Hiking Los Angeles
Los Angeles may be known as a car-centric metro area, but want to know one of the town’s best-kept secrets? The awesome hiking trails throughout the city. Choose your adventure, Uber your way to the trailhead, and get started.
Here are our top picks for hikes—rated from easy to moderate—so you can enjoy them even if you’re not an experienced hiker:
Inspiration Point Trail, Santa Monica
Distance: 2.6 miles
Time: 60 – 80 minutes
Fee: $12 for parking, but you can take an Uber and avoid parking fees.
Head to Will Rogers State Historic Park in Santa Monica where this family-friendly hike begins just behind the former Rogers ranch house. After about a mile, you’ll see the turnoff for Inspiration Point and some spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Los Angeles Basin. After the hike, stroll around the park and explore what was once the private ranch of the old Hollywood star. There are docent-led tours of the house on weekends, and a visitor’s center with exhibits about Rogers’ life.
Eaton Canyon Falls Trail, Pasadena
Distance: Just under 4 miles
Time: 2 hours
Enjoy some wilderness right in the city. Eaton Canyon Nature Center is a 190-acre zoological, botanical, and geological preserve at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. From the trailhead at the north end of the parking lot, hike the main path of the trail to the junction marked Waterfall. Stay on the trail to the next junction and continue under the concrete bridge into Eaton Canyon. From here, the trail is less defined and more rugged. There’s fairly easy rock-hopping and, when the drought ends, you may do some creek crossing. You’ll ultimately arrive at a 40-foot waterfall, with the cool mist a bonus on a hot summer day.
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook Trail, Culver City
Distance: 1.5 miles
Time: 30 – 60 minutes
Fee: $6 for parking, but you can save on parking with Uber.
This small, urban state park is located on a 500-foot peak southwest of downtown Los Angeles with views of the San Gabriel Mountains, Hollywood, Westwood, and all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook is known especially for a long flight of stairs—282 to the top of the overlook—great to take if you’d like a leg workout. When you reach the top, there is a rest area where you can catch your breath and bask in the view. And there’s a trail with gentle switchbacks if you prefer to avoid the stairs completely.
Safety Tips Before You Go:
- Always bring plenty of drinking water and use sunscreen.
- Wear hiking shoes, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Don’t hike alone.
- Be sure your smartphone is fully charged so you can Uber home (or schedule an uberX pickup) after exploring these scenic trails.
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