Bucket Listers

fitness & wellness · outdoor activities ·

Published January 19, 2023

LA’s Most Scenic Hikes

Los Angeles— where you can hike for 20 minutes to take photos for 45. ⛰🤳

by Los Angeles Bucket List


Waking up at 7AM for a Sunday morning hike is a Los Angeles right of passage. You can’t be taken seriously as a true Angeleno or even an LA-transplant until an “It’s the climb” or “Adventure awaits” captioned cityscape graces your Instagram. To help, we’ve gathered up seven of our favorite hikes throughout the LA-area.

Hollywood Sign Hike

Possibly the most popular hike on this list leads to unobscured views of one of the west coast’s most iconic landmarks, the Hollywood Sign. There are several routes, each providing a different perspective of the sign and ranging in length and difficulty. See below for four of our favorites. 

Brush Canyon Trail: 

6.4 miles round trip; 1,050 feet elevation

Grab your Hydro Flask and dri-fit cap because the Brush Canyon Trail is perfect for a day hike. At its peak, you'll find a viewing area just behind the Hollywood Sign. In true Hollywood spirit, you can also take a fun side trip to the Bronson Caves, where the Batmobile was stored in the 1960s Batman TV series.

Hollyridge Trail: 

3.5 miles round trip; 750 feet elevation

One of the easiest ways to the sign, the Hollyridge Trail will get you start to finish in about an hour. However, with parking restrictions and the popularity of this trail, your hike may end up being slightly longer than you’d planned for. Just a few minutes into the hike, you’ll see the sign in all its glory, making the thirty minutes you spent circling side streets and the numerous coins you fed to the parking meter totally worth it. 

Burbank Peak Trail: 

3 miles round trip; 875 feet elevation 

Though the shortest route, the Burbank Peak Trail’s steep elevation makes it possibly the most challenging. With the rough trail, you won’t find many crowds, making your path to the “Wisdom Tree” that much more rewarding – and peaceful. 

Innsdale Drive: 

4.6 miles round trip; 750 feet elevation

Starting at Innsdale Drive, a winding of residential streets and dirt and paved trails will lead you to some of the best head-on views (read: photos) of the sign.

Trailhead: 3200 Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068 (Varies depending on route)

Escondido Canyon and Falls

3.8 miles round trip; 400 feet elevation

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…unless it leads you to Escondido Canyon and Falls. Beginning just off of the Pacific Coast Highway, you’ll start this hike by passing extremely extravagant Malibu homes, followed by a field of fennel and mustard, a small creek, and a field. Finally, you’ll wind up at a two-tier 200-foot waterfall– its smaller waterfall tier is easy to reach at just 50 feet with an upper tier reaching 150 additional feet.

Pro tip: Plan your hike from mid-March to early April to see the field along this trail transform into a super beautiful super bloom. 

Trailhead address: 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Nojoqui Falls

0.65 miles miles out-and-back; 175 feet elevation

Taking a weekend trip to Santa Barbara? The quick hike to Nojoqui Falls (pronounced Na-hoo-ee) won’t have you break a sweat, making it the perfect way to stretch your legs on your way down the 101 and back to LA. One of the shortest hikes on our list, in just about 20 minutes you’ll be led to an enchanting 80-foot waterfall. Though the falls are fullest in early spring, the surrounding area is still extremely picturesque throughout autumn and into winter.

Trailhead address: 3200 South Alisal Road‎, Nojoqui Falls Park‎, Gaviota, CA 93117

Griffith Park Trails

Starting from Western Canyon: 3 to 4.8 miles round trip; 925 feet elevation

Starting from the Griffith Observatory: 1.4 to 3.2 miles round trip; 500 feet elevation

If Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling could dance through the Griffith Park Trails in La La Land, you surely can hike through them. You can start your hike up Mount Hollywood from the Griffith Observatory’s parking lot or begin in the Western Canyon for a longer route. Griffith Park, one of America’s largest parks, is known for being home to the Hollywood Sign, Greek Theatre and Griffith Observatory, along having incredible views of everything between the San Gabriel and Santa Monica Mountains. Now try finding a souvenir shop on Hollywood Blvd. that does not have a postcard captured from one of the trails on Mount Hollywood. 

