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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

  • Arcadia, California

    Mt. Wilson Loop from Chantry Flat

    12.74 mi / 4852 ft gain
    Mt. Wilson is one of the more difficult mountains in the San Gabriel to hike, making this adventure Intermediate. While 5,700 feet doesn't seem that tall, the mountain has a prominence of almost 5,300 feet, meaning that hike is steeper and longer than some of the other popular mountains that star...
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  • Arcadia, California

    Hermit Falls Trail

    2.49 mi / 1014 ft gain
    Note: Hermit Falls is Temporarily Closed From Roberts Camp, many hikers will head to Sturtevant Falls, which is an amazing 60-foot waterfall. But, if you choose to head in the opposite direction on First Water Trail, you’ll be rewarded with a fresh water swimming hole at this 35-foot tumbling wa...
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  • 9000 Pacific Coast Highway, California

    Cookout at Sycamore Cove Beach

    If you ever wanted to see dolphins and seals playing and feeding in the surf while getting ready to barbecue, this is the spot for it. Whether you want some summer rays or some of our wicked wacky winter weather, Sycamore Cove will deliver. Usually isolated enough to keep large crowds away, this ...
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  • Malibu, California

    Scenic Trail

    1.53 mi / 322 ft gain
    The trailhead is located in the day use area of Point Mugu State Park.  Park in the day use area parking lot. There is a parking fee of $12/day or $3/hr.   From the parking lot, walk through the campground until you reach the old service road.  After passing through the gate, turn left at the si...
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  • Malibu, California

    Camp at Point Mugu's Sycamore Canyon Campground

    The beach at Point Mugu State Park is just far away enough from the bustling town of Malibu and its popular beaches to feel like you are still secluded with nature. A great way to be close to the beach at Point Mugu State Park and access it easily whenever you want would be to camp at the Sycamor...
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  • Monrovia, California

    Monrovia Falls

    1.46 mi / 459 ft gain
    Monrovia Falls is closed indefinitely due to the Bobcat Fire and mudslides. Read more on the CityofMonrovia.org website. The Monrovia Falls are at the end of the main trail located in Monrovia Canyon Park. The park is easy to locate and has ample parking. Keep in mind you do have to pay a fee of...
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  • Seal Beach, California

    Sunset Beach

    Sunset Beach is located just 9 miles south of Long Beach and 6 miles North of Huntington Beach, CA on the famous Pacific Coast Highway 1. I accessed Sunset Beach from the South on I-405. I took exit 22 for Seal Beach. After the exit I turned a left/west on Seal Beach Blvd and drove for 2.6 miles ...
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  • Malibu, California

    Camp at Thornhill Broome State Beach

    Take PCH through Malibu towards Oxnard and the campground will be on your left. There is no day use here and you can drive right to your campsite.During the summer, make reservations or arrive really early to nab a site. Spaces can fill up quickly.There is access to a hiking trail across PCH.
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  • Malibu, California

    La Jolla Canyon Falls

    1.75 mi / 449 ft gain
    ...I think out of all the State Parks in the Santa Monica Mountains, Point Mugu State Park is without a doubt the best one. Maybe it has something to do with its proximity to the beach, or the endless trails and epic views, but the energy and diversity here is just so much more wild. With the par...
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  • Huntington Beach, California

    Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail

    2.97 mi / 30 ft gain
    The Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail is great for birding and wildlife viewing. If you want a longer hike, you can extend the mileage by heading down the riverbed trail. The trail is open year-round. Dogs are not allowed in Bolsa Chica.  Bolsa Chica State Beach is easily accessible from Oran...
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  • Malibu, California

    Hike Point Mugu Peak

    2 mi / 1250 ft gain
    Point Mugu State Park offers some amazing rolling mountains, sweeping meadows of tall grass, and beautiful coastal views. I suggest going in the spring. I recently went, and the wildflowers were blooming everywhere. There are campgrounds available in different parts of the park that you can make ...
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  • Palmdale, California

    Hike to Vetter Mountain and the Fire Lookout Tower

    2.8 mi / 550 ft gain
    If you're looking for an easy mountain to hike, and perhaps give the kids something interesting to learn about at the top, then Vetter Mountain may fit the bill.  At 5,908', and with a trailhead at about 5,350', this 1.4 mile (one way) hike only climbs about 550' vertical.   The trailhead is loca...
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  • Agua Dulce, California

    Vasquez Rocks

    2.42 mi / 367 ft gain
    This is a Natural Park Area located in Santa Clarita, within the Sierra Pelona Mountains. It features amazing diagonal rock formations, created because of the force between two tectonic plates pushing against each other. This place is a photographer's paradise, and every spot in this 900+ acre l...
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  • Castaic, California

    Paddle Castaic Lake State Recreational Area

    6 mi
    Castaic Lake is a man made reservoir located 41 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, CA in the town of Castaic. Made up of two bodies of water, separated by a 425-foot dam, Upper and Lower Castaic Lakes have a combined 29 miles of shoreline forming the Castaic Lake State Recreational Area. The s...
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  • Pearblossom, California

    Camp at Horse Flats Campground

    The Horse Flats Campground is located 29 miles up Highway 2 from Interstate 210. You will turn left at the Santa Clara Divide Road(this intersection is also known as 3 Points). 3 miles down the road you will turn left to enter the campground. I have camped here a few times and its always been pre...
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  • Santa Clarita, California

    Hike to Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Monument

    3.2 mi / 153 ft gain
    The Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Monument, established in 2019, memorializes the site where the Saint Francis Dam, built by famed engineer William Mulholland, collapsed in 1929, tragically killing more than 400 people in the middle of the night as a 150+ foot wave of water crashed through ...
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