Ultimate Guide to the Best Hiking in Los Angeles

When we moved to Los Angeles more than 8 years ago, the first thing we got into was hiking. Hiking in Los Angeles is *the* thing to do and we dove head first right into it. My son was only 3 so we didn’t do a ton of difficult hikes at that time, focusing on the best hikes for toddlers, but as the years have progressed, we have added more and more to our arsenal.

In 2021, we started the year with a goal of hiking (and biking!) 100 miles for the month of January and 1000 for the year. For our own purposes to keep track of the hikes we have done and would recommend, we started this guide on all the hiking trails in Los Angeles that we have been on or have on our list!

We will cover the best hikes in LA (according to popular consensus), waterfall hikes in Los Angeles as well as some great hiking near Los Angeles. Read on for more information for each. Check back often for updates as well.

In our effort to explore as many hiking trails in Los Angeles as we can, we have put together this list of hikes we have completed and ones we hope to do. We highly recommend using an app like AllTrails to read up on each hike to find out the latest conditions, how steep or difficult others have found the hike as well as to route your hike along the way.

We also recommend you always carry plenty of water, snacks, jacket and phone chargers while out hiking. Phone batteries die quickly while using GPS apps as well as when you take a lot of photos. There is nothing worse than being on a hike relying on your phone maps to have it die!

Furthermore, we highly recommend using a tracking app like Strava if you want to keep track of all the miles you are racking up and what trails you have completed.

We will start off with what many deem the best hikes in LA. These are the ones you would take visitors on, would do as a visitor and offer something special about this city.

While I am not necessarily a huge fan of Runyon Canyon, this is undoubtedly one of the most popular hiking trails in Los Angeles. It is a 3 mile out and back trail that is home to many of the Hollywood Stars which is what makes this trail popular for visitors. Due to its popularity it was one of the few trails to remain closed during COVID. Not a nature hike by any stretch of the imagination, this uphill climb offers the chance to see Hollywood Stars in the flesh. Keep your eyes open as you huff and puff up!

Another uber popular trail is Solstice Canyon in Malibu. My recommendation is to avoid this popular LA hiking trail on the weekends as it’s always packed then. With a 3 mile loop and a gradual climb this is a decent hike for all ages. Start off on pavement and then make your way to the wide trail that follows alongside a creek. Stay to the left at the bridge and start heading uphill. Along the way you will see a burnt out home and other remains from former fires. At the fork in the road, take a left for the remains and the waterfall or head right to continue on the trail to meet up with the Rising Sun Trail.