As an avid hiker here in Los Angeles, I often get asked --what are some pretty hikes less than 5 miles that aren't too hard? Well here in SoCal, we're blessed with hundreds of these types of trails that can be visited all year round, too many to put in just one list. Here's 10 of my favorites in the greater Los Angeles area that are all 5 miles or less, easy-to-moderate in level, and offer beautiful scenery and/or a great view.
1. Kenneth Hahn Community Loop Trail - Los Angeles CA
Length: 2.9 mile loop | Level: Easy | Duration: 1-2 hours | Elevation: 305 | Dogs: Yes on-leash
Parking: Free during the week, $6 on weekends at main entrance.
A staple hike of mine right in Los Angeles proper, this loop trail offers sweeping views of Downtown LA, mid-city, Hollywood Hills, and even the ocean on a clear day. There are a couple trails you can mix and match here depending on time, and it's a great trail for dogs and kids as there are several turnoffs and playgrounds along the way. It's central city location makes it easy to get to with plenty of free parking during the weekdays.
2. Captain's Roost Trail, Griffith Park- Los Angeles CA
Length: 3 miles round trip | Level: Easy- Moderate | Duration: 1-2 hours | Elevation: 750
Dogs: Yes on leash | Parking: only if you park at Griffith Observatory
This is a beautiful hike up through the Griffith Observatory to a hidden palm grove at the top of the park. The easiest way to access this trail without parking at the Observatory, is to drive to The Trails Cafe off of Fern Dell drive and park in the parking lot past the cafe or on the street. The trail begins across the street from the cafe in a small park area behind the women’s restroom. This hike is perfect to do in the winter months or overcast day, as there is no shade and can get hot. But the views and palm grove at the top are worth the trek up!
3. Portuguese Bend Reserve Loop - Palos Verdes CA
Length: 3.1 mile loop | Level: Moderate | Duration: 1.5-2.5 hours | Elevation: 855| Dogs: Yes on leash
Parking: Free on nearby streets
Just 30 miles southwest of Los Angeles lies this great little nature reserve on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The park has a couple of trail options all starting at the top of the park descending in. Whichever path you choose, the hikes here will all be inverse-climbing uphill on the way out. The loop trail shown here is a great way to see the whole park along with views all around of the ocean and Catalina Island.
4. Will Rogers Inspiration Point Loop - Los Angeles CA
Length: 2.6 mile loop | Level: Easy | Duration: 1-2 hours | Elevation: 662 | Dogs: Yes on-leash
Parking: free on street, in lot machines charge by hour
Another go-to hike of mine because of it's proximity to things, Will Rogers State Park has a perfect loop trail with views of downtown Los Angeles, and the coast. I often recommend this to tourists and first time visitors looking for a quick easy hike that gives you a good look at the city. Inspiration Point Loop is the trail to do here as it's well marked and perfect for any level hiker and even non-hikers!
5. Temescal Canyon Loop - Los Angeles CA
Length: 2.6 mile loop (5.1 with extension) | Level: Easy-Moderate | Duration: 1-2 hours | Elevation: 860
Dogs: Not on trails, only in the main park areas | Parking: free on street, in lot machines charge by hour
Right down the street from the Will Rogers Loop, is another scenic trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. A bit more popular and crowded, Temescal Canyon is a beautiful hike worth checking out. The basic loop has a quick ascent in the beginning, giving you a nice view of the ocean before descending down into a valley to this pretty bridge crossing with a waterfall during the wet months. A quick extension to Skull Rock off this trail adds an extra couple miles if you are looking for the longer 5 mile version of this hike.
6. Red Rock Canyon to Calabasas Peak Trail - Los Angeles CA
Length: 4.5 miles out and back | Level: Moderate | Duration: 2-3 hours | Elevation: 900 | Dogs: Yes on-leash
Parking fee: $5
Red Rock Canyon is a quaint and picturesque park just off Old Topanga Canyon road in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains. Calabasas Peak is the longer of the two main trails here and worth every step if you're looking for this view and a little bit of a workout. It can be a bit tricky to find, but it's a perfect escape from the city. Check my full write-up on this trail here.
7. Lower Canyonback Trail - Los Angeles, CA
Length: 4.2 miles out and back | Level: Moderate | Duration: 2.5 hours | Elevation: 500
Dogs: Yes on-leash | Parking fee: none
Another staple in the Santa Monica Mountains, this hike is right in the heart of Brentwood and is quick and easy to get to off Sunset Blvd. It's a great one for dogs, and has a few different trails you can follow to create your own set of ascents and descents. On a clear day you can see downtown and the beach!
8. Solstice Canyon Loop Trail - Malibu CA
Length: 3.2 mile loop | Level: Moderate | Duration: 1.5 hours | Elevation: 797 | Dogs: Yes on leash
Parking fee: none
Another favorite in Malibu, Solstice Canyon is most known for old ruins you can see along the first part of the trail including the oldest still-standing stone building in Malibu, a small waterfall and creek, and the remains of a burned down mansion. If you are up for the longer loop, you'll get a nice partly shaded ascent through the canyon and this ocean view!
9. Beacon Hill Loop, Griffith Park - Los Angeles CA
Length: 3.9 mile loop | Level: Easy-Moderate | Duration: 2 hrs | Elevation: 500 | Dogs: Yes on leash
Parking fee: none
Though I have many favorite trails in Griffith Park, this one stands out as a perfect length loop with dramatic views of both downtown Los Angeles and Burbank/Pasadena. You can even see the ocean from here on a clear day! This hike also connects to many other main trails in the park so you can extend or shorten per your preference.
10. Wisdom Tree Trail of Life - Los Angeles CA
Length: 3.1 miles out and back | Level: Moderate | Duration: 1.5 hours | Elevation: 872
Dogs: Yes on leash | Parking: Free on street
Directions and full park info here
To get this view of the Hollywood reservoir, aka Lake Hollywood, all you need to do is visit the Wisdom Tree of Life Trail-- and after a good rain if you want it this clear and colorful. On this short hike just off of Barham near Universal City you'll also find a 9.11 memorial at the top, and a landmark known as the Wisdom Tree.
Hope you enjoyed this list and it inspires you to get out and explore Los Angeles! What were your favorites? Send me a DM or leave me a comment with more suggestions. See you out on the trails!
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