which hugs the mountainside, offers incredible views of Tahquitz Peak and Suicide Rock, and feels more like Yosemite than Southern California. You can tackle this underrated hike in one day or break it up overnight in Little Round Valley Campground.

Idyllwild, CA - 19 miles, Very Hard

Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) Hike Guide

Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) Hike Guide

The Trans Catalina Trail, a mini, 38.5-mile thru-hike across the rugged island of Catalina, is a very doable adventure for almost every hiker and backpacker. Most people take between two and five days to complete the trail, which winds its way around Catalina. Along the way, you’ll experience expansive ocean views, the unique Channel Islands ecology, challenging terrain, and spectacular beachside campgrounds. In this complete Trans Catalina Trail (TCT) guide, I’ll show you everything you need to know to hike the trail and plan it out so that it’s a perfect fit for your hiking abilities.

Avalon, CA - 38.5 miles, Hard

Hike the Mt Rubidoux Trail (Riverside)

Hike the Mt Rubidoux Trail (Riverside)

Although not a wilderness hike, the Mt Rubidoux Trail, nestled right in the middle of Riverside, CA, still has lots to offer and is worth a visit. A gradual, paved, family-friendly trail winds up to the top of Mt Rubidoux, where you are treated to panoramic views of the big mountain ranges, as well as attractions some historical attractions like the Serra Cross, the giant flag, and the Peace Bridge. Now there are many trails in Mt Rubidoux Park, but I’ll show you the popular (and probably easiest) route to the top.

Riverside, CA - 3 miles, Moderate

Cougar Crest Trail to Bertha Peak Hike Guide

Cougar Crest Trail to Bertha Peak Hike Guide

The Cougar Crest Trail, one of the most popular in Big Bear, CA, offers excellent views and beautiful wilderness for a moderate, but not crazy, effort. On the hike, you’ll experience a lush Alpine forest, views of Big Bear Lake, stone sculptures, a stretch on the iconic Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and then the panoramic Bertha Peak, one of the high points around the lake.

Big Bear, CA - 8 miles, Moderate

Big Bear Aspen Grove Trail Hike

Big Bear Aspen Grove Trail Hike

Hidden in a remote valley in the mountains around Big Bear, the Aspen Grove Trail offers a rare glimpse into one of the two aspen groves in Southern California. The leaves turn orange and yellow in the fall, and the area feels more like the Sierra Nevada than Big Bear. The Aspen Grove Trail was destroyed in the 2015 Lake Fire, and while the big pine trees are no longer there, the aspens have grown back nicely. If you’re looking for fall colors, this hike is a great option.

Angelus Oaks, CA - 4.8 miles, Moderate

Terri Peak Hike at Lake Perris

Terri Peak Hike at Lake Perris

The hike to Terri Peak, which towers over Lake Perris and offers panoramic views, is a hidden gem. It’s located in Lake Perris State Recreation Area, a park noted more for water sports than hiking. The trail to Terri Peak climbs through boulders and offers plenty of gradual sections to catch your breath and take in the views. You can either hike to the top and back, or you can do the full loop for even more views.

Perris, CA - 5 miles, Moderate

Dawn Mine Trail Hike

Dawn Mine Trail Hike

The Dawn Mine Trail hike takes you on a loop through history and beauty. You’ll see the old abandoned Dawn Mine, enjoy a cool swing installed there, and then retrace your way back along the Mt Lowe railway. But more than that, it’s a beautiful hike. You hug ridges with expansive views, you hike along a lush canyon stream, and then you descend along the ridge and soak in a vista that includes LA and the Verdugo Mountains. And there’s just enough climbing to make it a decent workout.

Altadena, CA - 6 miles, Moderate

Mt Hillyer Trail Hike

Mt Hillyer Trail Hike

The Mt Hillyer Trail hike takes you on a mellow summit loop through a little-hiked area of Angeles National Forest. The climb isn’t tough, the distance isn’t extreme, and that’s part of why it’s great. You’ll hike through the old stomping ground of 1860s horse bandits, complete with a hidden pasture and boulder hideout. And at the summit of Mt Hillyer, you’re rewarded with sweeping views of the eastern San Gabriels. Oh, and there are two different summits with two different views. So you got that going for you, which is nice.

