X

GREEN markers are short nature trails, gently-graded pathways, and routes that are relatively easy.

X

BLUE markers designate the “moderate” difficulty hikes. These trails may be lengthy, or have areas of intense elevation gain. They may require some scrambling, but most of these trails are easy day hikes that can be done by anyone in fairly decent shape.

X

RED markers are for the “strenuous” trails. These are long, leg-busting paths that will require lots of time and effort. Some of these trails may venture through dangerous areas and require river crossings, backcountry orienteering, or more serious rock scrambling. In other words, if it’s your first time on the trail, don’t pick one of these.

NOTE
Please be aware that areas of wilderness in Southern California are often closed due to wildfires.

Several trails on this list are off-limits to hikers until further notice.

For the most up to date information I have, please visit the FIRE CLOSURES page.


Angeles National Forest

The first National Forest in California, the Angeles National Forest is more than 655,000 acres of outdoor space right in L.A.’s backyard. From untamed rivers, ruins of turn-of-the-century resorts, and rugged, pine-filled canyons to the top of 10,064 foot Mount Baldy, the Angeles has almost 700 miles of trails and five designated Wilderness Areas to explore. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Mount Lowe from Red Box 6.1 1206 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Jones Peak via Bailey Canyon 6.4 2215 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Smith Mountain 6.6 1843 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Lewis Falls on Soldier Creek 1 250 Moderate Spring, Fall, Summer
Placerita Canyon Firebreak Trail 6.9 1644 Moderate-Difficult All
Mount Islip 7 1627 Moderate Spring, Fall, Summer
Throop Peak and Mount Hawkins 6 1219 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Summer
Mount Baden-Powell 8 2807 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
Bighorn Peak and Ontario Peak 13.9 3710 Difficult Fall, Summer
Mount Wilson – Devore Trail Camp Loop 10.5 2814 Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
East Fork of San Gabriel River to the Bridge to Nowhere 10.1 800 Difficult Fall, Summer
Mount Markham 6.3 1023 Moderate-Difficult All
Waterman Mountain Loop 6.2 1225 Moderate Fall, Summer
Kratka Ridge 1.6 700 Easy Fall, Summer
Mount Akawie 1.4 400 Easy-Moderate Fall, Summer
Winston Ridge and Winston Peak 4.34 720 Moderate Fall, Summer
Mount Lukens via Haines Canyon 8.5 3018 Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Shortcut Canyon to West Fork Camp 7.23 1550 Moderate All
Santa Anita Canyon 9.1 1600 Moderate All
Sunset Peak 7.8 1300 Moderate Fall, Summer
The Devil’s Chair 7.5 594 Moderate All
Iron Mountain (#2) 6 1300 Moderate All
Mount San Antonio (Mount Baldy) and Mount Harwood 10.33 3950 Very Difficult Fall, Summer
Echo Mountain and Inspiration Point 10.4 2740 Moderate All
Mount Hillyer 5.76 950 Moderate Spring, Fall, Summer
Mount Wilson Via the Winter Creek Trails 13.3 3800 Difficult All
Mount Gleason 7.3 1000 Moderate All
Strawberry Peak 11.2 2600 Very Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
Pacifico Mountain 12.6 2180 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
Icehouse Canyon 7 2655 Moderate Spring, Fall, Summer
Mount Mooney and Vetter Mountain 6.5 640 Moderate Spring, Fall, Summer
Fox Mountain 11.7 2770 Very Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Switzer Falls and Bear Canyon 6.8 689 Moderate All
Mount Lukens via Stone Canyon 9.2 3123 Difficult All
Burkhart Trail to Burkhart Saddle 15 2440 Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
Josephine Peak 8 1900 Moderate All
Condor Peak via Trail Canyon 16 4000 Difficult All
San Gabriel Peak 3.75 1185 Moderate All
Thunder Mountain and Telegraph Peak via Three Tees Trail 13.5 3525 Difficult Fall, Summer
Mount Lawlor 4.44 1201 Moderate-Difficult All
Timber Mountain via Icehouse Canyon 9.4 3400 Moderate-Difficult All
Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon 12 3800 Difficult Fall, Summer

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

There are 110 miles of exquisite desert hiking trails in this, the second largest state park in the lower 48. The park features native palm oases, desert bighorn sheep, slot canyons, Native American history and more - along with no-fee, dispersed wilderness camping in nearly all of its 600,000 acres. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Borrego Palm Canyon 3 520 Easy Spring, Fall, Winter
Ghost Mountain and Pictograph Trail 14.7 778 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter
Anza-Borrego State Park: Calcite Mine 4 120 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: Hellhole Canyon 5 900 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter

