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The 10 Best LA Hikes That Aren't Runyon Canyon

Most people might not be touting Los Angeles as the top outdoor destination, but then again, most people aren't hitting the the best of what this expansive, good weather-ridden city has to offer.

By: Clare Healy + Save to a List

Don’t get me wrong. Runyon Canyon can be a great hike. Accessible trailhead. Sweeping views. Clearly marked trails. DOGS. But if celebrity sightings aren’t the primary goal for your trek, trade out that crowded jaunt for something a bit more off the beaten path. You will be rewarded with even better views, higher peaks, a variety of climate zones, and a bit of (likely) much-needed solitude. So go ahead and ignore those claims that Los Angeles isn’t a hiking goldmine, hop in your car, and hit the road for some noteworthy dirtbag days on these 10 trails.

1. Sandstone Peak

Photo: Michael Wigle

The Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks will take you to the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains and will provide you with views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Bay. Learn more.

2. Mt. Baldy

Photo: Clare Healy

With sweeping views of Los Angeles county from 10,064 feet, Mount San Antonio (better known as Baldy) should be on every Southern California hiker’s to-do list. And be sure to quench your thirst at Mount Baldy Lodge on your way back down the hill. Learn more.

3. Los Liones to Parker Mesa Overlook 

Photo: Clare Healy

Climb from the Pacific Palisades to the top of Parker Mesa on this 5.4 mile out-and-back hike for unbeatable coastal views of Los Angeles. This is one of LA’s most prime sunset spots, just be sure to bring a headlamp for the trek back down. Learn more.

4. Malibu Creek State Park

Photo: Will Cebron

This hike is stacked with a spring for swimming, rivers, volcanic rock, and rich film history - all nestled right in the Santa Monica Mountains. Learn more.

5. Bridge to Nowhere

Photo: Ben Lertsakdadet

In the 1930s, engineers attempted to cut a road across the San Gabriel River. Today, this bridge is an iconic destination for hikers and bungee jumpers alike. Trek the 10 miles (out and back) to experience this piece of LA history. Learn more.

6. Mount Baden-Powell

Photo: Brenda Lin

On this hike, 8 miles, 2800 ft of elevation, and 40+ switchbacks all become worth it the moment you hit the 360° views of the San Gabriel Mountains and Antelope valley below.  Learn more.

7. Cucamonga Peak

Photo: Clare Healy

From atop Cucamonga Peak, you can see many of the better-known peaks in Southern California like the distinctive saddleback mountains, Mt. San Jacinto, San Gorgonio, and Mt. Baldy. Upon summiting after a 6-mile ascent, you’ll be welcomed with nearly 360° views of the area (and you can pitch a tent for the night at the summit as well!). Learn more.

8. Wisdom Tree

Photo: Clare Healy

For an iconic view and an easily accessible hike in Griffith Park, the short but steep jaunt, Wisdom Tree is one that every Los Angeles resident must do. Learn more.

9. San Gabriel Peak

Photo: Mark Garcia

This out-and-back, dog-friendly hike is a short and easy 3 mile trail with rewarding terrain and views at the peak. And if you want to extend your hike, there is access to several other peaks in the area. Learn more.

10. Mt. Wilson

Photo: Michael Wigle

If you’re in the market for a longer expedition, Mt. Wilson is all yours. It’s a 13.5 mile hike nestled in the San Gabriel Mountains and with 4,200 ft. in elevation gain, it’s the perfect training hike for your next big endeavor. Learn more.

Are there any other LA hikes you love? I'd love to hear about them below!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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