Chilao Campground, CA - 6.5 miles, Moderate

Mount Pinos Trail and Sawmill Mountain Hike Guide

Mount Pinos Trail and Sawmill Mountain Hike Guide

This two-peak hike is incredibly beautiful. First, you bag Mount Pinos, the highest point in Ventura County at 8847 ft. The Mount Pinos Trail is wide, shady, and pleasant. The real fun starts as you continue to Sawmill Mountain, the highest point in Kern County, at 8822ft. You’ll pass a condor observation point, enter the rugged Chumash Wilderness, and then enjoy sweeping views and a huge cairn on Sawmill Mountain. The hike is challenging, but it’s not a big mountain expedition; most folks can do this hike without much fuss.

Frazier Park, CA - 8 miles, Moderate

Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat

Mt Zion Loop Hike From Chantry Flat

The Mt Zion loop hike is a great option for those that have hiked from Chantry Flat before, maybe to Mt Wilson, but want something a little more off the beaten path. On this loop, I’ll take you on the Upper Gabrielino Trail, then on the historic Mt Zion Trail, built in 1896 and once the main trail into the area, then up to Mt Zion for panoramic views, and finally back to the start on the Upper Winter Creek Trail. And while there might be crowds on the nearby trails, this loop route on Angeles National Forest’s secondary trails offers peace and tranquility.

Arcadia, CA - 9 miles, Hard

Mt Hawkins Loop Hike (Hawkins, Middle, and South Mount Hawkins)

Mt Hawkins Loop Hike (Hawkins, Middle, and South Mount Hawkins)

This challenging and lightly-trodden loop hike offers three summits along the route: Mt Hawkins, Middle Hawkins, and South Mount Hawkins. The hike offers sweeping views of the peaks of Angeles National Forest, an interesting history, beautiful trails, a long descent down Hawkins Ridge, and three different peaks to bag from the Sierra Club’s 100 Peaks list. Escape the crowds on the nearby peaks and give the Mt Hawkins loop a try.

Irwindale, CA - 13 miles, Hard

Dry Lake (San Gorgonio) From The South Fork Trail

Dry Lake (San Gorgonio) From The South Fork Trail

Dry Lake, nestled in the shadow of San Gorgonio Mountain, is a beautiful day hike or overnight camping destination. This hiking guide to Dry Lake takes the scenic South Fork Trail, which is well maintained with gradual slopes. And despite being called Dry Lake, it often has water in it, making for a pristine alpine oasis in the mountains of Southern California.

Angelus Oaks, CA - 11.5 miles, Hard

Black Mountain Trail to the Fire Lookout (Idyllwild, CA)

Black Mountain Trail to the Fire Lookout (Idyllwild, CA)

Located just outside of Idyllwild, CA in San Bernardino National Forest, the Black Mountain Trail hike to the fire lookout is a hidden gem. Often overshadowed by hikes like Tahquitz, it offers a healthy mountain climb, great panoramic views, a fire lookout, AND a secret grove of Giant Sequoia trees. You heard that correctly.

Banning, CA - 8 miles, Hard

Vital Link Trail to Verdugo Peak Hike

Vital Link Trail to Verdugo Peak Hike

The Verdugo Mountains, often overshadowed by their bigger neighbors, offer great hiking and trails right in the middle of LA. This hike on the popular Vital Link Trail takes you to the highest point in the range, Verdugo Peak. The Vital Link Trail is a tough one, but you’re rewarded along the way with panoramic views from the ocean to the San Gabriels. And the Burbank trailhead makes it convenient to most of LA.

Burbank, CA - 6 miles, Hard

5 Best Hikes With Dogs in Los Angeles

5 Best Hikes With Dogs in Los Angeles

LA is a dog hiker’s paradise, with tons of great trails open for four-legged hikers. Here are my top 5 best hikes with dogs in Los Angeles, complete with why they are so great. I also have a big list of dozens of dog friendly hikes on my LA hikes page here. As a general rule in LA, federal parks and lands allow dogs, local and county parks allow dogs, but state parks do not.

