Los Angeles is known for some pretty fun and amazing hiking spots, including Runyon Canyon and Griffith Park trails amongst others. Another positive is that you are never more than a few hours away from multiple national forests and state parks, with countless hiking paths and trails.
Over the years I’ve grown a particular liking for a handful of spots around LA. Each spot is pretty easy to get to and each has its own individual features. If you’re interested, check out the links for more information on each spot.
Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park
Take Reseda Blvd. south, all the way up! Once there, you will have arrived at the Top of Reseda Trailhead. The trailhead leads you to “Dirt” Mulholland, an amazing trail with numerous forks and splits to travel down. Trails – Department of Parks and Recreation
From the trailhead, you can head right (southwest-ish), towards Topanga State Park. I love going this way, then heading down Temescal Fire Road. Hike a few miles and you will have reached Hub Junction, at which point the fire road intersects with the Backbone Trail. Cathedral Rocks is a few hundred feet further down the trail, which is a beautiful rock formation with an amazing view.
You also have the choice of heading left (southeast-ish). Trek along for a few miles and you will eventually reach San Vicente Mountain Park, bring quarters or binoculars if you’re going this route. This park is located at the old Nike Missile Site and is now a Cold War Memorial. You can take stairs to the top of the viewing tower, where you will come across some of the best views in Los Angeles. The viewing platform has coin-operated binoculars if you don’t have your own. The park also has benches and tables for eating, restrooms, and multiple signs which tell the story of the site. San Vicente Mountain Park
Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve
Take Victory Blvd. west, all the way to the end. This will lead you to the Victory Trailhead and into a vast network of trails, both easy and difficult. Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve (formerly Ahmanson Ranch)
Head right (north) at the start and you will eventually arrive at the Cave of Muntis. This area is fun to explore and do a little climbing; however, I don’t dare to get wild on these rocks as I am not an avid climber. You can also head straight into the trailhead, and take one of the many forks throughout the hills, and get lost in the vast beauty. This area was burned in the 2018 Woolsey Fire, and since Spring 2019 the hills have experienced some beautiful vegetation bloom. Although some smaller paths are difficult to get through due to dense overgrowth.
Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa/Point Mugu State Park
This is a newer spot I only recently discovered and is a little bit outside of LA. To get there, type in “Wendy Trailhead” into your phone’s directions app, and you’ll be led to Ventura County. The Wendy Trailhead leads you to a vast open park with numerous trails and paths to enjoy. Rancho Sierra Vista/ Satwiwa – Santa Monica Mountains National
A big reason I like this area is the trail maintenance. Trails are well kept, and free from overgrown foliage. Additionally, the trails are well marked with clear directional signs, which makes navigation much easier. Bonus, you will see a bunch of white-tailed bunnies hopping on the trail!
Depending on which way you choose to go, you can head down into Sycamore Canyon along a stream and head towards a waterfall, or you can head through trails in Point Mugu State Park to various rocky peaks. These include, amongst others; Mt. Boney Peak, Tri-Peaks, Inspiration Point, and Sandstone Peak (the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains).
All three of these areas offer numerous trails for hikers and mountain bikers, and depending on the day tend to be moderate to heavily trafficked by both, so try to go early in the morning. A lot of the trails in these areas offer minimal shade and are in some pretty dry regions, so be sure to pack plenty of water! Also if you plan to head to any of these trails soon, be sure to bring a mask and practice social distancing. Hope to see you on the trails soon!