City Parks

Los Angeles isn’t known for its vast city parks, but it is dotted by pockets of beautiful green spaces tucked away amid the urban sprawl. Whether they’re behind stadiums, atop old reservoirs, or behind Hollywood mansions, there’s probably a trail right in your neighborhood. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Saddleback Butte State Park 4.8 1081 Easy-Moderate Spring
Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook 1.25 342 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Kenneth Hahn Community Loop Trail 2.6 243 Easy-Moderate Spring, Winter
Franklin Canyon – Reservoir Loop 1.4 100 Easy All
Franklin Canyon – Hastain Loop 2.7 617 Easy-Moderate All
Ernest E. Debs Regional Park 5.2 400 Easy-Moderate All
Angel’s Point 2.8 200 Easy All
Elysian Park West Loop 2.4 194 Easy All
Corralitas Rail Path 1.6 0 Easy All
Vasquez Rocks 3.4 310 Moderate All
Antelope Valley California Poppy Preserve 3.3 230 Easy Spring
Eaton Canyon 3.76 400 Easy-Moderate All
Verdugo Mountains 5.8 1368 Moderate All
Fryman Canyon 3 463 Easy-Moderate All
Runyon Canyon 3 675 Easy-Moderate All

Death Valley National Park

Just east of the snow-packed Eastern Sierras lies the hottest, lowest, driest, and largest National Park in the lower 48. Cool weather visitors are treated to an otherworldly landscape of sand dunes, badlands, and hidden oases riddled with landmarks of shocking human perseverance, while overnight visitors are rewarded with some of the clearest night skies on the planet. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch to Zabriskie Point 6 875 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Darwin Falls 2 20 Moderate Spring, Winter
Salt Creek 0.5 0 Easy Spring, Winter
Badwater Basin 1 20 Easy Spring, Winter

Eastern Sierra Nevada

The favorite stomping grounds of John Muir, the Eastern Sierra is home to some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the country - jagged peaks, glacial lakes, rushing rivers, and huge aspen groves. Home to Mount Whitney, the tallest peak in the lower 48, and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, the oldest living things on the planet, this region is popular with mountaineers, climbers, campers, and hikers alike. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Mount Whitney 22 6130 Very Difficult Summer
Devil’s Postpile 6 548 Easy-Moderate Summer

Griffith Park

Home to the Hollywood Sign, the Griffith Park Observatory, the original Batcave ... and more than 53 miles of trails in 4310 acres of surprisingly rugged terrain. This is one of the largest urban parks in North America and it’s right in the middle of L.A. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Beacon Hill in Griffith Park 2.9 556 Easy-Moderate All
Hollywood Reservoir 3.3 50 Easy All
Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak 3 872 Moderate-Difficult All
Griffith Park – Bee Rock and the Old L.A. Zoo 3.8 574 Moderate All
Griffith Park – Mount Hollywood 3.8 807 Moderate All
Griffith Park – Mount Lee to the Hollywood Sign 6.5 1098 Moderate All

Joshua Tree National Park

The closest National Park Unit to Los Angeles, Joshua Tree is known as one of the world’s best rock climbing areas, but the desert hiking is fantastic, too. Straddling the transition zone between high and low deserts, trails here climb up prominent peaks, meander through cactus gardens, reach hidden oases, and wander near the ruins of ghost towns. Fantastic stargazing and wilderness camping make this park a must-visit in the cooler months. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Lost Palms Oasis 7 491 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Wonderland Ranch and the Wall Street Mill 3 20 Easy Spring, Fall, Winter
Hidden Valley 1 20 Easy Spring, Fall, Winter
The Maze 6.5 400 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Barker Dam Loop 1.8 70 Easy All
Ryan Mountain 2.9 1070 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Inspiration Peak 1.2 400 Easy-Moderate All
Queen Mountain 4 1121 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Winter

Los Padres National Forest

A huge stretch of National Forest that runs from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara and northern Los Angeles County, the Los Padres is an enormous area with a wide variety of outdoor activities from boating to surfing to condor-viewing. There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails in its 1.7 million acres, including the drop-dead gorgeous Big Sur Coast. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Junipero Serra Peak 12 3724 Difficult All
Sespe Creek 9 190 Easy-Moderate All
Backpacking Matilija Creek 13.92 1312 Moderate All

Pinnacles National Park

A small, recently-named National Park, this 26,000 acre hidden gem full of caves, lakes, California Condors, and strange rocky formations is a great road trip. This park features fantastic day hiking trails, campgrounds, and a fascinating geologic history - along with gorgeous wildflower displays in the spring and early summer. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Bear Gulch in Pinnacles National Park 1.51 240 Easy All
Condor Gulch in Pinnacles National Park 2 541 Easy All
High Peaks Loop in Pinnacles National Park 9.3 1465 Moderate Spring

