Scramble across the trailless desert in Joshua Tree's wild northeast corner to inner Basin Pass. BY EMELIE FROJEN
Jagged sandstone cliffs, glorious wildflowers, and deep canyons seem endless on this 9-mile out-and-back ridgeline run in Cleveland National Forest.
Trace the rugged, uninhabited coastline of Crystal Cove on this 5.2-mile out-and-back to sunbleached bluffs, swirling tidal pools, and a deserted settlement of old beach villas.
Trek into history on this 7-mile out-and-back in the San Gabriel foothills. You’ll visit the ruins of a luxurious hotel and cog railway that date back to the early 1900s.
This 4.6-mile canyon hike features chilly mountain pools, several beautiful waterfalls, and slim sandstone cliffs set in a cool oasis of lush oak and sycamore forests.
Savor sunny views of Catalina Island and the Pacific Ocean, then descend to a cool creek under the pleasant shade of sycamore trees on this 8.9-mile canyon loop.
Hike 6 miles to an island of green space nestled in L.A.’s suburbs, then climb steeply to panoramic views of the nearby San Gabriel mountains and the Hollywood Hills.
Hike, run, or bike this moderate 6.2-mile out-and-back, which follows a scenic, rolling ridgeline to a boot-shaped mesa with a stunning ocean vista.
Don’t be fooled by the name–this 9.3-mile out-and-back climbs more than 3,000 feet. But it rewards hikers with some of the most spectacular views in the LA foothills.
This 4.2-mile hike begins in a deep cleft of the Santa Monica Mnts., then winds up a mellow ridgeline with gorgeous ocean views. Zuma Canyon is a lush basin of wildflowers in season.
The rocky points of this 5.6-mile coastal hike offer some of the best tidal pool viewing in Southern California. Go at low tide to see crabs, sea stars, anemones, and sea hares.
Escape the city’s smog on this pretty 7.3-mile loop into the chaparral-covered ecosystem of La Jolla Canyon. Fresh air and Pacific Ocean vistas are only a 30-minute drive from downtown.
This 6.5-mile loop passes through sage, chaparral, and oak groves to a high plateau with panoramic views of the Santa Ana Mountains.
This easy 4.7-mile route loops past Sycamore Canyon Falls and the shady bottom of Big Sycamore Canyon.
Navigate the long, gorgeous valley of Bishop Creek’s Middle Fork to alpine lakes beneath spectacular Sierra Crest peaks. Leave early for this arduous 17-mile hike.
A 3,000-foot gain in 3.4 miles delivers landscape-painting vistas of pastoral valleys and idyllic California hamlets on this 6.8-mile round-trip.
Enjoy a gurgling creek, the staccato of canyon wrens, and ridgetop vistas on this 4.2-mile jaunt just minutes from downtown Pasadena.
An oak-shaded creek with cat tails and mountain lion tracks.
Tall grass mixes with prickly pear on this 5.4-mile loop to sprawling ridgeline views of the Santa Ana Mountains, Bell Canyon, and San Juan Canyon.
Climb high above the Pacific on this 6-mile loop over 3,111-foot Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Experience the many moods of the chaparral and wildflowers in bloom en route to an unnamed summit on this 6.8-mile hike in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park.
Escape cookie-cutter suburbia on this 4.5-mile hike or bike through a mix of soaring ridges, lush canyons, and remnants from the ranchero era.
This 8.3-mile lollipop loop quickly ascends 2,500 feet into the coastal hills; bring your camera to capture striking above-the-fog seascapes.
Explore the ranch estate of late cowboy humorist Will Rogers on this 5.4-mile trek among the Pacific Palisades ridgelines of Topanga State Park.
This rigorous but rewarding 9.8-mile out-and-back on the Pacific Crest Trail climbs more than 2,000 feet to a summit with splendid high-desert views.
This 5-mile loop winds through an undisturbed swath of parkland to babbling creeks and fine views across the San Fernando Valley to the San Gabriel Mountains.
This 5.2-mile desert hike is great any time, but spectacular in spring when the Antelope Buttes bloom with native grasses and fire-orange poppies, the California state flower.
Amazing views of Catalina Island and Abalone Cove unfold right from the start of this 5.2-mile hike. Minutes from metro L.A., this quiet wildland is also home to red-tailed hawks.
This 14.4-mile loop starts in a lush canyon framed by a secluded waterfall, then ascends to a mellow ridgeline in the Santa Ana foothills.
A stiff 2,300-foot climb rewards you with monster views and a waterfall swim on this 8.8-mile out-and-back in the Santa Monica Mountains.
This 7.3-mile loop leads to photo-worthy views of the colorful Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, then enters a highland meadow to a tranquil pond.
This 6.6-mile dayhike in Orange Country features scenic ridgelines and lush wooded canyons.
A scattering of rocky outcrops, with their big sky views, offers a surprisingly wild haven within the city limits on this 6.7-mile, figure-8 loop in Topanga State Park.
This 5-mile loop meanders along coastal bluffs and into wetlands in the heart of one of the finest birding spots in the United States.
Cross a rolling ridgeline with great views of Orange County before descending down into the beautiful sycamore-, manzanita-, maple-, and wild zucchini-filled Telegraph Canyon.
This out-and-back beach hike climbs over Point Dume to a coastline littered with tidepools. Tip: Bring snorkel gear and plenty of drinking water.
Escape gridlock on this quick and easy 5.6-mile getaway along a peaceful reservoir with eucalyptus groves and views over Orange County.
Trace the muddy flats and coastal bluffs of Upper Newport Bay and observe a long list of birds on this easygoing 5.9-mile stroll.
