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10 Scenic Hikes 5 Miles or Less in Los Angeles

August 23, 2018

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.

Directions and full hike info here

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. Charmlee Wilderness Park Trail - Malibu CA

Length: 2-3 mile loop to do the whole park | Level: Easy | Duration: 1-2 hours | Elevation: 260 | Dogs: Yes on leash | Parking: $4

Directions and full hike info here

 

An easy and scenic loop, this park is a spread of trails that all circle around and connect, so it's the perfect place to spend the day and build your own hike. Since this park is rarely ever crowded, it's a great quiet escape with a perfect ocean view, and some shaded tree areas off the main trails to have a picnic. Small parking fee of $4 that maintains the park and nature center.

 

 

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

Directions and full hike info here

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

Directions and full hike info here

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 ciy. 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

Directions and full hike info here

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: 5 miles out and back | Level: Moderate | Duration: 2-3 hours | Elevation: 900 | Dogs: Yes on-leash | Parking fee: $5

Directions and full hike info here

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. Trail Canyon Falls - Tujunga CA

Length: 4.2 miles out and back | Level: Moderate | Duration: 2.5 hours | Elevation: 700 | Dogs: Yes on-leash | Parking fee: none

Directions and full hike info here

About 30 miles northeast of Los Angeles proper lies this hidden gem trail. In the western part of the San Gabriel mountains, Trail Canyon Falls is best seen after a good rainfall month in CA. Visiting sometime in Jan- March will get you these full flowing falls! It's a great hike through the mountains, with this beautiful payoff waiting for you at the end.

 

 

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

Directions and full hike info here

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

Directions and full hike info here

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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