Take a Hike: Local Trails for the Outdoor Enthusiast
Connecting with nature might not be the first thing you associate with visiting West Hollywood. But locals know: Los Angeles is bursting with scenic trails and spectacular views. In other words, it’s a great place to take a hike!
If you’re unfamiliar with the area, start with a guided tour. Bikes and Hikes LA will get your heart pumping. On a Rock ‘n Walk & Jogging Tour, veteran musician Jon D’Amico provides juicy stories about the Sunset Strip’s glory days – you might even forget you’re sweating.
Runyon Canyon, Griffith Observatory, Bronson Canyon, Fryman Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon has several draws – its natural beauty, stunning views of mid-city and downtown, and its proximity to Hollywood, which means it’s often chock full of starlets climbing their way to the top.
One of the most iconic venues in Los Angeles is Griffith Observatory, an Art Deco masterpiece completed in 1935. Named for Griffith J. Griffith, who donated the land for the park and funds for the building, it houses a famous planetarium (part of “Rebel Without a Cause” was shot there). It’s also an excellent spot to see the Hollywood sign.
Each month, the Observatory offers a (free!) Sunset Walk & Talk led by a park ranger and a museum guide. The hour-long hike starts and ends on the Observatory’s West Terrace, and covers about half a mile. You’ll make stops along the way to hear about Griffith Park’s history and to see objects in the evening sky.
Join the upcoming hikes on March 13, April 17, May 15 or June 12. Of course, you can hike in the park on your own schedule, then visit the Observatory. Admission is free.
A more secluded part of Griffith Park is Bronson Canyon, sometimes called Bronson Caves – a reference to an old rock quarry that dug the caves before closing down in the 1920s. The ruggedly austere exterior has served as a shooting location for many films and TV shows.
The name Mulholland Drive might make you think of director David Lynch. But the street itself borders Fryman Canyon Park, a 122-acre enclave in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains. Get set for stunning views, a fitness course and access to the Betty B. Dearing Cross Mountain Trail, which connects to Wilacre Park, Franklin Canyon and Coldwater Canyon Park.
Temescal Gateway Park & Malibu
One of the most popular parks in the Santa Monica Mountains is Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades. With more than 100 acres of oak and sycamore canyons, there is also access to miles of trails in Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park and a 20,000-acre area known as “Big Wild.”
No visit to LA is complete without spending time in Malibu and a hike in Solstice Canyon is truly unforgettable. Take a shady stroll along the Solstice Canyon Trail or a more challenging climb up the Rising Sun Trail.
Near the perennial waterfall (a must-see) are stone and brick ruins of the Roberts ranch house, designed by architect Paul Revere Williams in 1952. A prolific designer, Williams was the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects.
Another gorgeous place to explore: Zuma and Trancas Canyons. Zuma comes from the Chumash word for abundance and you will certainly see plenty of natural beauty here. And you can go horseback riding.
For something a bit more exotic, check out some of the cool offerings from Malibu Wine Hikes. For example, you can take a guided group hike and feed a giraffe. Enjoy a 2.5 mile moderate hike through a vineyard and private estate, then shuttle over to the tasting room for a flight of wine.