Millard Canyon Falls Hike

Millard Canyon Falls Hike

Close to civilization but a world away, the short and shady Millard Canyon Falls hike follows a lush riparian habitat to a spectacular waterfall. The hike starts on a gradual downhill offering views into the foothills of Angeles National Forest, then heads through Millard Trail Camp and up through a richly biodiverse area to the fifty-foot waterfall. A shorter option cuts the hike down to about a mile and a half. It’s an excellent hike for families and those wanting a quick outdoor fix without a long trip into the forest.

Altadena, CA - 2.8 miles, Easy

Temescal Canyon Hike

Temescal Canyon Hike

The Temescal Canyon hike, tucked into the hills of LA’s west side in the Pacific Palisades, is one of the great Los Angeles city hikes. The hike starts in serene Temescal Gateway Park, climbs up a shaded oak and sycamore canyon, and then returns along a ridge high above the Pacific Ocean. On a clear day you can see from the San Gabriel Mountains to Catalina. The trail is easy to follow, the route isn’t long, and I highly recommend it.

Pacific Palisades, CA - 3.2 miles, Moderate

Potato Mountain Hike (Angeles National Forest)

Potato Mountain Hike (Angeles National Forest)

For a quick mountain fix without driving into the mountains, try the Potato Mountain hike, right at the beginning of Angeles National Forest. It’s a moderate climb through some beautiful oak forests. The hike ends at the Potato Mountain summit, which offers views of the high peaks in Angeles NF, including Mt Baldy. And of course, there are the potatoes that everyone decorates and brings to the summit. It’s a fun hike that especially great for beginners who want to train or get a taste for the bigger mountain peaks.

Claremont, CA - 4.5 miles, Moderate

Hike the Etiwanda Falls Trail

Hike the Etiwanda Falls Trail

The Etiwanda Falls Trail hike feels like you’re a world away from the nearby LA suburbs. Starting in North Etiwanda Preserve, you gently hike up through the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, with glimpses of the prominent mountain peaks along the way. After a short 1.6 miles, you’ll reach Etiwanda Falls, tucked into a shady canyon. The trail is easy to follow, the workout is good, and the scenery is beautiful.

Rancho Cucamonga, CA - 3.5 miles, Moderate

Lake Hollywood Reservoir Hike

Lake Hollywood Reservoir Hike

The Lake Hollywood Reservoir hike feels more like a stroll around a mountain lake than a hike in the middle of Hollywood. Just minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the city, this quiet lakeside hike is easy, serene, full of wildlife, and of course, offers great views of the iconic Hollywood Sign. It’s a great hike for beginners, those wanting to see the Hollywood Sign, or anyone wanting some peace and quiet from the city.

Los Angeles, CA - 3.5 miles, Easy

Wisdom Tree Hike (+ Cahuenga Peak and Hollywood Sign)

Wisdom Tree Hike (+ Cahuenga Peak and Hollywood Sign)

The Wisdom Tree hike, one of the most popular in Los Angeles, offers a lot of bang for your hiking buck, right in the middle of Hollywood. The Wisdom Tree, the only tree to survive the 2007 Barham fire and a source of inspiration thousands, sits atop Burbank Peak, the highest peak at the end of Griffith Park. From the top you’ll be able to soak in not only the good vibes of the Wisdom Tree but also sweeping views of LA and the mountains surrounding it. The hike is short but steep and is doable by most everyone.

Los Angeles, CA - 1.8 miles, Moderate

Hike Mt Islip From Crystal Lake

Hike Mt Islip From Crystal Lake

Tucked into Angeles National Forest away from the crowds, this loop hike to Mt Islip from Crystal Lake offers a little bit of everything in a very doable package. Starting at one of the only natural lakes in Angeles National Forest, Crystal Lake, the hike follows well-marked trails, offers spectacular views, and summits Mt Islip at 8,250 ft. After soaking in the sweeping views from Catalina to the Mojave, you have a long, gradual downhill cruise back to the Crystal Lake Recreation Area.

Azuza, CA - 10.5 miles, Hard

Gabrielino Trail (NRT) Guide

Gabrielino Trail (NRT) Guide

Stretching 28.8 miles through the heart of Angeles National Forest, the Gabrielino Trail covers not only some of the most popular areas, but also some of the most remote. And not only is it a beautiful hike, but it’s also got historical significance. The Gabrielino Trail was chosen as  the nation’s first National Recreation Trail (NRT) in 1970 because it “represents its region, supports a diverse community, and is among Americas best trails.” Some sections of the Gabrielino Trail were in sad shape (and impassable) until August 2018 when local mountain bikers led a restoration effort that reopened this iconic trail once again. Today you can enjoy the Gabrielino Trail as a backpacking trip or an ambitious day hike. Keep reading for all the details.