Trailhead address: Varies per trail

Hummingbird Trail

3.7 miles up and back; 1,069 feet elevation

Follow the yellow brick road purple arrows on the rocks to find your way up this challenging trail near the Simi Valley. Thanks to LA’s year round near-perfect weather, this hike is even better from October through May. 

Trailhead address: 2954-2980 Kuehner Dr, Simi Valley, CA 93063 


Sandstone Peak

Roughly 6 miles round trip; 1,100 feet elevation

The Mishe Mokwa trail to Sandstone Peak is located in the Santa Monica Mountains and offers a combined view of the valley, ocean and mountains. There are a few different routes to Sandstone Peak but Mishe Mokwa trail turns the hike into a loop and has countless options for additional adventure. Roughly 3 miles in, you’ll come across signs to Tri-Peaks. This out and back option, captured above, is the ultimate photo-worthy spot (we’ll let the image speak for itself).

Pro tip: Refuel post-hike at Neptune’s Net, a popular Malibu seafood restaurant nearby. Replace your vegan pesto kelp noodles and homegrown kombucha for some fish & chips and chili cheese fries – you deserve it after a long hike.

Trailhead address: 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu, CA 90265

Malibu Wine Hike

Unlike most hikes on this list, there isn’t an epic waterfall or view of the Hollywood sign waiting for you at the end of this hike… but there is wine! This is the perfect hike for wine lovers or those who enjoy a little more human interaction on their excursions that they may not get with a secluded hike in the mountains.

For tickets to Malibu Wine Tours.

The Bridge to Nowhere

10 miles round trip; 2,755 feet elevation

We saved the best for last… The Bridge to Nowhere is definitely the most underrated and most thrilling of them all- with the option to bungee jump at the end of this 10 mile hike through the San Angeles Forest. This trail also has multiple river crossings (so dress accordingly) that can double as swimming holes to beat the Cali summer heat. That being said, this area is also prone to flash floods in the winter so make sure to check the weather beforehand and pack plenty of water because this hike is remote. 

Trailhead address: Camp Bonita Rd, La Verne, CA 91750. The trailhead starts at the end of the road and you will need an adventure pass to park in the lot. 

Runyon Canyon

2.7 mile loop; 748 feet elevation

In the city of stars, you might just run into one while hiking Runyon Canyon. The wide popularity of this trail may have you questioning if you’ve somehow been transported to the 405 during rush hour. However, your eastern views of Griffith Observatory and views of the Pacific Ocean in the west, makes this heavily trafficked, dog-friendly loop a bucket list must.

Trailhead address: 2000 North Fuller Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90046

Park to Playa

13 miles round trip; 509 feet elevation 

The Park to Playa trail connects a network of trails and open spaces to the Pacific Ocean at Playa del Ray. Starting at Baldwin Hills Parklands, there are multiple trail access points in six segments: Stocker Corridor, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Blair Hills – Segment C, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, Culver City Park, and Ballona Creek Bike Path. The gorgeous trail opened in 2021 and offers a lower elevation with peaceful views. 

Trailhead address: 34°00'57.6"N 118°22'55.4"W.


Topanga Lookout

2 miles round trip; 2,375 feet elevation

This trail is nestled in the Santa Montica Mountains. The Topanga lookout sits on the same location as a former fire tower. From the top you can see Calabasas and the Santa Susana Mountains. A highlight for photo-seekers includes a large graffitis-covered stone. The views at sunset are unbeatable! 

Trailhead address:23300 Saddle Peak Road, Topanga Canyon, CA 90290