Hiking isn’t what comes to mind when you think of LA, but there are actually some awesome options if you are hiking LA. 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 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.
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.
|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||3.5||970||Moderate||Yes|
|Echo Mountain Hike||5.4||1500||Hard||Leashed|
|The Easy Hollywood Sign Hike||6||1000||Moderate||Leashed|
|Mount Baden-Powell Hike||8.3||2620||Hard||Yes|
|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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Hollywood Sign hike is one of those iconic hikes that you need to do at least once. Not only will you hike to the Hollywood Sign, but you’ll get some spectacular views of LA along the way.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.