Take a hike
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Los Angeles? Well, probably traffic but that’s because everyone’s on their way into the mountains to hike, right? Eh, likely not, but let’s pretend that’s the case because it most certainly should be. L.A. is absolutely teeming with incredible trails that you need to put on your weekend to-do list and no, we’re not talking Runyon Canyon here. Whether you’re in search of stellar ocean views, waterfalls or the setting of M.A.S.H (this is L.A., after all), we’ve compiled a list of our favorite hikes. Plain and simple.
In Los Angeles, you should absolutely go chasing waterfalls (only when they’re flowing, though). The 3.8-mile round trip hike to Escondido Falls begins just off of PCH in Malibu, bringing you to one of Southern California’s most wondrous sites. Make your way through Malibu’s lush foliage, small river crossings and soaring trees to the first waterfall, the second, then—for the grand finale—the main Escondido Falls. Welcome to a true fairytale.
Los Liones to Parker Mesa
If you’re looking for a longer hike, check out the Los Liones Trail in Pacific Palisades that brings you on an epic 7.3-mile round-trip route to Parker Mesa in Topanga. Wander through Los Liones’ incredibly verdant and gently graded setting then, when you’re ready to blast off, ascend a butt-kicking 1,525 feet to Parker Mesa. Here, take a moment—or minutes, hours, whatever—to drink in panoramic ocean and San Bernardino Mountain views. To be honest, these vistas might be the best in the biz.
Malibu Creek State Park
For some real topographical excitement, Malibu Creek State Park is your place. Complete with lakes, rivers, massive boulders (which make for killer rock climbing), unique flora and gnarly trees, this park is a true feast for the eyes. We suggest hiking up to the original M.A.S.H set an easy 4.75-mile round-trip journey that showcases an awesome bit of Hollywood history. Be sure to bring your phone or camera and snap some sweet shots in front of the deserted trucks.
Mische Mokwa to Sandstone Peak
For a moderate hike with breathtaking views of the Pacific, start on the Mische Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak. Nearly 6 miles round trip, this hike takes you to the highest point of the Santa Monica Mountains (so you know the rewards are high). Whether you’re a novice or pro on the trail, this route—which features a wide variety of landscapes, jagged peaks and riparian canyons along the way—undoubtedly appeals to all.
The hike to Solstice Canyon is definitely popular, but don’t let that stop you. This 6-mile trail takes about two hours, bringing you through a shaded canyon past the oldest standing stone structure and oldest living tree in Malibu—cool, right? Follow it all the way to the ruins of a 1950s mansion known as the Tropical Terrace House, built by renowned architect Paul Revere Williams, which is located beside a small and multi-tiered waterfall. Nothing like dipping your feet in some cool water before heading back down.