Los Angeles Hikes & Beyond

Posted by Adventure 16 | 02.22.2015

From panoramic mountain tops to breezy beach hikes, here are a few of our favorite places for enjoying the beautiful nature and weather of Los Angeles.


Gregg Bakalian, cooling off in Piru Creek
A16 West L.A. Warehouse & Shipping Manager, Gregg Bakalian, cooling off in Piru Creek


Features: Swimming holes; shade, adventure

--Piru Creek (near Ojai, CA).
Length: Any length--up to 14 miles, one way, from Frenchman's Flat to Lake Piru

A WLA staff favorite, this trail is for those who are a little more adventurous and who have some route-finding skills. The (faint) trail follows the creek (sort of), requiring you to go in and out of the water, with some places so deep that you have to swim them. There is lots of shade in the narrow canyon and a really unique ecosystem fed by the creek. “You get absolutely filthy and have to watch out for poison oak, but it's one of the best hikes I've ever done!” –Heather Christianson, WLA Sales Associate. For further reading, here's a link from Heather’s blog on Piru Creek: http://heatherswildandwonderful.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/tromping/

Click here for Driving Directions

Trailhead: From I-5, take the Templin Highway exit and drive up the west-side frontage road (Golden State Hwy-“Old Hwy 99”). Go about two miles past the Oak Flat Campground entrance to a large dirt lot on the left known as Frenchman's Flat.
Also see the Santa Clarita Guide

Sespe CreekWheeler Gorge Campground (near Ojai, CA) 
The gorge where the camp is located is very shady, and is a short drive from some awesome scrambling on the rocks at Piedra Blanca or the Sespe Creek trail, which follows water all the way to some hot springs. The trail and rocks are fully exposed, but you can always retreat to the gorge to cool off.

Driving Directions: From the A16 store in West Los Angeles, take I-405 North for 8.6 miles to Hwy 101 North toward Ventura. Follow 101 for 52.5 miles and take the exit for CA-33 North toward Ojai. Follow CA-33 for approximately 20 miles and the campground will be on the left. 

(Latitude, Longitude): 
34.51194, -119.27361
34°30'43"N, 119°16'25"W 

--Upper Solstice Canyon (6 miles)
This section of the Backbone Trail is hidden far back in a beautiful canyon. Sandstone boulders, seasonal creek and enchanted, sweeping views are visible along the trail. From the top, a climb up Castro Peak is an option.

Driving Directions: From the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, head east onto Corral Canyon Road to a dirt parking area at the end of the road. The trailhead is on the left side of the road, across from the parking area. (Corral Canyon is between Malibu Canyon Road and Kanan Road.)

Beautiful waterfall that can be enjoyed on a hike


Features: Swimming holes; Cooler temps at high altitude
Bear Canyon to Switzer Falls (off of Hwy 2 near Pasadena):
Although you won’t find solitude, this easy, 4.5-mile, shady, out-and-back-trail meanders to a 50-foot waterfall and swimming hole. For a longer hike, continue up Bear Canyon for another couple of miles to Bear Camp.

Trailhead: Begin at Switzer Picnic Area and cross the footbridge leading to the Bear Canyon trailhead.

Click here for Driving Directions: From Interstate 210 in La Canada, take Highway 2 north and drive 10 miles to Switzer picnic area on the right.
Latitude: 34.2663/ Longitude:-118.1436

 Mt. Waterman 
The air is cooler at higher elevations and this hike to the summit of 8038 ft. Mt. Waterman will get you out of the heat! This 6+ mile, moderate loop hike features a 1,330 ft elevation gain, large stands of Incense Cedar and Jeffrey Pine, huge boulder formations and plenty of solitude! An Adventure Pass is needed—available at any Ranger Station or Adventure 16 store.

Click here for Driving Directions (from the Angeles Crest Hwy): Pass the Mt. Waterman ski area and park in the turn off at the north side of the road--just past mile marker 58.02.(You’ve gone too far if you reach the entrance of Buckhorn Campground.)
Latitude: 34.33658 Longitude: -117.93681 
Trailhead: To get to the trail, cross the road to the gated fire road on the south side of the highway. Follow this about 30 feet, and look for the sign for Mt. Waterman Trail on the left. 

View of Bridge to Nowhere hikeBridge to Nowhere
This 10-mile round trip hike sports 900 feet of elevation gain (gradual), rock scrambling, at least four river crossings and several opportunities to stop and swim. Although the hike takes at least six hours to complete and there is no shade, the water features make it worthwhile on a hot day. Go early for less heat and crowds. A wilderness permit and national forest day use pass is required.*

*The permit is free and may be acquired at the trailhead kiosk or from any Angeles National Forest Ranger Station. The Adventure Pass can be purchased at any Angeles Forest Ranger Station or Adventure 16 store

Click here for Driving Directions
To get to the trailhead: Go right on East Fork Road for 5.2 miles. When the road bends sharply to the right, go straight on Camp Bonita Prairie Forks Road for 3/4 mile to the trailhead parking area. 

Latitude: 34.23696, / Longitude: -117.765119 


Great view from the trails of the Santa Monica Mountains


Features: Cooling streams; shade; ocean breezes; night hikes  

--Malibu Creek (4 miles south of Hwy 101 on Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road)
With over 7,000 acres of rolling plains, oak savannahs and dramatic peaks, it is no wonder Malibu Creek is known as "The Yosemite of Southern California." The park is a Chumash Native American archaeological site and has been the location of numerous films and TV shows such as Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H.

