Urban “Angelenos” know that for every urban adventure you can find in Los Angeles, California, there is a trail that can get you away from the city. From Pasadena to Hollywood Hills to Malibu, there are plenty of great hikes to choose from whether you’re just visiting or already live in Southern California. With AvantStay, you can live like a local but enjoy a luxury hospitality experience in between hitting the best hiking trails in Hollywood.
Hollywood – Griffith Park Hiking Trails
I get it, it can be exceptionally hard to get around the traffic in Los Angeles if you’re driving. If you’re looking to hike without leaving the city, some of Los Angeles’s most iconic sights can be found in Griffith Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States! Plan to arrive early to these trails to beat the crowds. Strap on your hiking sandals and bring your movie-junkie friend with you to see some of Hollywood’s iconic film-sets in the outdoors!
Ferndell to Griffith Observatory
Explore Ferndell’s wooded glen that connects to Griffith Observatory’s loop trails. This 2.6 mile loop trail is generally an easy hike, with just over 600 feet of elevation gain overall. Ferndell is a largely asphalt or manicured trail that is most accessible to all potential visitors, but the trail up to Griffith Observatory is a wide, mostly flat trail even as you gain elevation. Expect sprawling views of Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign as you ascend out of Ferndell! Visitors who may not be able to access the loop trail can drive up to the Griffith Observatory to get in on the scenery! The Griffith Observatory has free admission for visitors.
Runyon Canyon Trail
If you have watched any movie or TV series based in LA, you have probably seen your favorite characters power-walking up and down Runyon Canyon. This trail is a 2.7 mile loop trail that has views of million-dollar mansions, Hollywood Hills, and the elusive Hollywood sign. This isn’t the easiest hike for beginners, but it is accessible to any hiker even if you only have a ball cap and sneakers. There are plenty of vistas along the trail to catch a breather and take pictures of this iconic SoCal trail!
This short 0.6 mile round trip trail brings you to the Bat Cave used in the 1960s Batman TV show! Bronson Cave itself has been closed indefinitely due to falling rocks, but Bronson Canyons is a beautiful area worth exploring. It’s a great supplemental hike if you’re already in the area. Besides, why give up the chance to proclaim “To the Batcave!” on the way to the actual Batcave?
Pasadena & Altadena
If you’re heading to Pasadena for some classy shopping, you should consider heading north past Altadena for some great hiking in the Angeles National Forest!
If you’re looking for a more challenging hike that still has a view of L.A. county, look no further than Echo Mountain. This moderately difficult 5-mile round trip hike up the Sam Merrill Trail gains over 1400 feet of elevation at the peak. Echo Mountain has some of the best views in the area, and those that have the chance shouldn’t miss the chance to make their way up the mountain!
This trail has a few interesting nearby historical markers. The trailhead starts at the supposedly haunted Cobb Estate and leads hikers to the old Mount Low Railway on Echo Mountain.
Eaton Canyon Trail is a challenging 4 mile round trip hike that leads to a waterfall and small pool whose size varies on the season. Some hikers are able to enjoy a dip under the waterfall, but your experience may vary on whether there is anything to actually “dip“ into. This hike follows fire roads for most of the trail, but does eventually become quite rocky—only wide enough for one at a time—once you reach the canyon, so you should be prepared with good boots! This trail can be a little tricky to navigate, but AllTrails does the best job in describing the best way to complete this hike.
Malibu is probably best known for its sandy Pacific Ocean beaches, well-suited for surfers and celebrities alike. The Santa Monica Mountains of Malibu give hikers the chance to see it all, from sprawling views of the Pacific coast to towering mountains and canyons.
Need some extra beach time or mountain escapes away from Los Angeles? Check out the house stays AvantStay offers in Malibu.
Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park has a 3 mile loop trail that is considered moderately challenging. Much of this hike follows old fire roads, but you might see why this place has a history in the film industry the longer you hike: Malibu Creek has the classic, timeless look of desolate but beautiful land.