Arcadia, CA - 28.8 miles, Hard

Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail Hike

Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail Hike

Tucked into the foothills around Idyllwild, the Ernie Maxwell Scenic Trail offers backcountry beauty without heading into the big mountains. This family-friendly hike is easy to follow, has a gentle climb, and offers lots of shade. Even though you’re right next to a residential area, you’ll feel like you’re miles away as you hike through the forest.

Idyllwild, CA - 5.2 miles, Easy

Hike San Bernardino East Peak From Forsee Creek Trail

Hike San Bernardino East Peak From Forsee Creek Trail

Get away from the crowds on this San Bernardino East Peak hike that climbs up the Forsee Creek Trail, meanders along the breathtaking Bernardino Peak Divide Trail, then heads back to the start on the primitive and secluded John’s Meadow Trail. It’s a tough hike with a fair amount of climbing, but the scenery and ruggedness of the San Gorgonio Wilderness make it well worth it. I usually do this as a loop hike in a day, but there are several camping options if you want to make it an overnighter.

Angelus Oaks, CA - 18 miles, Hard

Hike Mt Waterman & Twin Peaks

Hike Mt Waterman & Twin Peaks

A hike to Mt Waterman and the Twin Peaks offers rugged and remote beauty, well-groomed trails, panoramic views of the major summits in Angeles National Forest, and an absence of major crowds. This guide shows you how to do the popular 11.5 mile “reverse lollipop” route to Twin Peaks and then back over Mt Waterman, but you can also just do a shorter 5.5 mile hike to Mt Waterman and get a taste of the beauty of the area. If you have the time, I highly recommend the longer hike. It’s a bit of a workout with a lot of up-and-down, but the summit of Twin Peak East is a great one.

Pearblossom, CA - 11.5 miles, Hard

Tahquitz Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail Hike

Tahquitz Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail Hike

The Tahquitz Peak via Devil’s Slide Trail hike is one of the most popular hikes in the San Jacinto area for a reason. The scenery and views are incredible, the trails are in excellent condition and are well-marked, and the summit includes a visit to the highest fire lookout in San Bernardino National Forest at 8,846 feet. Because of its popularity, there are times when you need to apply for a permit and other times that you don’t. I’ll explain it all in the guide.

Idyllwild, CA - 8.5 miles, Hard

Switzer Falls Hike

Switzer Falls Hike

The Switzer Falls hike is so much more than just a waterfall. In about 2 miles the trail to Switzer Falls takes you along a babbling brook, through historic ruins, on the side of a spectacular gorge, and then finally, to a pristine waterfall. Although I’ve listed the Switzer Falls hike as moderate because there’s a bit of climbing, overall it’s a very doable hike that offers many rewards for a small effort. It’s also a popular hike so it’s best done very early before the crowds show up.

Altadena, CA - 4 miles, Moderate

Strawberry Peak Hike

Strawberry Peak Hike

This Strawberry Peak hike offers a ton of great scenery in a relatively short distance. You wind around a ridge on Mt Lawlor with spectacular views, then do a short but tough climb to Strawberry Peak, the highest point in the front range of the San Gabriels at 6,164ft. You’ll earn great views of LA, Mt Wilson, and Mt Baldy. It’s a fun hike on its own, but even more attractive if you want to get a mountain climb in to build confidence for the higher peaks in the area.

Azusa, CA - 7.2 miles, Moderate

Deep Creek Hot Springs Hike

Deep Creek Hot Springs Hike

Unlike the route from Bowen Ranch, this Deep Creek Hot Springs hike takes you on the free and less-traveled Bradford Ridge Path to the popular hot springs. The hike along the Bradford Ridge Path is a treat in itself, winding its way along lush valleys tucked into the pristine wilderness of San Bernardino National Forest until it joins the PCT, where you hike above Deep Creek. And then, of course, you arrive Deep Creek Hot Springs, a series of jacuzzi-temperature pools next to the river. The scene at Deep Creek Hot Springs can be interesting, to say the least, but plan your trip right and you can enjoy a beautiful hike and a nice soak without any craziness.

