The City of Angels is notorious for its urban sprawl, but despite its undoubted city feel, L.A. is a treasure trove of parks and hiking trails. Escaping the city every once and a while to find solace in nature is always encouraged, and luckily, you don’t have to go very far to do that! There are so many amazing places to hike in L.A. — here are seven of my favorite spots to start exploring.
Griffith Park – Wisdom Tree
If you live in or around L.A., chances are you’ve hiked Griffith Park before. The park spans 4,310 acres of land, offering visitors a huge network of trails to explore and a host of sightseeing opportunities. Wisdom Tree in Griffith Park is a 3-mile, out-and-back hike that traverses some pretty rugged terrain. The result is worth it, though: the trail end offers stunning views of a lone tree overlooking the city below.
The Bridge to Nowhere
If you’re looking for a challenge, look no further than the Bridge to Nowhere, an architectural remnant of the 1930s. It spans the East Fork of the San Gabriel River by Mt. Baldy, so it’s about 1.5 hours outside of L.A proper. You’ll need a permit to hike here, which is free and accessible at any of the trailhead kiosks. Plan to be on the trail for at least six hours, and bring a swimsuit! Wading in the river will feel great after a long, strenuous hike.
Elysian Park is nestled in L.A.’s Echo Park neighborhood, right above Dodger Stadium. In the spring and summer, the hills are dotted with beautiful yellow wildflowers. Check out the West Loop Trail for a moderate hike and gorgeous views of Downtown L.A.
Eaton Canyon’s main attraction is its 40-foot waterfall, tumbling down into a pool that’s perfect for swimming in on a hot summer day. The trail to reach the waterfall is roughly 1.7 miles, making for a great little warm up before taking a dip.
Griffith Park Zoo
The Griffith Park Zoo was abandoned in 1966 and, well, just…left there. Nobody bothered to tear down the animal enclosures when the zoo shut down, so don’t be surprised when you stumble upon graffiti-splattered cages and empty lion dens on your hike! This trail isn’t too arduous, and it’s great for bringing kids along. For more of a challenge, keep climbing until you hit Bee Rock, and enjoy the views of the city.
Runyon Canyon is Hollywood’s beloved hiking trail, frequented by celebrities and common folk alike. It’s one of L.A.’s most popular trails, so expect some crowds, but it offers pretty amazing views of the surrounding hills and city.
Nestled in the Santa Monica mountains, Solstice Canyon offers up an easy hike alongside a creek and old, abandoned ruins. It’s a pretty wide, flat trail, and makes for a great family hike and picnic spot.