Here’s some trivia for your movie nerd friends: Malibu Creek State Park was once owned by several TV studios and used for movie ranches. The State Park was once home to the set for the movie and subsequent TV show M*A*S*H until the set was burnt down in a brush fire just before the show’s finale. Besides the markers that have been placed since the fire, you will only find a rusted army Jeep and a Dodge ambulance in the naturalized TV set. The TV show Planet of the Apes and dozens of 20th century movies were also filmed in this now-state park.
Paseo Miramar is a 4.9 mile out-and-back trail in Topanga State Park which partially follows a fire road that will take you 1200 feet up, well above the clouds. This is a moderately challenging hike, but at the highest point at Parker Mesa Overlook you will be rewarded by a 360° view of the Santa Monica Bay and the northern mountains. Look for wildflowers here in the Spring! Be prepared with water and snacks for this trail, and plan to get there early. No dogs are allowed. Parking is tricky here, so you should plan to walk a ways from your car to get to the trailhead; there is no parking on Saturday or Sunday, and there is no parking past the 600 block, or the 500 block on red flag days. Check with the fire station on your way to check the conditions.
Escondido Falls Trail offers hikers an easy 3.7 mile hike with views of the Pacific coast and, when the weather hasn’t been too dry, Escondido Falls of course! The waterfall tends to dry out during the Summer, but lucky hikers may be able to catch it if they go after rainfall. This trail is still a great option during the dry season, as it is partially shaded and provides plenty more to see. Escondido Falls is a popular biking trail, so stay aware of any incoming traffic! Finish off your hike by heading down to Escondido Beach afterwards to cool off!
(It’s worth the warning to hikers that waterfalls can be extremely dangerous places and deserve your caution. It is not uncommon for hikers to slip and injure themselves or even lose their lives from falling—Escondido Falls is no exception. Don’t take unnecessary risks in these areas.)
You really can’t go wrong with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, but Solstice Canyon is an exceptional 3 mile loop trail with some interesting stops along the way. While this trail can be challenging at times, it is shaded a majority of the way and has several natural stopping points. About halfway through the hike you’ll find Tropical Terrace, the fun-to-explore ruins of a mansion. This trail is also home to the oldest stone structure in Malibu, which was partially destroyed in a fire but is still retained by the US Forest Service. You can take the Rising Sun trail back to the trailhead, but it has no shade compared to the Solstice Canyon trail. If you’re up for it, you’ll get great views of the Pacific Ocean.
Situated just north of Santa Monica, the Pacific Palisades is the perfect middle point between Malibu and Los Angeles. The Palisades hugs Topanga State Park, which has several hikes with all-encompassing views of both LA and Malibu. The proximity to LA makes these trails busier due to locals and tourists, so plan to arrive early to beat the crowds and have a place to park!
This Pacific Palisades based trail gives you such a great view of Malibu, it’s hard to keep it off this list. Temescal Canyon trail is a moderately challenging 4 mile loop hike. You can practically see it all on this trail—you will get some of the best views of downtown LA, Santa Monica, and Malibu on your way up. Plan ahead for this one: get there early to have the best experience on this busy trail.
Will Rogers State Park
This state park provides a great escape from the traffic and noise of LA,. Despite that, an exploration of this park will include seeing the vaudeville actor Will Rogers’ ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Inspiration Point Loop Trail. Inspiration Point is a 2-mile easy hike that will easily fill your ocean view fix. Bring your dog and enjoy the trail before exploring the grounds of Will Rogers’ old estate. You’re likely to see plenty of horseback riders here—Will Rogers was famously known for his love of horses and roping, and that spirit lives on today.
No matter where you choose to hike when you visit Los Angeles, AvantStay has a collection of over 100 houses in the SoCal area, where you can experience upscale hospitality with a home-like feel. Browse our locations in and around Los Angeles to find your perfect vacation spot.