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Santa Monica, California

Looking for the best photography in Santa Monica? We've got you covered with the top trails, trips, hiking, backpacking, camping and more around Santa Monica. The detailed guides, photos, and reviews are all submitted by the Outbound community.

Top Photography Spots in and near Santa Monica

  • Topanga, California

    Top of Topanga Overlook

    1 mi / 1613 ft gain
    The Top of Topanga Overlook is where you can simply park your car, and sit in one of the benches to view the San Fernando Valley. But there is one hiking trail in that area which lets you get better vantage points, as well as a quick workout. Once you get to the overlook, park your car and safel...
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  • Malibu, California

    Photograph the Iconic Malibu Pier

    3.2
    Less than a mile South from the small town center, Malibu Pier stretches out into the Pacific. The Pier has been in Malibu since 1905 and though much of Malibu has been built up around it, it has remained quite similar to when it was first constructed. You can either pay for parking right at the ...
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  • Topanga, California

    Calabasas Peak Motorway

    7.23 mi / 1565 ft gain
    Getting There You can, from Los Angeles, go one of three ways: take I-405 to US-101 and head west, or from downtown, take US-101 the whole way, OR, get on I-10 from the Westside or east of there and take that until it becomes PCH, then take that to Topanga Canyon (turn left onto Old Topanga Cany...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Franklin-Ivar Park

    5.0
    What was once a vacant and deteriorated site, Franklin-Ivar Park was rehabilitated and turned into a small neighborhood park in a densely-populated area in Hollywood. More like a parklette, Franklin-Ivar Park returns some of the native habitats that once thrived in this area on the slopes of the...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Aileen Getty Ridge Trail

    5.0
    3.55 mi / 1194 ft gain
    The Aileen Getty Ridge Trail is a singletrack trail that runs between Mt. Lee and Burbank Peak (the location of the Wisdom Tree). Though there are many options to access this trail, the most direct route is from the west via the Wonder View Trailhead. Start by parking on Lake Hollywood Drive near...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Cahuenga Peak Loop Trail

    3.88 mi / 1237 ft gain
    The Cahuenga Peak Loop is perfect for trail runners and hikers. The trailhead is in Hollywood Hills - park off to the side on a street. This trail features beautiful wildflowers in the spring. Dogs are allowed on the trail if kept on leash. The trail can be dusty and dirty, so watch your step. Ke...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Wisdom Tree

    4.8
    0.95 mi / 528 ft gain
    In Griffith Park, park along Lake Hollywood Drive and walk the paved quarter mile up Wonder View Drive to the start of Wonder View Trail. Here, walk through the yellow gate and make the first right after the road turns to dirt. Head up this unmarked single track path heading east up the mountain....
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  • Hermosa Beach, California

    Surf at El Porto

    4.0
    The South Bay of LA has plenty of good surf. Sand bars are back and its fun...watch out for the sharks.
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  • Los Angeles, California

    West Trail Loop

    4.3
    1.85 mi / 463 ft gain
    The trail starts near Dell Picnic area, near the Trails Cafe. On this wide fire road, you can choose to run or hike, but don't expect to have the trail to yourself, especially if you're heading out on the weekend. With that said, you can time your run or hike around sunset and get amazing views b...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Bronson Bat Caves

    3.3
    0.61 mi / 66 ft gain
    Who doesn't enjoy a short hike to a scenic/remote location? I know I sure do! After hearing about this spot through word of mouth and the internet, and seemingly never having the time to check it out, I honestly have to say it was a worthwhile trip. This short 0.6 out and back hike/walk to the f...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Trail

    4.5
    5.04 mi / 1155 ft gain
    Getting to the parking lot near the trailhead and finding an open space can seem like the most daunting part of this whole excursion. There are free parking lots along the road to the trailhead, so keep an eye out. There are also several ways to get to the trailhead from other parking areas; I ad...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Hollyridge Trail to the Hollywood Sign [Closed]

    4.1
    3.5 mi / 383 ft gain
    This trail is closed as is the Beachwood Gate which is used to access the Hollyridge Trail will be permanently closed on April 18th, 2017 due to a court order. Check out Hollywood Sign via Brush Canyon Trail for an available option.  There are three ways to get to the Hollywood Sign. This route ...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Hoover Walk

    4.0
    In 2009, the people that lived in the neighborhood, close to the stairs, wanted to find a way to fight the graffiti that was being put on the structures and stairs themselves. Artist Ricardo Mendoza was commissioned to paint a giant mural that would cover most of the concrete walls that surround ...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Micheltorena Stairs

    3.0
    0.19 mi / 75 ft gain
    I preferred the steps, before anything was painted on them. Whoever thought it would be a great idea to do that was wrong. No upkeep and these stairs have been heavily vandalized. The steps are a series of stairways you will find throughout Silver Lake and neighboring areas. They facilitated peo...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Piano Mural Staircase aka “Murray Staircase”

    5.0
    0.08 mi / 69 ft gain
    The “Piano Stairs” is a stair mural in Silver Lake neighborhood section of LA. Not to be confused with the “Music Box” staircase that is close by. These 90 steps were painted to look like the piano keyboard by the artist Carrey. Great for a cardio workout and not as creepy as some of the stairs h...
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  • Los Angeles, California

    Landa St Stairs (Esther's Steps)

    5.0
    0.18 mi / 138 ft gain
    One of the hidden gems of the neighborhood, a beloved local named Esther Aagaard Tapebland walked these steps everyday, for 50 years in Silver Lake. Fountain Ave becomes Landa St. Park on Griffith Park Ave and hike your way up the steep driveway. Amazing views of Hollywood, the Hollywood Sign, th...
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