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

  • Avalon, California

    Camp at Catalina's Two Harbors

    4.8
    An island camping escape is a mere 50 minute boat ride away from the southern California coast. If you're feeling generous with your funds, you can also opt for a helicopter ride, leaving out of Long Beach and 15 minutes later landing in Catalina Island.Two Harbors campground is unique with the a...
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  • Two Harbors, California

    Day Hike across Catalina: Two Harbors to Avalon

    21 mi
    This hike was one of the most difficult and definitely one of the most memorable hikes I’ve ever done. The view of the island and the surrounding water is surreal and I am yet to be anywhere like this hike. The dry California vegetation of the mountains matched with the bright blue endless backgr...
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  • Pearblossom, California

    Cooper Canyon Falls via Burkhart Trail

    5.0
    3.01 mi / 755 ft gain
    Burkhart Trail is well-defined and easy to follow through an unbelievable old growth of Jeffrey pines, incense-cedars and surprisingly, redwoods! At 0.25 miles, there is a steep spur trail near a large pile of boulders that leads to a popular swimming area, often frequented by guests of the campg...
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  • Azusa, California

    Smith Mountain Trail

    6.69 mi / 3189 ft gain
    Smith Mountain Trail is an awesome day hike located near Glendora, California. This out-and-back trail offers great views of the Los Angeles National Forest and the potential for continuation to Bear Creek for even more variety of scenery. Smith Mountain is a moderately strenuous hike with an el...
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  • La Verne, California

    Marshall Canyon Trail

    4.0
    5.99 mi / 722 ft gain
    For this adventure you can choose to start in a multiple of places; for the easiest parking use Oak Mesa Park located next to Oak Mesa Elementary School. From the parking lot cross the soccer field towards the bridge on the north east end of the school. Once across the bridge follow Los Robles ea...
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  • Azusa, California

    Lewis Falls

    1 mi / 732 ft gain
    Located deep in the Angeles National Forest above Azusa, this short but at times challenging hike rewards you with a beautiful fifty-foot waterfall. The base of the waterfall is only a foot at its deepest, so I wouldn't rush to bring a bathing suit with you. Protected by the heavy forestry around...
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  • Newport Beach, California

    Newport Pier

    4.9
    Newport Pier is located just south of Huntington Beach at the center of the Balboa Peninsula. Balboa Pier, the more crowded pier of Newport Beach, is nearby to the south. Thanks to the awesome weather of Southern California, there’s no reason this beach can’t be enjoyed all year long, which means...
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  • Los Angeles County, California

    Mt. Williamson via Islip Saddle

    4.16 mi / 1519 ft gain
    The trailhead is immediately off of Angeles Crest Highway CA-2 at Islip Saddle.  It's just a touch over 2 miles to reach the summit, through which you'll be hiking among the pine tree forest practically the entire way up (part of this trail doubles as the Pacific Crest Trail).  The summit is larg...
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  • Castaic, California

    Hiking the Piru Creek Gorge Trail

    Take the I-5 exit North of Castaic, CA at Templin Hwy. Turn onto Golden State Hwy heading the only direction it goes from the exit, North. When it dead-ends in a few miles at the National Forest Gate, you are at Frenchman's Flat.You can camp here, or hang with the day hikers. Heading North along ...
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  • La Verne, California

    Cattle Canyon Trail

    6.7 mi / 1066 ft gain
    Within the San Gabriel Mountains from Highway 39 and along East Fork Road is Cattle Canyon. To go through Cattle Canyon, you can access the trail head just south of the Bridge to Nowhere trail head along East Fork Road right after it intersects with Glendora Mountain Road. There is a small parkin...
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  • Los Angeles County, California

    Bikepack Catalina Island

    5.0
    43.5 mi / 5700 ft gain
    This is a great introductory overnight bikepacking adventure. With restaurants, water, and stores at each end of the ride, your packing list is minimal. Head out on Saturday morning and make it back in time for dinner on Sunday evening. Packing List Your Bike – I did this ride on my drop bar grav...
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  • Anaheim, California

    Oak Canyon Bluebird and Wren Trail

    1.42 mi / 187 ft gain
    The Oak Canyon Bluebird and Wren Trail features beautiful wildflowers and is accessible year-round. The trail is well kept and offers lots of shady spots. The first portion of this hike will take you up a hill, and then to a fork. One direction will take you around a reservoir and another will ta...
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  • Azusa, California

    Little Jimmy Trail Camp

    4.3
    3.36 mi / 607 ft gain
    Take Hwy 2 out of La Canada north along Angeles Crest Highway. Follow this for quite some time enjoying the fine views in all directions. After traveling through two consecutive tunnels continue to the Islip Saddle parking lot (on left). There will be a vault toilet & a picnic table. Display ...
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  • Palmdale, California

    California Aqueduct Trail

    7.67 mi / 213 ft gain
    California Aqueduct Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you past scenic surroundings located near Palmdale, California.
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  • La Verne, California

    Bridge to Nowhere via East Fork Trail

    4.4
    9.65 mi / 1798 ft gain
    The trail on this 10-mile hike is predominately slow and steady, but can be a little rocky, so be prepared to scramble. When you’re fording the river, the water level can range from knee to chest high, especially in the wet months. A good pair of waterproof hiking boots is helpful, but water shoe...
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  • Newport Beach, California

    Newport Beach Back Bay Trail

    4.0
    10.62 mi / 499 ft gain
    The Newport Beach Back Bay Trail features beautiful wildflowers and is open for use year round. Very minimal elevation gain makes this hike food for all skill levels, but be mindful of the distance. Dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on leash.  Cooling sea breezes make this one of th...
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