The entertainment capital of the world is famed for its streets lined with palm trees, a second-to-none sunny and mild climate, movie and TV productions, celebrities, chic clubs, a thriving aerospace industry, Hispanic eateries, clogged freeways, sprawling suburbs, surf and skateboarding roots, and much more.
What's often overlooked, however, is the plethora of incredible trail-filled open spaces that lie within the City of Angels and in the mountains surrounding the metro area. Despite the city's phenomenal sprawling growth over the decades, the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains remain virtually the same. In fact, much of the land that was once private, such as the famed Century Ranch, have since been turned over to the county or state, particularly in the Santa Monica Mountains. This has created incredible open preserves that are ready for exploration. And uniquely, many of these public lands are still home to many of the historical artifacts from their previous occupiers such as the Chumash natives, Spanish explorers, earlier ranchers, or from the countless movies filmed throughout the region.
There are certainly plenty of incredible hikes that will get you deep into the backcountry and to the top of the mountain; think Mount Baldy, a hike of 11 miles and 3,830 feet of elevation gain, or Mount Wilson a hike of 13.5 miles and 4,200 feet of elevation gain. Yet there plenty of more accessible and amazing hikes that are less intimidating, kid-friendly, and will let you see the best of the L.A. area.
To get you started, we've put together a list of 15 must-do hikes and parks with extensive trail networks in and around L.A. that will have you itching for more. These featured adventures are perfect excursions for your family and all your friends and quick escapes from the city. Have a look, and please leave comments and photos from your trips at the bottom of the adventure pages.