Lake Arrowhead, CA - 5.6 miles, Moderate

Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail Hike

Lake Arrowhead Pinnacles Trail Hike

Feeling more like Joshua Tree than Lake Arrowhead, this short but tough hike to the summit of The Pinnacles rewards you with a stone perch where you can soak in 360-degree views from the mountains to the Mojave. The hike ascends through a granite boulder field to a small plateau, then after a last mild scramble to the boulder-pile summit, you reach The Pinnacles peak. It’s a fun hike that’s a bit off the beaten path; don’t be surprised if you have the whole place to yourself.

Hesperia, CA - 4 miles, Moderate

Mt Wilson Trail Hike

Mt Wilson Trail Hike

The Mt Wilson Trail is the oldest route to the summit to Mt Wilson. Unlike the popular route to Mt Wilson from Chantry Flat, the Mt Wilson Trail is mellow and lacks the crowds and kids looking for the waterfall. The Mt Wilson Trail offers beautiful views as it ascends the side of Little Santa Anita Canyon, and being the oldest trail, offers some historical landmarks as well. If you’ve only hiked Mt Wilson from Chantry Flat, I highly recommend giving this route a try too.

Sierra Madre, CA - 14.5 miles, Hard

Devil’s Chair Hike (Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area)

Devil’s Chair Hike (Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area)

The unique geology on the Devil’s Chair hike make it one of the most beautiful hikes in the area. The hike is in Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area, which is a transition zone between the Mojave Desert and San Gabriel Mountains. It’s also on the San Andreas and Punchbowl Faults  And this easy/moderate hike ends on a dramatic rock perch called the Devil’s Chair, offering spectacular views of the colorful geology and fauna around you.

Pearblossom, CA - 7.5 miles, Moderate

Marshall Canyon Trail

Marshall Canyon Trail

Tucked into the suburban sprawl of Los Angeles, the Marshall Canyon Trail hike offers a shaded oasis along Marshall Creek. The hike climbs into the foothills Marshall Canyon Regional Park, does a lollipop-loop with great views, and then descends back along Marshall Creek. This hike offers a little bit of everything: moderate distance, reasonable climbing, and lots of scenery. Keep your eyes open for deer and wildlife that are using the creek to hydrate. This route takes you about 10.5 miles, but there are opportunities to cut the distance and climbing down with a simple out-back turnaround. It’s a great trail for beginners looking to get some distance in without super-tough conditions, and also a great options for experienced hikers who want a change of scenery.

La Verne, CA - 10.5 miles, Moderate

Big Horn Mine Trail Hike

Big Horn Mine Trail Hike

The hike to Big Horn Mine is a fun and relatively easy way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Angeles National Forest without a major effort. The trail to Big Horn Mine winds it’s way along the side of a mountain, eventually arriving at the abandoned mine, where you can explore a historic structure from 1895 and grab some iconic photos (with Mt Baldy in the background).

Valyermo, CA - 4 miles, Easy

Hike Mt Lukens From Deukmejian Wilderness Park

Hike Mt Lukens From Deukmejian Wilderness Park

The hike to Mt Lukens, the highest point in the city of LA at 5,066 feet, is a fun one that doesn’t get as much traffic as other more popular Southern California hikes. It’s a tough 10 mile loop with almost 3,000 feet of total ascent, and you’re rewarded with great views and pristine wilderness, all within the city of LA.

La Crescenta, CA - 10 miles, Hard

Bridge to Nowhere Hike

Bridge to Nowhere Hike

The 6 hour, 10.5 mile Bridge to Nowhere hike in the San Gabriel Mountains is one those hikes that you have to do at least once in your life. As the name suggests, you hike along the San Gabriel River in the beautiful Sheep Mountain Wilderness for about 5 miles, and then, out of nowhere, there’s a huge, 120-foot high bridge! The hike is fun, especially on a hot summer day, because there are plenty of stream crossings and water holes to cool off in. It’s a classic Southern California hike that every local knows about, so give it a try.

