6 Places To Hike Around Los Angeles

By Priya Saha on Jul 01, 2016
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For many people the image the words Los Angeles conjures up in their head a lot more to do with the iconic Hollywood sign that it has to do with some of the United States best trekking experiences. You have to actively remember that this same city is on the Pacific Coastal Highway.

places to hike near Los Angeles

Image Source: pixabay.com

The lands surrounding the city are jaw-droppingly varied - from long beaches to rolling mountains to precious forests. These are homes to some unexpectedly beautiful sights, a wealth of flora and fauna (many of which are native to the region), and (since this IS Hollywood), some culturally iconic spots.

The following description of places to hike around Los Angeles ought to serve as a teaser:

Canyon Boulevard Trail in Griffith Park

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This one is for the casual hiker tourist geek with a bucket list of things to cross off. One reward is the Hollywood sign at the end of the trail (and you know how good the views are from the countless movies). But a side quest trail will take you to a Batcave! No, it's not nearly as atmospheric as the one Tim Burton or Christopher Nolan's Batmans used but it IS the first. It's where Adam West's Batman parked his Batmobile in the 60s. The hike is moderately difficult.

Explore more in Los Angeles: Organize your plan with Los Angeles Trip Planner

Griffith Observatory Trail

Image Source: Ron Reiring/flickr.com

For those of you who get away from the city because all the neon-emitted photons are ruining stargazing for you, the observatory at the end of this trail should be a real treat. It's a dusty and windy hike up, though. And don't expect to have a nice, contemplative walk hike either. The trail is notoriously crowded. There are two hiking trail loops - West and East. We recommend the latter, it has better views.

Eaton Canyon - Hiking trail with waterfall

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The trails in this canyon are uber popular. Most people love the one that ends at a waterfall pool, and there is just no sight more satisfying after a thirsty hike. It's also uber deadly. YouTube videos by some users show a second, more remote waterfall. Climbing up is tough, but doable. Climbing down keeps killing people. Don't try it. Stick to the first waterfall. Bring flip-flops, because the rocks in the pool can be sharp. Dogs are allowed on it too.

Vasquez Rocks

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Google images of Vasquez Rocks. We'll wait a second. No, really, Google it. There! Aren't you excited now? Never mind all the other trails, this is the one that stole your heart! The otherworldly rock formations reaching for the sky with what seems like desperate longing (yes, we know that's a heavy handed description go back and look at the pictures and tell me the rocks don't deserve it), were created by the earth being ripped apart by a quake. Now, these stark figures frozen in motion are contrasted by the lush green grass and the blazing blue sky. Plus, they give you the feeling of meeting an old friend. They should - you've probably seen them in more movies than you can count.

Murphy's Ranch Trail

Image Source: Yelp.com

You would think that a place with such an American name would be famous for a barbeque or something. Nope. Back during WWII, Nazi sympathizers convinced that the USA was going to lose to Germany set up this ranch as a sort of welcoming committee to the would be conquerors. After that group was shut down in 1941, the ranch was taken over by artists for a while, who covered all the buildings with graffiti. For many years, this eccentric destination was the delight of hikers, but in early spring 2016, some of the structures were torn down by local authorities who were of the opinion that the ranch was annoying. The remaining structures may not now be entered, but you can take pictures. As for the trail itself while it's popular, it's also overgrown, loosely marked, and it's not too hard to get lost around here. So stick to the main pathway. Enjoy the winding roads of Rustic Canyon. This is as off-beat as it gets.

Mount Wilson

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Observatory on top of Mount Wilson is famous. Not only has been prominently featured in some of astronomy's quite important achievements, the mountain is also home to a great number of antennae for LA radio and television. Of the many loops that can take you up, we recommend the Chantry Flats trailhead. It's a moderate climb, 14 miles long, rising to 5,710 feet at the end, and the most beautiful of the loops. As a bonus, it also has a detour to Sturtevant Falls. You can stop there if you like - the pool is good for a dip, and it's a lovely picnic spot.

Of course, this list isn't even close to comprehensive. The area around LA is stuffed to bursting with trails and has hikes spilling of miles and miles of pristine countryside. The ones listed here are popular because they can boast some uber special feature. Many trails can't, but to give up on them would be a shame. Go put your boots on.

*featured image: pixabay.com

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