Los Angeles is blessed with sunny weather nearly year-round and a geographical location that allows you to hit some of the best beaches and mountains in the state in the same day. So yes, there’s plenty of things to do outside of here, but there’s one thing that tops many Angelenos’ lists: hiking. So next time you’re looking for a beautiful view of the city, don’t head to a rooftop bar; instead, lace up your hiking boots and head out onto the trail. Whether you’re more cityscape gawker or ocean gazer, we’ve got the trek for you in this list of the best hikes in L.A.—with views.
With secluded mountain treks and unparalleled people-watching, these are the best hikes in L.A. with a view for a phenomenal selfie or group picture.
You can catch the loop from either the east (Fuller Avenue) or west (North Vista Street) side of the canyon. Either way, it’s a mostly gradual ascent, except for a treacherously steep and narrow section near the top of the eastern canyon wall. At the top, the trail plateaus along a ridge, giving views of the architectural hodgepodge of the Hollywood Hills—solar panels, pools and decks on stilts—downtown Hollywood and the Capitol Records building, the manicured tidiness of WeHo’s grid, and the tangle of high-rises along Miracle Mile.
The southern entrance is at the end of Fuller Avenue in Hollywood; the northern 'cheat' and take a shorter hike using the entrance off the 7300 block of Mulholland Drive.
To get to the Mount Hollywood summit, Griffith’s highest peak, pick up the trail at the north side of the Observatory parking lot. Starting off amid scrubby evergreens, the path quickly emerges into the hills, winding higher and deeper, with the Hollywood sign appearing to the left about 15 minutes in. After about a solid 40 minutes of walking, you’ll reach the top: a big, dusty clearing with picnic tables. It’s an ideal vantage point for checking out sweeping views of the Los Angeles basin, the edge of the San Fernando Valley, the hazy hills to the west, the skyline of Downtown Los Angeles with the Observatory in the foreground, and the money shot: a close-up of the Hollywood sign at eye level.
As the trail begins, the noise of PCH and the sea breeze follow you up. But things quiet down—and heat up—quickly on this shadeless trail. Hang a left at the first fork—this way you can face the ocean during your descent. Cutting through wild fennel and rust-colored grasses, the packed dirt path leads you on switchbacks along the east side and top of Corral Canyon. The descent toward the ocean has sweeping views of Santa Monica beaches all the way to Point Dume that are more than easy on the eyes.
If it’s your first time, don’t look back until you reach the top. That way you’ll maximize the surprise of this north-gazing view of L.A.’s east-to-west spine—far less photographed than the standard postcard pic snapped from south-facing Hollywood Hills, but just as worthy. Peer east toward Downtown’s skyline and the sprawl of South L.A. To the north and west, Century City high-rises and Westwood’s Mormon temple cut imposing figures, with the Santa Monica Mountains serving as a smoky backdrop. At happy hour, a no-frills workout scene flourishes, with people streaming into the park up until the moment it closes at sunset (and after). The hill’s central location and low-key crowd make you feel like you’re above the city, and within it, all at the same time.
The hike begins by scaling the wall of a canyon and emerging onto the face of the mountain about 15 minutes later. The views of Downtown L.A., Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley are stellar even at low levels. But once you get to the top, there’s the added bonus of a fascinating L.A. history: In 1894, ambitious industrialists linked this mountaintop to nearby Pasadena with a train and then established an alpine resort, unofficially dubbed the White City, complete with a 70-room mansion. Two fires burned everything to the ground within a decade of its opening. All that’s left now are ruined foundations and train tracks for hikers to explore and picnic on. It’s a poetic view of the charred remains of a long-lost dream.
To start, from the street head into the park down Burma Road, where you will follow it past Dr. Ibrahim El-Hefni Vista Point. Turn left on Eagle’s Nest Trail, which you will follow for about nearly 2 miles until you meet back up with Burma Road. You can either head back up here or continue onto the lower loop by taking a right down Toyon Trail. Keep left until you reach the end of Toyon Trail, when you will take a right on Peppertree Trail. Continue on this trail until you quite literally hit a fence, and then head left up Klondike Canyon Trail. You’ll hit a fork in the trail and can take either trail but keep left for the easiest one. Head left up Barn Owl Trail until you hit Burma Road, where you will turn left. This will lead you to the closing of the lower loop. Once you meet back up with Toyon Trail, rather than going back where you came from, head right on Ishibashi Trail which will once again lead you to Burma Road, where you’ll turn right and follow it back up to the trail head. Phew. Get lost? No worries, any of these trails will lead you back to where you started.