Springtime is hiketime! With more daylight hours per day and sunny, not-too-hot weather, this time of the year is perfect to explore the nature around LA. The city is surrounded by several State and National Parks that deliver on panoramic views, wildlife, and interesting sights.

1. Murphy Ranch
Capri Drive & Casale Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

  1. Starting Bus Stop: Gayley Avenue and Strathmore Drive
    Board the Metro Bus #2/302 (towards Sunset-P.C.H.)
  2. Get off the bus at Sunset Boulevard and Capri Drive.
  3. Walk 12 minutes to Capri Drive & Casale Road

This 3.85 mile hike is a trip to a largely unknown chapter of LA’s past. In Rustic Canyon, you can find the remains of Murphy Ranch, several buildings that were built by a group of Nazi sympathizers in the 1930s. Nowadays, you’ll find a couple of slightly eerie abandoned buildings, covered in graffiti. The canyon is serene and quiet, and has lots of lush greenery.

murphy ranch

2. Griffith Park, Mount Hollywood Hike
2800 East Observatory Road, Los Angeles, California 90027

  1. Starting Bus Stop: Gayley Avenue and Strathmore Drive Board the Metro Local Line 2 (towards Sunset/Alvarado)
  2. Exit on Sunset Boulevard & Virgil
  3. Walk to Hillhurst Avenue & Hollywood Boulevard (1 min.)
  4. Take the Dash Griffith Observatory
  5. Exit on Griffith Observatory and walk to 2800 East Observatory Road

Griffith Park offers a vast network of trails with a total distance of 53 miles. You can combine your hike with a visit of Griffith Park Observatory. General admission as  well as parking is free. There is a fee if you'd like to visit the planetary. There are several trails starting right at the Observatory parking lot. One of the most rewarding hikes in the park is the trail leading from the lot to the summit of Mount Hollywood, the highest peak of the park, which affords spectacular views of the entire Los Angeles Basin. There's plenty of wildlife in the park, you might be able to see wild quail, foxes, coyotes and deer.

griffith-park-observatory

3. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook and Stairs
Hetzler Road & Jefferson Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232

  1. Starting Bus Stop: Westwood Plaza and Westwood Medical Plaza
    Board the Culver City Bus 6 (towards Aviation/Imperial.)
  2. Get off the bus at Sepulveda Boulevard and Sawtelle Boulevard.
  3. Board Culver City Bus 4 (towards Inglewood/Washington)
  4. Get off the bus at Jefferson Boulevard and Holdrege Avenue
  5. Walk to Hetzler Road & Jefferson Boulevard

On a steep hill south of Culver City, the Baldwin Hills Overlook offers a 1.25 mile dirt path, as well as one of the most challenging staircases you might ever see. You can choose to hike or run up the dirt path, or take the enormous stone stairs for some serious leg workout. On top of the hill, you’ll be rewarded with views of the Los Angeles Basin from Santa Monica Bay to the west, across the Hollywood Hills all the way towards downtown Los Angeles.

 stairs

4. East Sepulveda Fire Road in Getty View Park
1399 Casiano Road, Los Angeles, CA 90049

  1. Starting Bus Stop: Westwood Boulevard / Le Conte Avenue
    Board the Metro Rapid Line 761 (towards Pacoima)
  2. Get off the bus at Sepulveda Boulevard / Getty Center
  3. Walk to 1399 Casiano Road.

On this 3 mile round-trip hike you’ll enjoy great views of the Getty Museum above the 405 Freeway and the west side of Los Angeles. The wide dirt trail crosses a protected section of the Santa Monica Mountains called Getty View Park, and is 1.5 miles from end to end. Dogs on a leash are permitted on this trail. In case you haven’t visited the Getty Museum yet, this might be a great opportunity. The bus stops right at the museum, admission is free. The Getty building features unique architecture and hosts a variety of different art exhibitions. The gardens around the Getty Museum are a popular destination for weekend picnics.

getty

5. Westridge Trail to San Vicente
Westridge Road & West Mandeville Fire Road, Los Angeles, CA 90049

  1. Starting Bus Stop: Gayley Avenue and Strathmore Drive
    Board the Metro Local Line 2 (towards Sunset/P.C.H.)
  2. Get off the bus at Sunset Boulevard / Mandeville Canyon Road
  3. Hike or bike 2.5 miles to Westridge Road & West Mandeville Fire Road

This 7.4 mile round-trip hike is great for hikers and runner, but it's also a good route for mountain-biking. Dogs are allowed off-leash. You can switch back and forth between a dirt track and the main fire road. During the cold war, San Vicente mountain was a military installation to defend L.A. against Russian missiles. You can still visit the old site, and information panels give you some more background information.

nike

6. Hollywood Sign Hike
2800 Canyon Drive, Los Angeles

  1. Starting Bus Stop: Gayley Avenue and Strathmore Drive
    Board the Metro Local Line 2 (towards Sunset/Alvarado)
  2. Exit on Sunset Boulevard & Vine Street
  3. Take the Dash Beachwood Canyon
  4. Exit on Beachwood Drive & Westshire DriveWalk to 2800 Canyon Drive

This hike is a great opportunity for you to combine LA sightseeing with a hike and some quality time outdoors. To get to the trail, follow Canyon Drive into the park all the way to where it dead-ends.  Park for free in the last parking lot on your left. This hike is a 5 mile round tripon a wide, steep trail that rises from  the canyon floor.  At the top of the hill, you can admire a view of the city on one  side and the valley on the other.  Follow the road to your left  which dead-ends in about a mile just above and behind the Hollywood Sign.  A  fence keeps you at a distance of about twenty feet.  You can hike back down the way you came or for a more adventurous descent, take one  of the rough ridge trails back to the Brush Canyon Trail.
*Disclaimer*: The gate to this trail is closed for renovation starting late March for five weeks.

hollywood sign

7. Will Rogers State Park, Inspiration Point Loop
14253 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California

  1. Starting Bus Stop: Gayley Avenue and Strathmore Drive Board the Metro Local Line 2 (towards Sunset/P.C.H.)
  2. Get off the bus at Sunset Boulevard / Evans Road
  3. Walk to 14253 Sunset Boulevard

The Park was originally the estate of 1920s movie star Will Rogers. The ranch-style house, as well as the stables and polo ground are still intact. The house is in its original condition, including furniture; It's definitely worth a visit. In the summer, you can watch polo games on the weekends. The stable offers guided horseback tours on the surrounding trails (Groupon sometimes offers discounts). The manicured, green lawn on the property is also great for picknicks. There are various hiking paths starting at Will Rogers Park. Inspiration Point Loop is one of the easier hikes with a total length of 2.2 miles. The hike will take you about an hour, so you have time to visit the Will Rogers estate.

Will_Rogers_State_Park__Pacific_Palisades_California_interior_of_home

8. Eagle Rock Topanga Trail
20829 Entrada Road, Topanga Canyon, CA 90290. No public transit.

Topanga is a 40 minute drive away, but it’s well worth the trip. Carpool with friends to save on gas. You can either park in the paid lot at the state park entrance, or find free street parking. Topanga is one of LA’s most beautiful hiking destinations with panoramic views and quite a bit of wildlife. Start your hike at the state park entrance and combine Musch Trail and Eagle Springs Fire Road for a 4.5 mile loop. The highlight of your hike is Eagle Rock, which offers incredible views from Topanga all the way to the coast.

eagle rock