Angelenos spend most of their summers at the beach, but there are gorgeous hikes for sunbathing as well. As the weather heats up and the yoga pants come out, these hikes become just as alluring as the beaches and capture much of what the city has to offer. Oceans views? Check. Mountain views? Check. Places to go swimming? Check. Places to go when you need exercise? Check. These hikes are wonderful examples of what Los Angeles can be. 

Switzer Falls:

Switzer Falls Jeremy Thompson Flickr

(Jeremy Thompson/Flickr)

Water, water, water. It’s the equivalent of location in real estate when it comes to hiking. Who doesn’t want to take a dip after they’ve just spent an hour walking in the sun? The hikes at Angeles National Forest offer a 50-foot waterfall, along with a cold spring pool for hikers who want to end their trip with a refreshing swim. Of course, that access to water means crowds, so try to get here early and avoid the traffic.

Solstice Canyon Falls:

Want a less busy water source? Head to Solstice Canyon for a series of modest yet inviting pools that are tucked away from the crowds. Lounging by these pools feels like stepping into a Western, in which cowboys stop by to fill their water jugs in a quiet, untouched ravine. Listen to the birds chirp. The water trickle. And best of all, the lack of tourists asking for pictures.

Runyon Canyon Park:

Yeah, yeah. The hike feels like you’re queuing for a ride at Disneyland, there’s so many people. But there’s something intrinsically Los Angeles about this trail, which is packed with locals showing off their summer bods, runners starting their day, and of course, views of the sprawling city.

Paseo Miramar:

This is what you think of when you think of ocean views. The hike to get there is no joke, a two mile uphill climb, but the ocean views once you get there are spectacular. A locals-only trail in the evenings, when the waves melt into a sorbet of sunset colors, Paseo Miramar is something to behold.

Bridge to Nowhere:

Bridge to Nowhere Jason Hickey Flickr

(Jason Hickey/Flickr)

It feels like you are on a hike to nowhere on the way to this bridge, which is tucked away in a vast desert. In 1938, a flood wiped out the road that connected this bridge on either side, so now it simply floats there with no purpose other than to dazzle. And dazzle it does. There are few sights as peculiar as seeing a random bridge in a baron desert.

Coral Canyon Loop:

Panoramic ocean views, rugged cliffs and a regal nature preserve — what’s not to love about Coral Canyon Loop? A 1,000 acre wilderness surrounds the loop, dotted with sycamore trees, wild flowers, willows and alders, along with that turquoise streak of ocean waving in the distance, inviting you to take a dip after your hike. 

Mt. Baldy:

Put on those hiking shoes! We’re about to scale the highest mountain in Los Angeles. Mt. Baldy towers over Claremont and offers the biggest stair master in town. At 10,069 feet, it’s where you go to get a cardio exercise, catch insane views and maybe even grab a beer at the slopeside restaurant Top Notch. After a hike like this, you earned your beer. 

Inspiration Point:

A hike called “Inspiration Point” has a lot to live up to. The name promises life-changing results, which it doesn’t always deliver. On a foggy day, you can barely even see the trail switch-backing through Echo Canyon mountains. But on a clear day, when the sun is shining, you can see the entire city, the Rose Bowl and the Redondo Beach cove through scopes located at the final overlook. Inspiring? Occasionally so. 

Temescal Canyon:

A wooded canyon with spectacular ocean views, colorful shrubbery and active wildlife, there’s a reason so many locals flock to this natural oasis. Don’t let the moms blabbing away on their phones diminish this trail. While there are plenty of loud, obnoxious visitors, there are moments of solitude that make this hike a winning escape. 

Vasquez Rocks:

1024px Sunrise at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area 30806496962 e1717797093173

(Jeff Turner, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

If you’re a bandit on the run, you’d want to find a place that is both remote and beautiful, rugged and hospitable. A place where people like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or an outlaw like Zorro, could call home. The latter spent his outlaw days in Vazquez rocks, now named after the man who inspired the masked vigilante. The rocks are jagged, protruding slabs that seem intimidating at first glance, but reveal their beauty through further exploration. 

Eaton Canyon Trail:

Families enjoy schlepping to Eaton Canyon because it’s an easy trail, not too difficult for children but still a nice way to get some steps in. Surrounded by lush foliage, lyrical streams and passing by a 40-foot waterfall, the trail is a fun way to spend an afternoon with loved ones. Don’t have loved ones? Call a therapist. Just kidding — this hike is a cool stroll for solo hikers as well.

Palos Verdes Bend Reserve:

1024px Abalone Cove Portuguese Bend Rancho Palos Verdes CA panoramio

(Jim Helvey, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Enough with the mountains, already. Don’t you know these people want to spend their summers at the beach? Bend Reserve is a nice way to hike at the beach — or above the beach — as a number of trails run along the ocean bluffs. Overlooking Catalina Island and turquoise waters, crystal coves and hidden reefs, this is a gorgeous stroll for summer hikers.

Hidden Pond:

Just a short drive from the hustle and bustle of Santa Monica — the pier, promenade and tourists — is a quieter side of the city. The Santa Monica mountains may seem hours away from Santa Monica beach, but they do share the same zip code. On the northwest side of Point Mugu lies a pond filled with water and wildlife in winter, and colorful plants in summer. A hidden gem at any point of year. 

Elysian Park:

Those who want to stroll downtown without passing by a Starbucks every block can head to Elysian Park, a popular destination amongst locals. Elysian offers a tranquil escape from the city just a short drive away. Take the beginner-friendly loop past palm trees and eucalyptus trees while stopping to admire views of the highway, an intersection between modern squalor and natural splendor. 

Henninger Flats:

You’re in the sky, shaded by trees as a cool breeze wipes the sweat off your back. Henninger Flats is located at one of the highest points in Pasadena, where benches offer shade and panoramic views of the city. The feeling of resting under a pine tree as the city unfolds beneath you is truly wonderful.

Between mountains, beaches and endless green, LA is filled with natural wonders, so if you’re looking for a reinvigorating escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, strap on your boots and get to hiking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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