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Los Angeles

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Overview

Exploring one of Los Angeles' many parks, open spaces, or surrounding National Forests continues to be one of the best ways to escape the most populous county in the U.S. Ranging from the coastal trails above Malibu stretching out toward Point Mugu State Park, to the city vistas above the Hollywood Hills in Griffith Park and the Griffith Observatory, there are lots of opportunities for easy and moderate hikes.

For the more experienced hiker or exercise fiend, the Santa Monica Mountains to the west or San Gabriel Mountains to the northeast are home to many challenging hikes like up and around Mount Wilson, along the Verdugo Crest Trail, or to the summit of Sandstone Peak. There's no shortage of elevation to gain with expansive, rewarding views along the way.

For hikes with historical or cultural significance, the Hollywood Sign has become a rite of passage, but the M*A*S*H relics at Malibu Creek State Park or ruins at Murphy Ranch are also worth the visit.

Easy hikes:

  • Eaton Falls
  • Sturtevant Falls
  • Arroyo Seco
  • Peter's Canyon Loop
  • Intermediate hikes:

  • Bridge to Nowhere - East Fork Trail #8W13
  • Top of the World Loop
  • Hollywood Sign and Bronson Caves
  • Filiorum & Portuguese Bend Loop
  • Difficult hikes:

  • Mount Wilson
  • Parker Mesa Overlook
  • San Antonio Falls - Sierra Club Ski Hut - Devil's Backbone
  • Inspiration Point - Murphy Ranch Out-and-Back
  • Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon
  • Local Info

    One of the beauties of trail running around L.A. is the ability to get beyond the crowds. Popular trails see visitors any day of the week, but many turn back after a few miles. With a little more mileage, you can find solitude. Not to mention, out in the winding, undulating hills, there is an extensive network of fire roads that can be combined with singletrack trails for epic outings or quick weeknight hits. But you should always expect some up and down along the way.

    Visiting Tips

    It should come as no surprise that running in L.A. can be hot and dry. With that in mind, always bring some water and sun protection, but also consider the non-summer months, like Spring and Fall, for some of the best times to get out, with summer warmth lasting into October, especially on the Eastside. February-April can be a great time for nice temps, blooming wildflowers, and spotting gray whales as they return north from their calving grounds off Baja and coastal western Mexico.

    Camping & Lodging

    You'll find lots of hike-in camping options throughout the San Gabriel Mountains. The Forest Service maintains most of these first-come, first-served sites like the Gould Mesa Trail Camp off the Gabrielino Trail (NRT) 11W14 or the Bear Canyon Campsite on the Bear Canyon Trail Camp hike from the Switzer Picnic Area.

    For drive-up campgrounds, check out the Manker Flats Campground near San Antonio Falls or the Chilao Campground near Big Tujunga Canyon and the Silver Moccasin Trail.

    Along the Malibu coastline in the Santa Monica Mountains, you can find established camping in one of these four state parks:
    • Leo Carrillo State Park: Hike and Bike ($10/person), Canyon Family ($45/night), Group Walk-In ($225/night)
    • Point Mugu State Park: Big Sycamore Canyon Hike/Bike ($10/person), Big Sycamore Canyon Family Camp ($45/night), and much more.
    • Malibu Creek State Park: Malibu Creek Family Campground ($45/night), Malibu Creek Group Camp Walk-In ($200/night)
    • Topanga State Park: Musch Camp Backcountry Hike-In ($7/person/night and $10/night parking fee)

    Food & Drink

    After a hike at Griffith Park, like the lesser-known Beacon Hill Loop, check out Proof Bakery for all your pastry and coffee needs. Or just down Eisenhurst Ave is The Village Bakery and Cafe for a casual lunch option. On the Westside, near Will Rogers State Park, the post-hike go-to is a Godmother sandwich from Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery.

    Other Activities

    Los Angeles is a cultural hub with endless arts, shopping, and food for the rare rainy day (February is the rainiest month) or, more likely, when the heat is just too much. After signing up with a TAP account, hop on a Metro Bike Share bike for a free 30-minute ride and find yourself in a new neighborhood with more to explore just around the corner.

    Maps & Guidebooks

    Check out onX Backcountry for the ultimate GPS navigation app.

    Gems in Los Angeles - 6

    Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Gems

    gem Favorite San Antonio Falls

    San Antonio Falls

    (10) Wrightwood, CA
    gem Favorite Los Angeles

    Griffith Observatory

    (8) Hollywood, CA
    gem Favorite Cooper Canyon Falls in late spring.

    Cooper Canyon Falls

    (9) Wrightwood, CA
    gem Favorite View from behind the sign overlooking Hollywood Reservoir.

