2020 basically has two moods: Lindsay Lohan GIF, and a potent blend of anxiety/despair. Since this is an article about hikes in Los Angeles, we’re gonna focus on the first mood, boredom (if you’d like to focus on the second, may I refer you to this article about how nearly half of the country’s lowest-income communities have no ICU beds, and this article about the dangerous infodemic that’s happening). There’s only so long you can spend on your couch alone in sweats, working on your night cheese, and scrolling through Twitter before the monotony consumes you.
But many normal summer and early fall outdoor activities—like parties, BBQs, and making out with random strangers—are off the table during this year from hell. This basically leaves outdoor activities where you can properly socially distance, like hiking. If you live in LA, these 9 hikes will give you something to do other than alternate between staring at your phone and staring at your television. They range from easy, scenic strolls to an intense 4,000 foot ascent. A final word: when you go on one of these hikes, please wear a mask and practice social distancing.
This hike, located in Malibu, is about a four mile round trip. The hike starts on a paved road, but after the first three quarters of a mile it gets more scenic, with the piece de resistance being a tiered waterfall. The hike to the lower part of the waterfall is relatively easy; if you want to venture to the upper waterfall, use caution because it is steep and can be slippery.
Enjoy stellar views of the Pacific Ocean while on this lush hiking trail in Topanga State Park. Get there early to avoid crowds, as this is one of the more popular hikes in LA.
If you want an easy, level hike where you can picnic, head to Solstice Canyon. The trail is lined with sycamore and oak trees, and along the way you’ll encounter the ruins of a homestead that burned down in 1982, as well as a small waterfall. Dogs are allowed.
This easy beach trail features picturesque rocks and caves (also, you know, the ocean), and is good for kids. Go during low-tide so you can see caves and tide pools that you wouldn’t be able to during high tide.
I’ve lived in LA for 10 years and I had to Google if Echo Mountain was actually a mountain, as we’re sometimes prone to hyperbole here (saying it’s freezing when it is, in fact, 65 degrees, for example). It is indeed a mountain, and the trail up it is a medium-level, dog-friendly hike.
You can’t do a roundup of hikes in LA and not include Runyon Canyon. It would be like leaving Phoebe Bridgers off your “songs to cry to in the shower” playlist—it just wouldn’t make sense. There are multiple trails to choose from, allowing you to customize the length of your hike. Dogs are allowed on-leash, with certain designated areas where they are allowed off-leash. This is another popular hike, so it’s probably best from a social-distancing perspective to go early or during the week.
Hit up this 11-mile loop in the San Gabriel Mountains if you’re looking for a challenge. The ascent is nearly 4,000 feet, and when you reach the top you’ll be at the highest point in Los Angeles. The trail can get dangerous in the winter and after dark, so plan your trip accordingly.
Go chasing waterfalls (sorry, I had to) on this scenic hike near Pasadena that culminates with a 40-foot waterfall and shallow pool that you can dip your feet in. To keep the trail from getting too crowded, hikers are required to make a (free) reservation at least the day before you visit.
This hike is located in a 399-acre nature reserve in Palos Verdes, and offers gorgeous views of the ocean and Catalina Island. Choose from several different trails, depending on how long—and challenging—you want your hike to be.