10 Best Hikes in Los Angeles (For All Levels!)

Los Angeles is known for its glitz and glamour, but an often overlooked feature of this sprawling city is all the incredible LA hiking trails the cities offer!

A hike in the westside of L.A. will bring you near the city’s beautiful beaches that stretch for miles alongside the vast Pacific Ocean.

Meanwhile, a hike in northern L.A. will elevate you atop the rolling hills or peaks of the Santa Monica or San Gabriel Mountains. 

Hiking in L.A. is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors and spend a quiet afternoon away from the bustling metropolis. 

Where to Hike in Los Angeles

While there are hundreds of incredible trails throughout the Angeles National Forest, most of them require preparation, advanced skill, and plenty of time to hike.

A drive to the Forest from central L.A. can take up to two hours (that L.A. traffic is no joke!), so to save you on travel and preparation time, check out 10 of the best hikes in Los Angeles County listed below. 

These hikes are an ideal way to spend your morning or afternoon, and most can be completed by beginners! 

Notes and Tips on Hiking in Los Angeles

  • The climate is mostly hot and dry, and most hiking trails offer little shade—always bring enough water and food, and wear sun protection.
  • The temperatures are the highest during July to September—plan your hike for the early morning if you are hiking during these months to avoid getting caught in the summer heat.
  • If you are hiking during the spring, fall, or winter season, bring a light waterproof and windproof jacket in the off chance you get caught in rainfall or the gales of the “Santa Ana winds” (the extremely dry, strong, and often hot winds that originate from the east and typically occur in late summer and early fall).
  • It’s normal to encounter wildlife during a hike, such as snakes or coyotes. It can be alarming to be in close proximity to a wild animal if you’re not used to being in nature. Don’t panic or make any sudden movements or sounds that may disturb the animal. Always keep your eyes open and maintain your distance from animals—they will not attack unless you bother them.  
  • If there’s been rainfall, wait at least a few days to allow the land to dry. In L.A., parks often close the day after it rains because the trails are muddy and unsafe to hike on. Always check the park’s website first before heading out to the trail.
  • Stay on the official, marked paths of trails and don’t leave trash behind. This goes for organic waste too, like fruit peels or cores, as well as anything your four-legged friend may leave behind!
  • These Los Angeles hikes can be completed with comfortable and supportive walking shoes, ideally ones with durable outsole grips that have good traction as this will prevent you from slipping and falling when hiking up or down steeper slopes. Hiking boots aren’t necessary, but they may make your hike more comfortable.
  • Before embarking on your trek, review the trail map to avoid getting lost (typically located at the trailhead or check online — alltrails.com is a great resource).
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The Best Hikes in Los Angeles County

Kenneth Hahn Park Hike

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View from up on a hill of a large, sprawling cityscape on a clear blue sky day.

Distance: 2 miles 

Difficulty: Easy

This west L.A. hike is perfect for the family as the trail is well marked and does not include many steep slopes. This trail will loop around the perimeter of Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area where you’ll witness spectacular views of Downtown Los Angeles. 

At the beginning of this Los Angeles hike, you will see the peaceful Doris Japanese Garden and pass through a charming red footbridge and a pond with water lilies and koi fish — it’s a great place to spend some time before or after a hike.

Address: 4100 South La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90056

View park information here.

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook / Culver City Stairs

Yellow wildflowers in the foreground, looking over a road, and in the distance there is a city skyline and the ocean off in the horizon line.

Distance: 2.3 miles (switchbacks) / 0.18 miles (stairs)

Difficulty: Medium (switchbacks) / Hard (stairs)

The Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook boasts panoramic views of the skyline from west L.A.  There are two options for hiking to the peak of Baldwin Hills.

For the scenic switchback route, make sure to turn left before the stairs and follow the dirt path as it zig-zags up the hill. 

If you’re seeking a challenge, head straight up the Culver City Stairs and conquer 282 steps worth of a steep incline. Either way, you’ll reach the peak where you can take a break and soak in the breathtaking city views. 

Address: 6019 Jefferson Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

View park information here.

Temescal Canyon

Views of Temescal Canyon, a popular LA hiking destination: green rugged hills with the cityscape small in the distant background on a sunny day.

Distance: 3.2 miles

Difficulty: Medium

Located north of Santa Monica is Temescal Canyon Park where you’ll hike through lush terrain (perfect for a hot day when you need some shade) and make your way along an elevated ridgeline for sweeping views of the coast and the Pacific Ocean. 

After roughly a mile into this popular LA hike, you’ll encounter a bridge that passes over one of the trail’s main features, the Temescal Canyon Falls.

Tip: The waterfall is best viewed at least a couple days after rainfall!

Address: 15601 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

View park information here.

Wisdom Tree Hike

One lone tree up on a hill with the LA city and some mountains in the distance on a sunny day.

Distance: 1.8 miles

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

Situated in Hollywood is the Wisdom Tree hike to Burbank Peak, which is popular for its scenic view of the lone-standing “Wisdom Tree” and its surrounding cityscape.

Although this Los Angeles hike is quite tough, with a steep and rocky incline throughout most of the trail, the stunning sights at the summit are worth the challenge.

The route type is out-and-back, so it’s easy enough to go down the way you hiked up. 

Address: Lake Hollywood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068

View park information here.

Runyon Canyon Hike

African American woman with her arms spread out, celebrating reaching the summit of this LA hike as the sun sets over the city.

Distance: 3.5 miles

Difficulty: Medium

An iconic Los Angeles hike nestled in Hollywood, Runyon Canyon attracts locals, tourists, and celebrities alike.

Although the hike tends to be more crowded, it’s a short and fun hike that includes a balanced mix of inclines and declines.