    Hollywood Sign

    (8) Hollywo…, CA
    gem Favorite Black Star Waterfall (dry)

    Black Star Waterfall

    (2) Foothil…, CA
    gem Favorite Murphy Ranch

    Murphy Ranch

    (7) Santa M…, CA

    Recommended Routes in Los Angeles - 62

    Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Recommended Routes

    Favorite Sunset view from the lookout.
    Difficult

    Lookout Loop

    5.3 mi 8.5 km 562' Up 171.16 m Up 561' Down 171.05 m Down

    Villa Park, CA
    Favorite No Name Ridge.
    Intermediate

    Crystal Cove Loop

    9.7 mi 15.6 km 1,081' Up 329.55 m Up 1,081' Down 329.64 m Down

    San Joa…, CA
    Favorite The Sinks, OC's mini Grand Canyon, as seen from the Limestone Canyon Road.
    Intermediate

    Limestone Canyon Lollipop

    10.0 mi 16.0 km 799' Up 243.66 m Up 799' Down 243.47 m Down

    North T…, CA
    Favorite View from shaded rest area on Horseshoe Loop (from south side of park)
    Easy/Intermediate

    Irvine Regional Park Loop

    5.0 mi 8.1 km 267' Up 81.42 m Up 269' Down 81.97 m Down

    North T…, CA
    Favorite No Name Ridge.
    Intermediate

    El Moro Western Loop

    7.6 mi 12.3 km 1,077' Up 328.32 m Up 1,108' Down 337.67 m Down

    Laguna…, CA
    Favorite Cave rock at park entrance
    Intermediate

    Laurel Canyon Loop

    3.7 mi 5.9 km 607' Up 184.88 m Up 606' Down 184.81 m Down

    Aliso V…, CA
    Favorite Pacific Ocean from a crevice
    Intermediate/Difficult

    Portuguese Bend Loop

    2.8 mi 4.5 km 557' Up 169.86 m Up 558' Down 170.12 m Down

    Rolling…, CA
    Favorite Bizarre rock formations
    Intermediate

    Stagecoach South Intermediate Loop

    7.8 mi 12.6 km 958' Up 291.88 m Up 957' Down 291.78 m Down

    Laguna…, CA
    Favorite At intersection of Zote's & Jack's Hat trails
    Intermediate/Difficult

    Filiorum & Portuguese Bend Loop

    4.4 mi 7.1 km 752' Up 229.11 m Up 748' Down 227.92 m Down

    Rolling…, CA

    Los Angeles Running

    • 1,162 Miles 1,871 Kilometers of Trail
    • 62 Recommended Routes
    • 6 Gems Gems
    • 95 Easy Trails Easy Trails
    • 326 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
    • 47 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
    Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Share what you know about this area!

    Areas Within Los Angeles

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    Trails in Los Angeles - 406

    Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Trails

    4.2 mi 6.7 km #1Moro Canyon Trail
    Intermediate
    San Joaquin Hills, CA
    Intermediate
    San Joaquin Hills, CA
    1.3 mi 2.1 km #2Slow 'N Easy
    Intermediate
    San Joaquin Hills, CA
    Intermediate
    San Joaquin Hills, CA
    3.8 mi 6.1 km #3Bommer Ridge Road
    Intermediate
    San Joaquin Hills, CA
    Intermediate
    San Joaquin Hills, CA
    0.8 mi 1.3 km #4Aliso Creek Riding and Hiking Trail
    Easy
    Portola Hills, CA
    Easy
    Portola Hills, CA
    2.3 mi 3.7 km #5Trailer Canyon Fire Road
    Intermediate
    Topanga, CA
    Intermediate
    Topanga, CA
    1.6 mi 2.5 km #6Casiano Fire Road
    Intermediate
    Westwood, Los Angeles, CA
    Intermediate
    Westwood, Los Angeles, CA
    0.5 mi 0.9 km #7Garden Land Connector Trail
    Easy
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    Easy
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    0.6 mi 0.9 km #8Getty View Trail
    Easy
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    Easy
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    1.8 mi 2.9 km #9Oso Multi-Use Trail
    Difficult
    Mission Viejo, CA
    Difficult
    Mission Viejo, CA
    0.9 mi 1.5 km #10Deervale Trail
    Intermediate/Difficult
    Sherman Oaks, CA
    Intermediate/Difficult
    Sherman Oaks, CA

    Photos of Los Angeles - 1,109

    Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Photos

    Looking south from Griffith
    Mar 24, 2015 near Univers…, CA
    Summit of Mt. San Antonio facing south-east.
    Aug 5, 2015 near Wrightwood, CA
    Sunset at the Will Rogers trailhead
    Sep 23, 2015 near Santa M…, CA
    The gorgeous views from Mt. Lukens rarely disappoint.
    Jan 1, 2017 near La Cres…, CA
    A few minutes into an epic race!
    Apr 26, 2017 near Castaic, CA
    View of the Observatory with Down Town Los Angeles in the distance.
    Apr 22, 2019 near Hollywo…, CA
    Windswept trees just below the summit...
    May 20, 2019 near Wrightwood, CA
    Owing to its scenic views and easy network of trails, the Abalone Cove Shoreline Park is a popular place for visitors of all ages. The people will then out as you proceed further down the trails and away from the parking area.
    Apr 13, 2022 near Rancho…, CA