LA Hiking: Where to Go

by Kristine Robinson 11/15/2020

Photo by Hermann Traub via Pixabay

With all the cars on the road in LA, you may not know the city for anything other than its smog. However, there's a lot of natural beauty if you know where to look. Here are three hikes in the city that you won't regret. 

Parker Mesa 

This hike offers spectacular views of both the city and the Pacific, and its summit can be reached from either Topanga Canyon or Pacific Palisades. If you're approaching from the former, you'll be treated to little glimpses of the ocean as you hike about 2.5 miles from the parking lot. As you reach the top, everything gives way to the expanse that is Los Angeles. From Culver City to Santa Monica, on a clear day, you can practically see it all. If you hike from the Palisades, you'll have the Pacific accompanying you for much of the way. (If you can't make it to Parker Mesa, Temescal Canyon offers similar views.) 

Echo Mountain 

Echo Mountain near Pasadena may not seem like much of a natural oasis, especially as you pass by the electrical towers and power lines. However, this 2-mile hike contains the remnants of the Mt. Lowe Railway, making it one of the more historically interesting hikes you can take. Originally meant to be used as a tourist destination, the railroad eventually fell on hard times and was abandoned, but the remains give you a picture-perfect look at the past. Use the echo phone to shout a message that will be heard far and wide.

Escondido Falls 

Down a road that's chocked-full of celebrity homes, you'll find a trail leading to a three-tier waterfall in Malibu. Both Echo Mountain and Parker Mesa are moderately demanding hikes, but this trail is not particularly difficult. You'll cross a few streams along the way, until you reach the falls. This hike is beautiful if it's been raining, but unfortunately, Los Angeles isn't known for its downpours. It's recommend going in the wintertime or early spring after a rain (otherwise the waterfall begins to smell a bit like sulfur.) If you choose to reach the second tier of the waterfall, get ready for a little rock scrambling. 

Hiking in Los Angeles isn't particularly dangerous, even if there are a few mountain lions who share the same space. If you want to hike with a group though, you can find plenty of meet-ups around the city. There are even yoga hikes available, where you can go for a hike, have a session at the top, and then head back down. Luckily, these three suggestions don't even scratch the surface of what's available.

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Kristine Robinson

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