Los Angeles is a hiking mecca, but you may not realize how many amazing trails there are in the city. Famous and trendy hiking sites like Runyon Canyon are often over recommended to newcomers, but trust me when I say there are plenty of other similar, if not better, hikes that are definitely worth checking out! Next time you’re looking for a good trail, try one of these underrated LA hikes instead.
Right in the heart of Beverly Hills, Franklin Canyon offers over five miles of shaded trails that surround the glistening lakes in the center. Trees, chaparral, and a duck pond filled with wildlife make Franklin Canyon one of the best stops for a nature-filled afternoon — especially if you join one of the ranger or docent led tours or presentations at the Visitor Center. And for the bird watching enthusiast, great horned owls and various species of hawk frequent the area.
For spectacular views and a simple out-and-back trail, check out Topanga Canyon Lookout. Not only does this dog-friendly trail boast unrivaled views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the San Fernando Valley, but also has a huge paved lookout platform at the peak to truly enjoy the vistas. The lookout if famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) for being covered in graffiti, adding yet another visual element to the hike.
Once a mountain fire road, this underrated LA hike located in Brentwood now makes for a great excursion for hikers and mountain bikers alike. It’s also a cool historical site: once you reach the summit of San Vicente Mountain, you’ll be able to see and explore the remains of a defunct Cold War-era missile defense site. It’s also hard to beat both beach and city views all at once.
Who doesn’t love a water feature on their nature excursions? Escondido Falls is the tallest waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains, making it the perfect end-of-hike destination. Located just off the PCH, this trail is best for those who are looking for a slightly more rugged hike (think creek-hopping and navigating around fallen oaks). Of course, this trail is at its best after the rainy season.
Yes, we are going to talk about Griffith Park, but even though this trail is in the most popular park in Los Angeles, it’s still a fairly secluded, underrated hike. As the highest point in the park, Cahuenga Peak offers some of the best views of the city from Downtown all the way to Burbank — and the Hollywood Sign! The trail is fairly rugged, and will definitely get your heart rate up in the first mile, but the views are absolutely worth the effort.