Our Favorite Places in the Great Outdoors of Los Angeles

Posted by on November 23, 2016

venice-pier-santa-monica-mtns-rainbowAngels Point/Elysian Park Bike Ride

It’s a pretty easy and super-rewarding climb through the park to great views of East LA, Downtown, and Dodger Stadium. (Cristy Stiles)

Ballona Creek Bike Path

A fun and nice one on the West Side (you can leave from the La Cienega/Jefferson Expo line station) with nice views of the coast and the wetlands. (Cristy Stiles)

Bridge to Nowhere – East Fork of San Gabriel River, San Gabriel Mountains

The East Fork trail is an express lane into real wilderness. You’ll need to bring two pairs of shoes. One for repeated crossings of the river, and another for dry land. The bridge at trail’s end is really cool though the bungee jumping enterprise is not. (Jonathan Parfrey)

Charmlee Park – Malibu County Park

Loop around the park takes you to a perch that looks down to the ocean and PCH with match box-sized cars. Best of all: you can finish your hike with a picnic near the parking lot with another view down the coast. (Stef McDonald)

Griffith Park Bike Ride

Biking Griffith is kind of an LA bike person institution, but that doesn’t make it any less fun. Hillhurst/Vermont up to the blacktop then around to the other side of Mt Hollywood on some unkempt pavement/dirt is a classic that keeps on giving. (Cristy Stiles)

Holy Jim Trail to Santiago Peak – Santa Ana Mountains

Great views of Orange County and beyond. (Jonathan Parfrey)

Kenter Canyon

I like to hike in Kenter Canyon (in spite of the power lines… it’s almost more of a proper LA hike with those looming above, a mash-up of grit and beauty) and Las Liones in the Palisades for a spectacular view of the coastline. Meandering along the Venice Canals by foot or rolling over the bridges on a beach cruiser is another favorite pastime, and gives me the feeling of being a traveler in my hometown. (Kristina von Hoffmann)

LA River Bike Path

I like biking along the LA River bike path, especially in the Glendale Narrows soft bottom section, where fishermen perch reclined along the bank, elderly people work out on the outdoor body weight exercise machines, and teenage sweethearts get lost in each other’s eyes. (Bryn Lindblad)

This is flat, nice, car-free, and easy. Go down to Long Beach or go north and connect with the Arroyo Seco path up to Highland Park & Pasadena. (Cristy Stiles)

La Jolla Loop Trail – Pt. Mugu State Park

Stunning views of the Pacific – it beats Big Sur. Also great views of the channel islands and Mugu estuary. On the inland side, you get to see tall native grasses, the rare giant coreopsis bush, and great vistas of Boney Ridge. And when the weather cooperates, there’s a nice waterfall and pond. (Jonathan Parfrey)

Mt. Lowe Hike

See the ruins of one of the old mountain railroads and look through labeled tubes at the top to identify surrounding peaks. (Bryn Lindblad)

Rivas Canyon – Secret Hike Next to Will Rogers Park

One enters the trail near the ranger’s home, and then you climb up a wide animal trail which ultimately connects with the trail from Topanga to Will Rogers. Some bushwhacking may be required. (Jonathan Parfrey)

San Mateo Canyon Wilderness – Cleveland National Forest

Never heard of this place? It’s the most in-tact chaparral ecosystem still surviving in California. A verdant and wild area. Come in winter to see California newts. (Jonathan Parfrey)

Santa Monica Pier Walk

I like to talk long beach walks from Venice or Santa Monica just south of the Pier and use the pier as my turning-around point. The sunlight on the ocean and shadows on the Santa Monica Mountains can be breath-taking. (Stef McDonald)

Venice Beach Bike Path

Take the bike path south of Venice Blvd., and right in between Venice and Washington Blvd., the beach there is less populated and much calmer than the buzz on the Boardwalk to the north. Park your bike, stake out your spot on the sand, and enjoy the glittering water. (Kristina von Hoffmann)