Santa Monica, California

The best Trails and Outdoor Activities in Santa Monica, California offer a variety of top outdoor adventures. The Temescal Canyon Loop is a must-visit with its 2.6-mile trail that offers stunning ocean views and a scenic waterfall. For a more challenging hike, the Los Liones Trail is a 7.3-mile trail that takes you through lush greenery and offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. The Santa Monica Beach bike path is a 22-mile long flat trail perfect for cycling, running, and walking. If you're into bird watching, the Ballona Wetlands is a great spot. For rock climbing, head to Point Dume in nearby Malibu. Remember to respect the outdoors and leave no trace behind. Enjoy your outdoor adventures in Santa Monica!

Top Spots in and near Santa Monica

  • Seal Beach, California

    Seal Beach

    4.7
    Seal Beach is a small beach community between Long Beach and Huntington Beach. Right off PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), this sandy beach is a great place to chill on a hot summer day. The high winds coming off the water makes it an ideal place to kite board, surf, or simply fly a kite along the sho...
    Read more
  • Arcadia, California

    Sturtevant Falls

    4.6
    1.61 mi / 423 ft gain
    This trail is currently closed. Visit the Forest Service website for updates.  As you head down to Roberts Camp, a historic set of historic cabins, you’ll head out on a steep, paved road for approximately 0.6 miles. Once you reach the camp, head over the bridge and keep an eye out for the sign f...
    Read more
  • Arcadia, California

    Mt. Wilson Loop from Chantry Flat

    5.0
    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...
    Read more
  • Arcadia, California

    Hermit Falls Trail

    4.8
    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...
    Read more
  • 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 ...
    Read more
  • Malibu, California

    Scenic Trail

    4.0
    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...
    Read more
  • 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...
    Read more
  • Monrovia, California

    Monrovia Falls

    3.7
    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...
    Read more
  • Seal Beach, California

    Sunset Beach

    4.6
    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 ...
    Read more
  • Malibu, California

    Camp at Thornhill Broome State Beach

    5.0
    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.
    Read more
  • Malibu, California

    Camp at Point Mugu State Park's Thornhill Broome Campground

    5.0
    Beach camping in California seems elusive these days, but we were able to pitch our tent just feet from the surf! We stayed for two nights and felt like we had our own private stretch of beach. First, you'll want to make reservations at www.reserveamerica.com. It was fairly easy to reserve a spot...
    Read more
  • Malibu, California

    La Jolla Valley Walk-In Camps

    5.0
    10.58 mi / 2146 ft gain
    Hello Friends! I just took a really chill overnight backpacking trip to the La Jolla Valley Backcountry campsite and I’m going to give you some details so you can have as nice of an outing as I did! The trailhead is conveniently just off of the Pacific Coast Highway, across the street from the T...
    Read more
  • 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...
    Read more
  • Huntington Beach, California

    Stand Up Paddle (SUP) in Huntington Harbor

    4.5
    Huntington Harbor is the perfect location for an easy and relaxing stand up paddle board session. Here you will get to enjoy the view of the houses by the harbor, some boats sailing by, and some low bridges you'll have to paddle through while ducking on your board (fun!).There are several stores ...
    Read more
  • Huntington Beach, California

    Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve Trail

    4.7
    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...
    Read more
  • Malibu, California

    Hike Point Mugu Peak

    4.5
    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 ...
    Read more