When I first moved to LA, people started recommending me “all the great hikes here I simply had to do” – to which I would smile and then silently file in my “thanks but not for me” drawer.
To me – hiking was basically the opposite of an activity I would enjoy. Something for those who owned “gear.” I thought it was laden with rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and cliffs – none of which existed on my fair and gentle isle in Canada.
As it turns out, ‘LA hiking’ is basically walking with your pals in nature, and shockingly, it has become one of my favorite ways to spend a morning. It can be a workout, but the only real gear you need for hiking here is a solid pair of sneakers and a water bottle. One of my favorite things about LA is how easy it is to get out of the city and into real nature. Within 20 minutes you can escape to a mountain vista overlooking the ocean amongst beautiful trees and then pop right back over to some super delicious brunch spot (and, in this town, it’s always appropriate to go to a restaurant immediately post-hike, unchanged and sweaty!).
It’s such a hiking culture that while on the trail, you may encounter people on conference calls, those engaged in “hiking therapy,” or even pass celebrities (true story… I recently saw a guy on the trail and thought to myself, “What a good looking older man – he probably gets cast as the ‘Ray Romano’ type all the time.” Then as I got closer I realized, “Oh it’s LA – of course that is Ray Romano.”
So, despite my initial reservations, I’ve been swept into the LA hiking scene and haven’t looked back – hence the goal I set this year, to try 10 new hikes.
I wanted to push myself to try new trails, as there are a few I do all the time and it takes effort for me to “branch off course” while hiking (and also in life). Below are 10 different hikes I discovered that were all fantastic. I now associate excitement with going on a new hike vs. trepidation like I did a few years ago. This ‘loving something I expected to dislike’ has made me more open to giving new things a chance, even if I am initially hesitant. I genuinely feel I’ve become a more flexible person as a result of this self-imposed hiking challenge.
If you are visiting LA, I definitely recommend including a hike as part of your itinerary (even if you suspect you aren’t the “hiking type”). *Italicized hikes are outside of LA.
- Andrew Molera Loop (Big Sur, CA) – 8.8 miles
- The Mist Trail and John Muir Trail (Yosemite, CA) – 9 miles
- Fryman Canyon (Studio City, CA) – 3 miles
- Paramount Ranch (Agoura Hills, CA) – 3 miles
- Malibu Creek (Calabasas, CA) – 6 miles
- Solstice Canyon (Malibu, CA) – 3.5 miles
- Runyon Canyon (Hollywood, CA) – 3 miles
- Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa Overlook (Pacific Palisades) – 7.5 miles
- Escondido Falls (Malibu, CA) – 3.8 miles
- Sea to Summit (Squamish, B.C.) – 7.5km up (gondola down)
I would like to give a BIG shout out to all of our friends who have been letting us tag along on their hikes – we love you all so much, and are really, really appreciative. Also, if my list above seems “incomplete,” and there’s a new hike you think I should do, please share!