Trails:  There are 15 miles of streamside trail through oak and sycamore woodlands on chaparral covered slopes, including:
Rock Pool Trail--3.5 miles round trip with 150-foot elevation gain;
Century Lake Trail--4.5 miles round trip with 200-foot elevation gain
Click here For more info
Click here for Driving Directions

Latitude: 34.1033 / Longitude: -118.7331

Ocean views from Point Dume hikePoint Dume (Malibu)
This easy trail is only 4 miles round trip but should not be overlooked as it is one of the most beautiful hikes in Southern California. The gradual ascending paved trail leads to the top of the point, where you have a stunning view of the Channel Islands and a perfect spot for sighting whales and dolphins. The trail then descends along the coast into Dume Cove and ends at Paradise Cove Pier, a pristine beach and nearby tide pools. (Tip: Make advance reservations at Paradise Cove Beach Café for a highly recommended breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Trailhead: At the end of Westward Beach Road, access to Point Dume Natural Preserve begins from the cul-de-sac. There is a fee to park.
Click here for Driving Directions 
Latitude: 34.00328 / Longitude: -118.80902 

The cascading waters the can be enjoyed during a hike at Escondido Falls in MalibuEscondido Falls (Malibu)
This 4-mile trail through Escondido Canyon Natural Area leads hikers through oak woodland, riparian woodland, and Coastal sage scrub to a three-tiered, 150-foot waterfall (the highest in the Santa Monica Mountains) that gets better and better as you go. 

Click here for Driving Directions 

Trailhead: From the parking lot, walk north along Winding Way East (private road) to the dirt trail that starts at the end of the paved road. Follow the trail along the paved road about a mile to the Escondido Canyon Trailhead sign. Head left, walking upstream. The trail criss-crosses the creek several times and then opens onto grassy flats. A mile into the trail you will reach the lower tier of the waterfall. The trail to the 2nd and 3rd falls is extremely risky as it is steep and narrow and requires some climbing and bouldering. 






Full moon


The beautifully mild weather of Los Angeles allows night hiking to be enjoyed year round, as a wonderful way to cool off after hotter days or to take advantage of the early evening moonrises of autumn and winter. Experience the nature of Los Angeles at night and don’t forget to bring water, bug repellent and a flashlight.

Although some trails close at dusk, most trails can be hiked in the cool of the night. Here are a few to try: 

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Monthly Evening Hikes
Every Tuesday & Wednesday
Time: 7:00 PM to 9:30 PM

Location: Griffith Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA
Click here for more information, maps and a full schedule of more hikes. (Long load time.)

"Meet by 6:45 p.m. in the Upper Merry-Go-Round parking lot (see map below). Hike starts at 7pm. The hikes are approximately 2 hours long. Come early to complete waiver form. (Participants must sign the waiver and must have waiver card with them on hikes.) We break up into hiking groups based on endurance and experience. Sturdy hiking shoes or boots strongly encouraged. Flashlights are optional; a colored filter is recommended to avoid blinding other participants."


Coldwater Canyon in the San Fernando Valley
TreePeople lead moonlight hikes throughout the year in Coldwater Canyon Park, 12601 Mulholland Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210.
Tours start from the Environmental Learning Center - adjacent to the Parking Grove. Free to members. $5/non-members

"Experience Coldwater Canyon in a whole new light with hikes led by TreePeople staff and volunteers. Take in inspiring views of the San Fernando Valley, as the moon rises over coast live oaks and black walnut trees. Listen for owls. Absorb the peace, tranquility and beauty of the canyon trails after sunset."

Contact moonlight@treepeople.org for more information or to RSVP.
Dates and details are available on the TreePeople Moonlight Hikes website.

Topanga Overlook, Pacific Palisades (5 miles round trip), 1200'elevaton gain/loss 
See the city glittering beneath the full moon. 
Driving Directions:
From Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, take Sunset Blvd North 0.3 mile to Paseo Miramar, on the left. Park at the end of the street.

Trailhead address: 899 Paseo Miramar, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Trailhead coordinates: 34.050803, -118.557169
Visit Hikespeak.com to read more about this hike.



Beautiful view along the hike from Lake Sabrina to Midnight Lake


Lake Sabrina to Midnight Lake, Inyo National Forest, Bishop
This 12-mile out-and-back hike traverses from Lake Sabrina, past numerous alpine meadows and waterfalls, to Midnight Lake, framed by the 13,000-foot peaks of the Evolution Region. 

Directions: From the trail head off of Hwy 168, take the Sabrina Basin Trail. You'll quickly leave the sagebrush and climb through a forest of lodgepole pines. At mile 4.5 you'll pass Blue Lake, an excellent place for trout fishing and swimming. From here, the trail winds past a series of meadows and smaller lakes until you reach Midnight Lake, framed by the granite peaks of mounts Darwin, Haeckel, and Wallace. This hike follows well-used trails, however length and altitude make it strenuous. --Katy Andrade, Customer Service and Sales
Adventure 16 Wholesale



Hiking and other wilderness activities are potentially dangerous and unpredictable. Adventure 16 assumes no liability for injuries associated with the use of information provided on this site. The trails, activities and areas described on this site are to be used for informational purposes only and should not be your sole source of guidance. Always thoroughly research any outdoor area you plan to visit using various resources--including contacting local ranger stations--to obtain the most up to date information for your destination. Contact your physician if you are unsure about your health or physical abilities.

If you discover any of the information to be inaccurate, please contact us at info@adventure16.com so that we may correct the problem. THANK YOU!