San Bernardino National Forest

Higher in elevation than the Angeles, the nearly 824,000 acre San Bernardino National Forest offers a more alpine experience - including dramatic waterfalls, ski areas, mountain lakes, large tracts of conifer forest, and the 11,499 foot-tall San Gorgonio Mountain - the tallest in Southern California. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Mount San Jacinto via Mountain Station 11.5 2190 Moderate-Difficult All
San Gorgonio Mountain via South Fork Trail 24.8 4608 Difficult Fall, Summer
Bertha Peak 7.96 1289 Moderate Spring, Fall, Summer
Snowshoeing Pine Knot Trail 6.11 904 Moderate All
Bighorn Peak and Ontario Peak 13.9 3710 Difficult Fall, Summer
Thunder Mountain and Telegraph Peak via Three Tees Trail 13.5 3525 Difficult Fall, Summer
Dry Lake Backpacking – San Gorgonio Wilderness 14 2605 Difficult Fall, Summer
Timber Mountain via Icehouse Canyon 9.4 3400 Moderate-Difficult All
Cucamonga Peak via Icehouse Canyon 12 3800 Difficult Fall, Summer

Santa Monica Mountains

At more than 154,000 acres, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is the largest urban national park in the world. Home to hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, camping and more - this park features everything from majestic Pacific Ocean views to native California grassland and historic ranches. An invaluable SoCal outdoor resource. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Corral Canyon 2.5 537 Easy-Moderate All
Escondido Falls 4 416 Moderate Spring, Summer
Red Rock Canyon to Calabasas Peak 4.6 1066 Easy-Moderate All
Trebek Open Space 2.9 421 Easy-Moderate All
Temescal Canyon to Skull Rock 4.6 1135 Moderate All
Franklin Canyon – Reservoir Loop 1.4 100 Easy All
Franklin Canyon – Hastain Loop 2.7 617 Easy-Moderate All
Towsley Canyon 5.3 1105 Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Castro Crest and Bulldog Road – Malibu Creek State Park 7.6 1250 Moderate All
Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa 7.28 1292 Moderate All
Charmlee Wilderness Park 2.84 272 Easy-Moderate All
Malibu Creek 8 224 Moderate All
Fryman Canyon 3 463 Easy-Moderate All
Mugu Peak 5.2 1255 Moderate Spring
Rocky Peak 5 1119 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Sycamore Canyon 11.4 1100 Moderate Spring
La Jolla Canyon 7.5 1100 Easy-Moderate Spring
Eagle Rock and Temescal Peak 7.4 926 Easy-Moderate Spring, Fall, Winter
Solstice Canyon 6 800 Easy-Moderate All
Runyon Canyon 3 675 Easy-Moderate All
Grotto Trail 3 600 Easy-Moderate All
Mishe Mokwa Trail to Tri-Peaks and Sandstone Peak 7.1 1730 Moderate All

Yosemite National Park

One of the most visited, most famous, and most gorgeous parks in the United States, Yosemite is a must-see for anyone who loves the outdoors. Jaw-dropping granite cliffs, towering waterfalls, Giant Sequoia groves and alpine meadows are just some of the wonders awaiting anyone who wants to make the trip. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Yosemite National Park – Chilnualna Falls 7.6 2347 Moderate Fall, Summer
Yosemite National Park – Bridalveil Falls 0.5 20 Easy All
Cathedral Lakes – Yosemite National Park 7 1101 Moderate Fall, Summer
North Dome and Indian Rock – Yosemite National Park 9.5 933 Moderate-Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
The Panorama Loop – Yosemite National Park 12.8 3124 Difficult Summer

Zion National Park

Although this park is in southwestern Utah, it’s only a slightly longer drive than Yosemite and definitely within reach of L.A. road-trippers. This gorgeous park’s majestic topography is formed by the intersection of three distinct geologic areas and features the dizzying Angel’s Landing and world-famous Subway trails. View area page »

Trail Name Distance Elev. Gain Difficulty Season
Zion National Park – Observation Point 8 2120 Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
Zion National Park – Riverside Walk 2 50 Easy Spring, Fall, Summer
Zion National Park – Canyon Overlook Trail 1 140 Easy Spring, Fall, Summer
Zion National Park – Angel’s Landing 5 2488 Difficult Spring, Fall, Summer
Zion National Park – Emerald Pools via Kayenta Trail 2.3 300 Easy Spring, Fall, Summer