SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS
Rounded, rolling hills and low mountains nestled near the Pacific Coast and stretching into Hollywood. Trails here generally have lower elevation gains than the San Gabriels, and are less shaded. Here, you’ll find large swaths of native California Grassland and incredible wildflower blooms in the spring.
The Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks might just be my favorite hike in all of Southern California. This trail will take you to the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, past jagged peaks, riparian canyons, and popular rock climbing routes. With killer views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Bay, this is an absolute must-hike.
LOS LIONES TRAIL TO PARKER MESA
The Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa is a lush, moderate trail that climbs from the Pacific Palisades into Topanga State Park to the top of Parker Mesa and one of the most incredible coastal views in Los Angeles.
Temescal Canyon‘s loop trail offers a steep, shaded canyon or a more gradual sunny ascent. It also features a seasonal waterfall, strange rock formations, and stunning coastal views – all right at the Westside’s doorstep.
MALIBU CREEK STATE PARK
Rock climbing, lakes and rivers, twisted California geology, ranching and film history – oh, and gorgeous scenery. Malibu Creek State Park has it all – and whether you’re taking a flat stroll along the Canyon floor or climbing the ridge of the Castro Crest, this park is definitely worth your time.
The popular Solstice Canyon Trail will take you through a shaded canyon past the oldest standing stone structure and oldest living tree in Malibu to the ruins of a 1950s mansion nestled beside a small, tiered waterfall.
SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS
655,000 acres of rugged mountain terrain, right in L.A.’s backyard. From the ruins of turn-of-the-century resort hotels to the highest peak in Los Angeles County, this region runs the gamut from easy walks to intense backcountry adventures.
No SoCal hiker’s journey is complete until they’ve summited Mount San Antonio, better known to locals as Mount Baldy. At 10,064 feet, this is the highest point in Los Angeles County, the highest peak in the San Gabriel range, and the third highest peak in Southern California. This leg-busting and exhilarating loop route features jaw-dropping views and hair-raising ridgeline trails that will make you question whether or not you’re really only an hour from L.A.
SANTA ANITA CANYON
Santa Anita Canyon is probably the most beautiful river canyon in Southern California. This stellar loop winds through a canyon dotted with historic cabins and two waterfalls, including 50-foot Sturtevant Falls. While the falls can be crowded, the trail above the falls is idyllic and serene, the canyon floors covered in ivy. There are several campsites here and junctions with longer trails – and you won’t be able to believe you’re in Southern California.
BRIDGE TO NOWHERE
If you like river crossings and forgotten L.A. history, put the Bridge to Nowhere on your list. This epic 10 mile out-and-back follows (and crosses) the East Fork of the San Gabriel River deep into the mountains, where engineers tried to cut a road in the 1930s. The great flood of ’38 washed most of the road away, except for a 120-foot concrete arch bridge that still stands. This flat hike is great in the summer and will wipe you out – and is definitely worth fighting the crowds at the trailhead.
After the Civil War, the nation’s first military aeronaut retired to Southern California and built a sprawling resort and observatory complex in the San Gabriel Mountains. You could take the old Red Car train from downtown L.A. right to the hotels via a winding railway or an exciting funicular. Time and fire have claimed most of the buildings, but many ruins of the resort are still waiting for you just north of Altadena.
This prominent and popular peak is a bit of a drive down the long and winding Angeles Crest Highway, but the trip to Mount Baden-Powell is worth it. This beautifully designed trail switchbacks its way up to the 9,407-foot high summit named in honor of the founder of the Scouting movement. Along the way you’ll get incredible views of the Antelope Valley, hike past 1500 year-old limber pines (and probably some snow), and end up on a summit with nearly 360 degree views of the landscape. This trail is a short spur off the Pacific Crest Trail, too, so if you’re lucky you might even run into a Thru-Hiker!
BOOK WITH THE BEST TO IMPRESS YOUR GUESTS!