La Verne, CA - 10.5 miles, Moderate

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Hike To Mt San Jacinto

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Hike To Mt San Jacinto

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Hike to Mt San Jacinto is a great way to bag Southern California’s second highest peak without putting in a huge effort. It’s still a tough 11 mile hike, but it’s nothing like climbing to Mt San Jacinto from Palm Springs or Idyllwild. The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway cuts about 6,000 feet of climbing off the hike, and offers a nice base station where you can grab a snack after your successful summit. The summit of Mt San Jacinto is one of my favorites because it straddles the line between Coastal California and the Sonoran Desert, allowing you to see the transition between the two. On a clear day you’ll see from the Pacific Ocean to Mount Charleston in Las Vegas. A really fun and insanely beautiful hike.

Palm Springs, CA - 11 miles, Hard

Hiking on Catalina Island to Parsons Landing Campsite

Hiking on Catalina Island to Parsons Landing Campsite

Hiking on Catalina Island offers some beautiful options, but I think the hike to and overnight at Parsons Landing campsite is the best. Parsons Landing campsite sits on a secluded beach, with the sounds of the waves as your camping soundtrack. There are only 8 campsites, the hike is not too tough, and the scenery is breathtaking. Do it. Do it. Do it.

Avalon, CA - 15.2 miles, Easy

Hike the Pumpkin Rock Trail

Hike the Pumpkin Rock Trail

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 hike is easy but the trails to Pumpkin Rock can be confusing — this guide gives you the main route up, complete with parking and bathrooms.

Norco, CA - 1.2 miles, Easy

Cactus to Clouds Hike

Cactus to Clouds Hike

The Cactus to Clouds hike is epic. It was rated one of the hardest day hikes in the world by Backpack Magazine. You start in downtown Palm Springs and climb over 10,000 feet to the summit of Mt San Jacinto, 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, and only under the right conditions. This guide gives you all the info you need to do this incredible hike safely.

Palm Springs, CA - 21 miles, Very Hard

Hike Mt Baldy on the Bear Canyon Trail

Hike Mt Baldy on the Bear Canyon Trail

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 leaves from Mt Baldy Village on it’s way to the summit. Unlike the main hike up Mt Baldy (via Baldy Notch), the Bear Canyon Trail is usually not as crowded. That’s because it’s harder. It climbs 5740 feet in 6 miles. There are sections that are very steep. It’d doable with a decent level of fitness. This hike is a good choice for those who have hiked Mt Baldy from Manker Flats and now want to do it again, without all the hub-bub.

Mt Baldy, CA - 13 miles, Very Hard

Hike the Three T’s Trail

Hike the Three T’s Trail

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 (elevation 8,303ft), Telegraph Peak (elevation 8,985ft), and Thunder Mountain (elevation 8,587ft), 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.

Mt Baldy, CA - 16 miles, Hard

Echo Mountain Hike on the Sam Merrill Trail

Echo Mountain Hike on the Sam Merrill Trail

The Echo Mountain hike packs a lot of bang for the buck. You’ll hike up the Sam Merrill Trail, which follows the old Mt Lowe railway route up to Echo Mountain, where you can see the old ruins of the Echo Mountain mountain resort. USA Today included the Echo Mountain hike as one of the “10 Great North American Hikes” and Sunset Magazine called it one of the top 45 hikes in the west. The hike is easy to follow, has an interesting history, offers great views, is a good workout, and is close to LA. Overall it’s a win.

Altadena, CA - 5.4 miles, Hard

San Gorgonio Hike

San Gorgonio Hike

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, and 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.

Forest Falls, CA - 18.5 miles, Very Hard

San Bernardino Peak Hike

San Bernardino Peak Hike

The San Bernardino Peak (10,649 feet) hike is tough but rewarding. The San Bernardino Mountains were named after San Bernardino Peak, which was named by one of the pioneer friars in California, Francisco Dumetz in 1835. I like this hike a lot. The crowds are light, the fauna is beautiful, and it offers sweeping views of Mt Baldy, Mt San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, Big Bear Lake, and the Inland Empire.Planning for the San Bernardino Peak Hike

Angelus Oaks, CA - 16 miles, Hard

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak

Hike Ontario Peak and Bighorn Peak

If you want a great Angeles National Forest mountain hike without the crowds, hike Ontario Peak (8,696 ft) and Bighorn Peak. The hike begins on the popular Icehouse Canyon trail but soon moves off to the much less traveled Ontario Peak Trail, where you might see more bighorn sheep than people. The Ontario Peak Trail roughly follows a ridge line, offering great views culminating in the “rock nest” summit of Ontario Peak. There’s also a short spur trip to Bighorn Peak, because, why not? This is a tough hike but worth the effort–one of my favorites.

