10 Best Shady SoCal Hikes For Summer

Just because the weather is getting hotter doesn’t mean our love for hikes is going away! Sometimes a few hours on the trail is the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

Getting sunburned and overheated isn’t exactly anyone’s favorite summer activity, though. Luckily there are plenty of SoCal hikes that are shady enough that they make great day excursions without exposing you to too much sunshine (generally speaking, of course — you’re still gonna spend some time in the sun on these!). It’s important to remember that even though these hikes are shady, you still need to bring plenty of water and slather on the sunscreen. Hats are your friend, too. We’ve got some more general rules for hiking when it’s hot out here, as well as three elements to keep in mind when you’re choosing your summer hikes. 

A staircase in the woods at Franklin Canyon

Franklin Canyon

Located just outside of Beverly Hills, Franklin Canyon is great for keeping you cool without leaving you hanging for boring sights. Stay shaded under a canopy of trees as you loop around the reservoir — keep your eyes peeled for birds (especially ducks), a grove of evergreen trees, and plenty of picnic spots off the loop. 

Solstice Canyon

Take the 3.2 mile shaded path that follows the creek bend for a longer, more challenging hike that will still keep you out of the sun. A running stream also makes for the perfect cool-off spot. 

Red Rock Canyon Park

Deep in the Santa Monica Mountains, Red Rock Canyon Park boasts plenty of trees, and the mountains themselves provide ample shade once you’re in the heart of the canyon. 

Devil’s Canyon

Hike this wooded canyon all the way to the (sometimes) flowing Devil’s Canyon creek on this hike in the San Gabriel Wilderness. Looming sycamores and Douglas firs make up the most of the trees on your path. 

Dawn Mine

Head out to Angeles National Forest for this historic hike. The north slope part of the canyon gets the most shade, thanks to thick oaks and sycamores. 

Mill Creek Canyon

Lines of pine trees and some cedar groves keep you shaded as you make your way to a number of different waterfalls. This trek takes you upstream via the dry stream bed, truly making you feel like one with nature.

Icehouse Canyon

Canyons are really our friends when it comes to hot weather hikes! This last canyon hike boasts a dense woodland that immediately takes your mind off of SoCal — and the heat. 

Murphy Ranch

Want a little history with your hike? Head to the ruins of an old Nazi sympathizer compound while under the cover of sylvan shade for a beautiful and educational summer afternoon. 

Betty B. Dearing Trail

This moderately challenging hike takes you over a few different creeks to the “Rainforest,” a beautiful shaded grove of trees perfect for a respite from the hot sun. Catch stunning mountain views through the occasional clearings. 

Palomar Mountain State Park

Of the various trails you can take at Palomar Mountain State Park, the Doane Valley Nature Trail is perfect for summer. A running creek, tranquil forest, and bustling pond all make for a tranquil summer afternoon outing.




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