Meander through big oaks, sycamores, and pines on this 7-mile, out-and-back hike along a tranquil creek and up Trabuco Canyon for vistas overlooking Cleveland National Forest.
Get the best of two worlds–high ridgeline views and intimate canyon settings–on this moderate 4.8-mile trek in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Wander through old ranching claims now covered with sage scrub and oak woodlands to ridgeline views of Catalina Island and the Santa Ana Mountains on this 10.8-mile loop.
This 4-mile loop boasts canyon views among layers and layers of hills, sandstone cliffs. Look for wild zucchini, thistle, prickly pear cactus, white sage, and raptors.
Squeezed into the extremely rugged landscape of Dick Smith Wilderness, this 5-mile out-and-back features great streamside camping and plenty of solitude.
This 9-miler travels a shady canyon with a handful of creek crossings to lovely picnic getaways in Angeles National Forest.
Beachcomb 11.6 miles up and back on this sandy fin for intimate oceanside views and sweet body-surfing spots.
Escape the city’s bustle by leaving the mainland. This 10.4-mile loop explores the crowd-free hills and beautiful gardens of Santa Catalina Island.
Look for deer, bobcat, and soaring turkey vultures on this 8.8-mile ridgeline hike in Crystal Cove State Park.
Hike one of SoCal’s highest peaks on this 10.4-miler that serves up magnificent views and plenty of high-country beauty in Mt. San Jacinto State Park.
This 14.2-mile hike shows off LA’s flipside: rugged mountains, oak-filled valleys, and miles of quiet trail.
Hike 4.5 miles along Griffith Park’s ridge for commanding views of the Hollywood sign and downtown.
Where do the locals go? To the lovely waterfalls, big ocean views, and hidden ruins on this 4.3-mile dayhike in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Crave big views? Get your fix on this challenging 15-mile dayhike in the San Gorgonio Wilderness and bag SoCal’s third-highest summit.
Want to get higher than a Hollywood star? Shoot up 5,400 feet and scrape the sky on SoCal’s tallest peak on this 13.2-miler in San Gorgonio Wilderness.
Take a weekend for this 21.8-miler, which features a stout 3,000-foot climb up into the foothills and mountains of the San Rafael Wilderness.
Take the Metro to this 4.8-mile loop, then soak up sunny ocean views from the foothills of Will Rogers State Park.
The views over SoCal and the Pacific keep getting better and better during this 2,000-foot climb to the Main Divide of the Santa Ana Mountains.
Lasso together the Pacific Ocean, two deep canyons, and an unnamed high point on this 11.9-mile loop in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Catch killer views of Big Bear Lake and hike a short leg of the Pacific Crest Trail on this 7.8-mile out-and-back to an 8,200-foot peak.
This 8.4-mile out-and-back gains 2,500 feet to unbeatable desert-to-ocean views over the San Jacinto Mountains.
Test your map skills on this moderate 4.7-mile hike into the woodland maze along the Ventura River in El Nido Preserve.
This challenging 10.4-miler climbs past lowland scrubs, a wildfire zone, and several campsites to a tall pine forest in Los Padres National Forest.
Bag four peaks all over 8,000 feet along this 13.8-mile out-and-back with two short off-trail summit scrambles.
This 6.4-mile loop follows trails and jeep roads to Waterman Mountain, where sweeping views of the San Gabriel Wilderness await.
Ascend two rigorous saddles on this 6.3-mile out-and-back up to the unsung Mount Markham and panoramas of the San Gabriels and L.A. basin.
Bag one of the highest peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains.
This 10-mile trek down the East Fork of the San Gabriel River ends at the 120-foot-high Bridge to Nowhere, a popular bungee jumping destination.
Climb over the picturesque north face of Mount Wilson, the site of a historic observatory, on this 11-mile loop in L.A.’s San Gabriel Mountains.
Explore the ruins of historic taverns and watch clouds roll over two 8,000-foot San Gabriel peaks on this 14-mile out-and-back in the Cucumonga Wilderness.
Ascend razor-thin ridgelines and scramble up sheer rock faces on this 10.7-mile loop to Strawberry Peak, one of the most challenging summits in the San Gabriel frontcountry.
Find solitude less than an hour from 20 million Angelenos on a 14-mile out-and-back peppered with fishing spots, waterfalls and rock pools.
Clocking in at 36.5 miles, this trail is a fine choice for hikers to see high desert landscapes, mind-blowing rock formations, and absolutely no one.
Climb 1,400 feet through a shady stretch of the Angeles National Forest on this 7-mile out-and-back that rewards with summit views from 8,250-foot Mount Islip.
Climb to a rocky highpoint in the San Gabriel Mountains on this 6.7-mile dayhike in Devil’s Punchbowl Natural Area.
Just 30 minutes from Los Angeles, this 6.2-mile loop in Ed Davis Park winds through two canyons and tops out on a ridge overlooking the Santa Clarita Valley.
You’ll trace Placerita Creek, pass a natural oil seep, and visit a 15-foot waterfall on this easy-going 4.8-miler in Placerita Canyon Natural Area.
Two days. Forty-two miles. More than 10,000 feet elevation gain climbing 100+ stairways. In Los Angeles? Here’s how one visionary (OK, a slightly obsessed backpacker) started a local-hikes revolution in the epicenter of urban sprawl.
Visit the 100-year-old ruins of a once glamorous resort on this 5.3-mile hike to a 3,207-foot summit in the San Gabriel Mountains.
Scramble across the trailless desert in Joshua Tree's wild northeast corner to inner Basin Pass. BY EMELIE FROJEN
On a warm evening last spring, Elizabeth Thomas joined hundreds of others climbing the stairs that rise up along Adelaide[…]
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