Mt Baldy, CA - 14.7 miles, Hard

Cucamonga Peak Hike

Cucamonga Peak Hike

With one of the coolest summits in the San Gabriel Mountains, the Cucamonga Peak hike is a favorite. Cucamonga Peak, at 8,862 feet, has spectacular views of the LA sprawl, the desert, and surrounding peaks. The climb is tough but not brutal, the scenery and views are awesome, and the crowds aren’t as bad as Mount Baldy. You might even see some bighorn sheep!

Mt Baldy, CA - 12 miles, Hard

Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat

Mt Wilson Hike From Chantry Flat

Mt Wilson, at 5,712 feet, is the peak with all the radio towers that sits behind the LA skyline. It’s not the tallest peak in LA, but it’s a great hike with a fun summit. Multiple hiking trails ascend Mt Wilson. This hike starts at Chantry Flat, which gives you a gentler climb to the Mt Wilson summit, a trailhead store, bathrooms, and great views of LA on the way down. It’s a fun hike and a good long hike for beginners.

Sierra Madre, CA - 14.5 miles, Hard

Mt Baldy Hike

Mt Baldy Hike

This 11 mile Mt Baldy hike brings you to the highest point in LA at 10,064 feet. With almost 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. There are a few ways to hike Mt Baldy, and this guide takes you on the most popular route.

Mt Baldy, CA - 11 miles, Hard

Mount Baden-Powell Hike

Mount Baden-Powell Hike

The Mount Baden-Powell hike packs a lot into a relatively short distance. On your way to the summit of Mt Baden-Powell (9,399 feet), you’ll experience the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) where you can channel your inner Reese Witherspoon, 40 hardcore switchbacks, a monument for Mt Baden-Powell’s namesake, Lord Baden-Powell, they guy who founded the Boy Scouts, a barren saddle with jaw-dropping views, and a 1500-year old limber pine. And at the summit you’ll enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the San Gabriel Mountains. So you got all that going for you if you do the hike. It’s tough but very doable, I highly recommend it.

Vincent Gap, CA - 8.3 miles, Hard

Kenneth Hahn Park Hike

Kenneth Hahn Park Hike

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.

Los Angeles, CA - 2.4 miles, Easy

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Hike

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Hike

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook hike offers views and quick hiking fix in the middle of LA. The trail to the summit goes up switchbacks that climb a tough 300 feet in about a mile, making it also a popular workout spot. If you want to skip the switchbacks and just punish yourself, you can hike up all 282 steps of the Culver City Stairs. Or you can just take the stairs on the descent. This hike takes the more scenic switchback route to the top of Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, where you’ll get sweeping views of LA, the Hollywood Hills, the Pacific Ocean, and the San Gabriel Mountains. It’s a fun hike to hit right in the middle of LA, and great training for the tougher peaks that you tackle on the weekend.

Los Angeles, CA - 2.3 miles, Moderate

Runyon Canyon Hike Guide

Runyon Canyon Hike Guide

Runyon Canyon is a fun hike tucked right into the middle of Hollywood. It’s a great place to see celebrities, view the Hollywood Sign (in the distance), visit a hidden sculpture, and get a good hike in. In fact, Runyon will give you sweeping views from Catalina Island to the Santa Monica Mountains on a clear day. There are crowds here, so don’t come expecting a pristine hiking experience. Runyon Canyon won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and is worth hiking at least once.

Los Angeles, CA - 3.5 miles, Moderate

The Easy Hollywood Sign Hike

The Easy Hollywood Sign Hike

The Hollywood Sign hike is one of those iconic hikes that you need to do at least once in your life. It’s a popular hike, but also beautiful. On your way to the Hollywood Sign (actually, you end up right behind and above it), you enjoy the natural wonders of the urban oasis called Griffith Park, one of the largest urban parks in America.

Los Angeles, CA - 6 miles, Moderate