Many people think of Los Angeles as an urban jungle far removed from the natural landscapes most hikers seek out. Fortunately, for Angelenos and outdoorsy visitors to the city the Los Angeles hiking scene offers many options for escaping the urban sprawl.
This guide to hiking trails in and around Los Angeles is an ever-growing list of hikes that will bring you to coastal bluffs and beaches as well as on alpine adventures. It’s not exhaustive, as there are many, many trails in the region. But these are hikes that our writers think are worth considering, whether because of their ease of access or the experience they offer.
If you’re in need of a quick, family-friendly hike with great lookouts along the way, try Inspiration Loop Trail in Will Rogers State Historic Park. The 2.1-mile loop climbs a mere 324 feet along a wide, smooth path, but don’t let the easy incline fool you.
Nestled amongst the Santa Monica Mountains and adjacent to the popular Malibu Creek State Park lies the lesser-known Las Virgenes View Trail, an undemanding 4-mile hike offering an incredible display of wildlife, flora, and views galore.
The Getty View Trail is the ultimate city hike, bringing you up into the Santa Monica Mountains for birds-eyes views of the deep canyons as well as the 405 freeway. The out-and-back trail is 2.6 miles round trip and has a steady but doable incline that’s sure to get your heart rate up.
The Los Liones Trail is one of the best hikes in Los Angeles and takes you through the incredible biodiversity of Topanga State Park. The 7.3-mile out-and-back trail winds up a lush canyon before opening up to a wide fire road and climbs a total of 1,190 feet.
The Backbone Trail is a long-distance trail stretching 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains near Los Angeles. The Backbone, which was officially opened in the summer of 2016, crosses the best-protected stretch of coastal Mediterranean habitat in the world and offers an amazing diversity of trail experiences.
Located in the Westridge Canyonback Wilderness Park, the Lower Canyonback Trail is a straightforward path along a fire road that takes you through the eastern Santa Monica Mountains. The trail climbs 600 feet over a total of 4.2 miles, and there are plenty of steep cutaway trails if you want a more challenging hike.
The San Gabriel Mountains, which rise to the northeast of Los Angeles, offer numerous hiking trails and other wilderness adventures. The mountains are located within Angeles National Forest.
Wildwood Canyon Trail is a steep, challenging 5 mile out-and-back hike in Burbank, California, offering stunning views of the San Fernando Valley.
If you are looking to get a bit further afield, be sure to check out our guide to national parks near Los Angeles, which features parks that are within a day’s drive of the city.