Hiking is one of the best activities to try out if you want to experience the great outdoors. There are numerous trails to explore for both veteran adventurers and new outdoorsmen. Thankfully, there are plenty of easy and enjoyable hikes and trails in Los Angeles.
But know that some locations require trail passes, parking fees, street meters, and other costs. While some places are worth the price, others can drain your budget dry which is why it is essential to plan travels properly and know how to travel on a budget. Thankfully, there are also many hiking trails in Los Angeles that won’t burn a hole through your pocket.
1. The Griffith Observatory Hike
Griffith Park is one of the best places to hike to if you want a long walk with friends or go for a quick run. The parking is free along Fern Dell or the surrounding streets if you opt for the west trail. It offers different routes along with the mounts that are accessible to both beginner and advanced hikers and is one of the easy hikes in Los Angeles.
The trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Griffith Observatory. Here, you can go to exhibits and check out the telescopes that are all available for free to the public. There are also eight to ten live shows each day featured in the Samuel Oschin Planetarium. It may be a challenging, steep trail to pass through, but all the effort is worth it once you’re there.
2. Topanga Canyon
Though not exactly near Los Angeles, Topanga Canyon is a go-to destination for many adventure-seekers. It is filled with a rich history and famous for being the hotspot for musicians and hippies during the 1960s. Today, you can still find that vibrant music community in the area.
But once you reach the Topanga State Park, that’s where you’ll truly forget about the city and get lost in nature. The 11, 529-acre Canyon offers you 36 miles of trails through grass savanna and chaparral. You can pass through skirt cliffs that look over Malibu below to the ocean.
3. The Catalina Island & Trans Catalina Trail Hike
The Catalina Island can be found 46 miles off the coast of Los Angeles and is the best place to go to for hikers is the inland area. Take note that you need to get a hiking permit from the Catalina Island Conservancy which you can acquire in Avalon or online. You can witness the wild buffalo and marvelous scenery and also experience Hollywood history when you go to Catalina Island.
The 37-mile Trans Catalina Trail is another highly recommended hike. Though it takes two or three days to complete this hike, going through this trail is bound to be a great experience. But if you’re just starting, you can also try out the day hikes and overnight hikes for beginners.
4. Sandstone Peak
Another place you can check out for hiking is the Sandstone Peak, a popular hiking spot which is claimed as the highest point of the Santa Monica Mountains. At 3,111 feet, hiking up here in the morning is a majestic experience. You can get spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, Channel Islands, and the inland of the Simi Valleys once you reach the peak. The trail is about 7 miles long, coming from the Backbone Trail up to the Sandstone Peak.
5. Cahuenga Peak
If you want to hike to the iconic Hollywood sign away from the regular tourists, then Cahuenga Park is an excellent choice for you to go to. The hike begins at a mile-high paved quarter up in Wonder View Drive which is another starting point of this trail. Before going there, you can use the free street parking along Lake Hollywood Drive as well to save you some money. The climb itself is pretty quick, but the trail is rugged and steep. If you look over Burbank and Hollywood, you’ll witness the Wisdom Tree which you can take pictures of, leave notes, or rest under.
6. Temescal Gateway Park
From basic jaunts to steep treks, another world of hiking trails await in the Santa Monica Mountains. One highlight to visit is the Temescal Gateway Park. The loop trail transports you to a beautiful waterfall, pine grove, canyons of chaparral and oak, and ridges with views of the coastline. If you’re fast, you can finish the hike in approximately 90 minutes. Though there’s a lot where you can park your car, you can save your seven dollars by parking at Sunset Boulevard for free.