Once you complete the steepest climb of the hike near the beginning of the trail, you’ll be able to see downtown L.A., the Hollywood Sign, and the Griffith Observatory in the distance. 

Tip: Arrive early and ideally on a weekday when it’s less busy since there is limited street parking.

Address: 2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90046

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View park information here.

Lake Hollywood Reservoir

Still, glassy water in the reservoir reflecting the partly cloudy sky above, with some trees on the sides of the lake.

Distance: 3.5 miles

Difficulty: Easy

The trail around Lake Hollywood Reservoir is ideal for beginner hikers and families. Most of the trail is paved and loops around two bodies of water: Lake Hollywood and the Hollywood Reservoir. 

Enjoy the lake, foliage, and close-up views of the Hollywood sign throughout your hike!

Address: Lake Hollywood North Gate, Lake Hollywood Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068

View park information here.

Hollywood Sign Hike

A blond woman in black athletic clothing celebrates reaching the top of the Hollywood sign, with her arms up in the air, the sign below her and the city as well.

Distance: 6.5 miles

Difficulty: Medium

Whether you reside in or are a visitor of L.A., the hike to the Hollywood Sign is a must. The hike will take you up 1,709 feet in elevation where you can stand directly behind the sign and look out at the beautiful views of the city and mountains.

The trail is steep at some parts of the hike, but you’ll be rewarded with plentiful views throughout the ascent that will make the climb worth it!

Address: 3200 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068

View park information here.

Bronson Caves and Canyon, Griffith Park 

A large road with a small cave located in a reddish-brown rocky hill, seen from the movie "Batman"

Distance: 0.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

If you’ve seen the 1960’s Batman TV series, you might recognize the Bronson Caves as it was filmed as the entrance to the Batcave. And yes, you can walk through the 50-foot long cave!

Since the hike to the caves is short, combine it with a nearby LA hike like the Hollywood Sign Hike. You can also snap great photos of you with the Hollywood sign above you — it’s a perfect Instagram spot in LA!

Address: 3200 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068

View park information here.

Fryman Canyon Trail, Wilacre Park

Brilliant green grass and plant life over the view of the city below it in the distance on a popular Los Angeles hike.

Distance: 2.6 miles

Difficulty: Easy

The Fryman Canyon Trail will take you through woodland and wild flowers and present you with expansive views of the valley.

This Los Angeles hiking trail is ideal for when you want to go for a quick and less strenuous hike — but still want beautiful views!

Address: Fryman Trailhead, Briarcrest Fire Rd, Studio City, CA 91604

View park information here.

Franklin Canyon Site Trail, Franklin Canyon Park

Tall reedy grass surrounding a small pond or lake, with trees and other plant life around it, on a cloudy day.

Distance: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

The Franklin Canyon trail is an ideal Los Angeles hike for beginners. The trail loops around a lake and pond where you are likely to see wildlife.

If you’re looking to spend a quiet afternoon surrounded by nature, this hike is the perfect getaway from the noise of the city!

Address: 2637 Upper Franklin Canyon Dr Trail, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

View park information here.

What to Pack for These LA Hikes

If you’re new to hiking, there are a few things you should remember to pack in a day bag every time you go out for a hike!

Small Backpack: A small but sturdy backpack, preferably with shoulder strap support, is the best choice to holding all the gear you need for a day hike.

Water: Bring plenty of water in a reusable bottle for any shorter hikes. If you plan to fill up from any creeks or streams along the way, you’ll definitely want a water filter/water bottle set-up, I recommend the GRAYL Geopress which filters out more than 99.9% of viruses, bacteria, particles, and nasty microplastics just like magic!

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Snacks: None of these LA hikes are particularly intense, but you should have some snacks just in case you get hungry or you feel your blood sugar dropping. I recommend protein bars, nuts, or other high-density snacks that give you a lot of energy for their weight.

First aid kit: You’ll want to pack a small kit with the things you need — but in my opinion, it’s better to buy a pre-made first aid kit as it’ll likely cover things you might forget, like ACE bandages, etc. I recommend this HART Weekend First Aid kit. Just keep it in your day bag for every time you venture out on a hike — you hopefully won’t have to use it, but if you ever do, you’ll be happy you have it!

Weather appropriate gear: Pack in thin, breathable layers. For cold weather hiking (not that you get much of it in LA, but still!), it’s easier to modulate temperature if you have one thin thermal, one long-sleeve or sweater, and one outer layer, rather than having one thick jacket. For summer hiking, even if it seems like it’ll be hot, bring a thin outer layer to cover you in case clouds roll in or elevation makes things cooler.

Rain gear: It’s great to have a thin, lightweight rain poncho like this one in your hiking bag just in case the weather turns sour while you’re out

Headlamp (and extra batteries): If you do a sunset hike, you’ll definitely want to pack a headlamp and some spare batteries to go with them. This Petzl headlamp is highly-rated and affordable.

Sunscreen: Wear this no matter what — even on a cloudy day!

Sunglasses: Necessary on trails with lots of exposed path.

Sunhat: To keep sun off your face – I recommend a packable hat like this one which has a strap so it won’t blow off in guests of wind and you can easily wear it on your back when you don’t feel like wearing it on your head.

Hiking boots or sneakers: For most people, a pair of sneakers with good traction will be fine for these hikes in Los Angeles. I love these cute Sorel sneakers, which are waterproof and great for handling mud and other obstacles (Sorel specializes in snowboots, so they’ve got traction down pat!)

If you hike in LA a lot, you’ll probably want proper hiking boots for the ankle support they offer. I own and love my pair of Ahnu Sugarpine hiking boots and recommend it for other women – especially if you have wide feet like I do! For men, I’ve heard good things about the KEEN Durand boot.

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