Whether you are new to LA, on vacation or an original Angeleno, hiking is all the rage! From the picture opportunities to the health benefits, what is there not to like?
There are many hikes around Los Angeles but here is summary of my favorites, suitable for all fitness levels.
Within walking distance from my apartment, Runyon Canyon had to come top of the list, for convenience if nothing else. But Runyon does have a lot more to offer. There are two hikes to choose from, I am still yet to tackle the longer path, partly due to time, partly due to laziness. I can complete the shorter path in under 45 minutes which makes Runyon the perfect hike before an action packed Saturday. The steepness of the practically vertical steps pushes my body and never seems to get easier despite completing this hike most weekends. Be warned, this hike is not for the faint hearted.
Once I’ve caught my breath and wiped the sweat from my eyes, the view from the top is breathtaking. I could hike Runyon everyday and still get overwhelmed by the spectacular views stretching from Beverly Hills to DTLA and beyond. No photo I have ever taken has managed to capture the beauty of being stood at the top of the mountain looking over a sunny Los Angeles. Being at the top is also great for snooping at posh houses and dreaming of the future. If the LA property market ever crashes and saves us from a life of extortionate rent! One can hope!
Be sure to put on your best work-out gear for this one! You will be hiking among Hollywood’s amateur actresses, athletes and women whose bodies rival that of a Victoria Secret’s model.
Best for: a strenuous work out.
Los Liones Canyon
Hiking in the Santa Monica mountains is a must for any outdoor enthusiast. Los Liones Canyon trail is not too taxing, although the path is a little overgrown which makes a romantic hand holding stroll off the cards. You might also want to wear long trousers to avoid jumping out of your skin each time a leaf brushes your leg.
Dogs are off-limits at this park so leave your pet pooch at home. I promise when you reach the top it will be worth it. The hike is at a slight incline the whole way to the top but nothing a beginner could not manage, so if you are new to town or on holiday this hike provides the perfect slow and steady Sunday morning stroll, just make sure you head out before it gets too hot.
Without doubt Los Liones Canyon provides one of the best coastal views I have ever seen. At the top there is plenty of seating to sit back and take in the scenery. I couldn’t help but wish we had packed a picnic or a bottle of wine to really make the most of the picturesque landscape and far-reaching sea views.
But be sure to watch out for mountain lions!
Best for: free parking and sea views.
Set among the houses of the rich and famous, the Hollywood Reservoir provides less of a hike and more of a romantic setting for a slow stroll or a flat surface for any avid runners out there. Myself not included.
Once you’ve managed to find the place and bag a parking spot the walk feels longer than it looks so ensure you have a couple of hours spare before hitting the track. The trail provides a slow pace, unless running of course and with no hill to climb or steps to drag your aching body up there is no real sense of achievement once you have completed the circuit. But with that said the view of the lake and the Hollywood sign is worth the trip and if you enjoy being outdoors without putting in too much effort then this is the one for you.
Best for: a slow pace.
Probably the most tourist saturated hike in Los Angeles, but with a wide path and plenty of trails this park never appears over crowded, apart from when you are trying to find a parking space, and for an impatient person with a hectic schedule of restaurant reservations this can often put me off!
On a rare day with no plans and no set time to be home, we enjoy hiking up to Griffith Park. You will often pass by a pony trek from the local ranch or a group of lost tourists trying to find the observatory. The hike is suitable for all fitness levels due to the many different paths and the option to easily turn around whenever you have seen enough.
The view of the Hollywood sign is the best from here and the nature is undisturbed and beautiful. With views across Los Angeles on one side and the depths of the valley on the other you can really feel like you are on top of the world.
Be careful of the cyclists as they whiz down the hill, nearly taking out everyone in their path.
Best for: variety