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

  • Santa Paula, California

    Santa Paula Punch Bowls

    3.6
    6.5 mi / 1037 ft gain
    This is a 6.5 mile trail, out and back. Parking is available along Ojai St, and the trail starts at the entrance of Thomas Aquinas College. Follow the paved road that goes around the school, until you reach a fork on the road, then stay right. The trail will take you through Ferndale Ranch, just ...
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  • Newport Beach, California

    Stand Up Paddle around Balboa Island, Newport Beach

    5.0
    Balboa Island, located in Newport Bay, is a fun destination on its own, but add a relaxing SUP to the mix and you’ve got yourself an adventure. There are two ways to get onto island: cross the Marine Avenue Bridge, or take the Balboa Island Ferry (directly inland from Balboa Pier and south of New...
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  • Pearblossom, California

    Devil's Punchbowl and Devil's Chair

    4.5
    7.37 mi / 1870 ft gain
    What a hidden gem! A martian landscape full of faultline desert rock formations and joshua trees against a mountainous backdrop of the San Gabriels. Devil's Punchbowl Natural Area features a 1 mile well-marked, well-maintained single track loop trail inside the Punchbowl (great for kids) and a 7 ...
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  • Newport Beach, California

    Bodysurfing and Photography at The Wedge

    4.8
    Beginning at the east end of the Balboa Peninsula The Wedge's main power house is the Newport Harbor Jetty. When the right south swell hits the jetty it reflects back creating a massive back wash. When the back wash hits an incoming set you have the notoriously heavy wedge-like shore break thunde...
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  • Claremont, California

    Claremont Wilderness Loop

    4.8
    5.03 mi / 1020 ft gain
    Drive to the top of Mills Ave in Claremont. There is a main parking area to the left and overflow parking a block south on the right. It costs $3 to park for 4hrs. As the name implies, the Wilderness Loop is a loop that connects to other trails in the Claremont Hills Wilderness. You can choose t...
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  • Newport Beach, California

    Boulder at Pirate's Cove

    4.0
    This is a great spot for bouldering in Newport Beach, CA with really easy access from the parking lot at Big Corona Beach or street parking above on Ocean Blvd. There are not clear signs to follow, but it is easy to find from the parking lot at Big Corona - it is on the far west side toward the h...
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  • Ventura, California

    Hike Arroyo Verde Park

    3.5 mi / 800 ft gain
    Arroyo Verde Park is a small parked tucked in the hills above Ventura, California, and has a network of trails running up and down the hills surrounding the valley in the center of the park. The entrance to the park is at the intersection of Foothill Road Day Road, east of downtown Ventura. There...
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  • Dawson Saddle, California

    Hike to Throop Peak, Mt. Hawkins, and Mt. Burnham

    8 mi / 2000 ft gain
    The trailhead, or pair of trailheads actually, is at a location on the Angeles Crest Highway (CA-2) called Dawson's Saddle.  There are a couple of parking areas along the side of the highway, and each of the pair of trailheads begins at either end of this parking area.  The trailheads aren't mark...
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  • Newport Beach, California

    Arches at Little Corona del Mar

    4.9
    Little Corona del Mar Beach is a secluded beach located on Poppy Avenue across Ocean Boulevard in Corona del Mar. Known as one of the less crowded beaches in the area, this spot is the perfect place to chill for the day or photograph a sunset. You will find plenty of free street parking in the ne...
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  • Ventura, California

    Backpack to Del Norte Campground on Santa Cruz Island

    5.0
    7 mi / 700 ft gain
    Del Norte Backcountry Campground is located on Santa Cruz Island, one of the islands that makes up Channel Islands National Park. It is California's largest island and is almost three times the size of Manhattan. The easiest way to get to the island is to take Island Packers, a ferry service that...
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  • Ventura, California

    Stand Up Paddleboard the Ventura Harbor

    The Ventura Harbor provides a protected entry/exit to the Pacific Ocean and is a great place to start a paddleboarding adventure.  Marina Park, at the end of Pierpont Boulevard, has a ton of parking, a free public launch, and there are boards to rent along the harbor. From the launch you can head...
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  • Chino Hills, California

    Adobe Loop

    3.0
    1.92 mi / 312 ft gain
    The best place to park for this hike is at Hunter's Hill park. From there, the trailhead is located on Natalie Road just South of the park. There is a large sign marking the start of the trail, but it does not give a name for either the trail head or the trail itself. For reference, it is the But...
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  • Avalon, California

    Trans-Catalina Trail

    5.0
    37.67 mi / 8189 ft gain
    This adventure is a great way to see the entire island of Santa Catalina. Catalina Island is situated less than 30 miles off the coast of Southern California, and can be reached by ferry from Dana Point, San Pedro, or Long Beach. Catalina Express in the company that operates the ferry. This adve...
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  • Avalon, California

    Camp at Hermit Gulch on Catalina Island

    3.9 mi / 1206 ft gain
    The Avalon port in Catalina is most easily accessed through the Catalina Express leaving from Dana Point, Newport Beach or Long Beach. The Hermit Gulch campsite is only a 20 min walk from the boat and is well run with restrooms, showers... etc. They also sell anything you might have forgotten for...
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  • Azusa, California

    Bighorn Mine Trail

    5.0
    3.69 mi / 607 ft gain
    If you decide to head over to Wrightwood for some skiing during the winter, make sure to get a hike in while you’re at it. There are several trail systems along the Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy 2), and one of them is scenic Big Horn Mine Trail. The end point of the hike is the historic and abandone...
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  • Azusa, California

    Summit Mt. Baden-Powell

    5.0
    7.86 mi / 2808 ft gain
    This well maintained and well traveled trail is a popular route with day hikers, backpackers, and Pacific Crest Trail through hikers. Since the trail is on the face of the mountain, snow may linger late into the season. The Pacific Crest Trail is clearly marked on the western corner of the Vinc...
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