Very few things are as rewarding as a stunning view at the end of a hike. Sometimes, the destination can be just as worthwhile as the journey, and while we love a good hike in and of itself, a gorgeous vista can be the perfect little treat to end your trek. Or just a nice marker for a rest stop or lunch break. If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you have the opportunity for a vast array of scenic sights, from the expansive Pacific Ocean to lines of skyscrapers to endless rows of mountains. Next time you’re looking to set out into nature, try one of these 10 hikes with some of the best views you can get in L.A.
Situated just off the PCH, Corral Canyon in Malibu offers 1,000 acres with spectacular ocean views. Take the Sara Wan Trail, and you’ll find views of the ocean peaking through the canyon as you make your way up. The viewpoint at the pinnacle of the hike allows for a full, panoramic coastal view from Point Dume to Palos Verdes.
This short but steep Culver City jaunt takes you up 260 feet to view the city. Brave the unrelenting stairs to the popular overlook and on a clear day you’ll be able to see the San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Monica Mountains, L.A. Basin, and even Palos Verdes, all stretched out in front of you. The descending trail is also chock-full of city views to keep you company on your way down. In the mood for more punishment? Do the stairs again!
For stellar views of the L.A. Basin, try Echo Mountain, situated just above Altadena. The views are so great here that a grand hotel once stood at the peak of Echo Mountain, built in the late 1800s, as well as an old observatory. The hotel, its accompanying railroad, and the observatory are all in ruins now, but as you take in the vista, it’s easy to imagine yourself back in time.
There’s a reason Runyon Canyon is one of the most popular hiking spots in the city. With an incline less intimidating than the one at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook but still steep enough to make you work up a sweat, the trail takes you up to where you can see almost all of L.A., with the Downtown skyscrapers poking out of the horizon. On a clear enough day, you can see all the way to the ocean. This is also a terrific spot to catch the sunset — and maybe snag a snapshot of a celeb.
You’ve already got incredible views before you even start your hike here, and signs letting you know exactly what you’ll be seeing once you reach the lookout point. At one of the highest points in the Santa Monica Mountains at over 2,000 feet above sea level, this lookout boasts unrivaled views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa Susana Mountains, and Calabasas. Take in the rugged dips of the canyon from the large graffiti slab that serves as the lookout point.
This westside hike takes you through wide fire roads and profuse oak trees, and finishes with sweeping canyon views. The San Gabriel Mountains and Downtown L.A. are even visible on especially clear days. On this hike you can also visit LA-96C, the site of an old Cold War-era missile defense system — one of 16 that once formed a ring around the city.
This loop trail near Rancho Palos Verdes offers vast oceanic vistas, as well as views of Catalina Island. The Pacific Ocean stays in sight for the duration of your hike, and your trail remains fairly wide and flat. You’ll also probably encounter horses on your trek, as the spot is a popular horseback riding trail.
A Los Angeles staple, Elysian Park is located just northwest of downtown in the Echo Park and Silver Lake neighborhoods., and is the oldest public park in the city. Not even a mile in you get expansive views of the L.A. River and San Gabriel Mountains. As you gain elevation, your view of Downtown L.A. sprouts up through the trees, surrounded by the park’s lush greenery — a juxtaposition worth hiking for.
Griffith Park offers some of the best hiking trails in L.A., and Glendale Peak is no exception. As this hike is seemingly underrated, you’ll have nice quiet seclusion as you look out over the San Gabriel Mountains and even the Pacific Ocean. Right away, you’re greeted by the sights of Downtown skyscrapers and the Greek Theater, and the Observatory is visible shortly after. The panoramic views at the peak are absolutely worth taking the time to soak in.
Shade, waterfalls, and historic ruins are all on offer at Solstice Canyon, as well as as glimpses of the coast along your way. Deep, seemingly endless canyon views are par for the course on this hike, and in wetter years the greenery really thrives in the constantly trickling stream that cuts through the canyon.
Tags: baldwin hills scenic overlook, best views, corral canyon, echo mountain, elysian park, Glendale Peak, hiking in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, los angeles views, mandeville canyon, palos verdes bluff, Runyon Canyon, Solstice Canyon, Topanga Lookout