Explore a calm oasis deep within the city!
Los Angeles isn’t exactly the first place that springs to mind when you’re thinking about escaping to nature—but Angelenos looking to add a little zen in their lives don’t have to trek too far to find it. Treat your inner-adventurer and explore some of the city’s gems! Put away your phone, stretch those legs, and appreciate some of the breathtaking offerings L.A. has to offer. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite hikes to a hidden oasis within the city – enjoy!
1. Ernest E Debs Regional Park
5.2 mile round trip
This beautiful intercity hike near the Arroyo Seco will take you up a winding mountain – as you rise above the city you’ll see breathtaking views of Hollywood and DTLA! There’s a man-made lake at the top of the mountain, as well as several seating areas surrounding the area giving you time to sit down, relax, and enjoy your surroundings. Stop by the pound for a quick fishing sesh or a picnic with a view as the air around you fills with bird sounds.
4235 Monterey Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90032. See it on Google maps.
2. Escondido Falls
3.8-mile round trip
As you descend into the Santa Monica Mountain valley, you’ll come across some of what nature best has to offer as you stroll along a winding creek. From large inviting oak trees to the plethora of flowers and butterflies that boarder this beautiful trail, be sure to take time to breathe this sliver of L.A. nature in! A trickling waterfall that rolls along a mossy green rock wall is the main sight here, where hikers can snap IG stories in awe as falling water surrounds a small creek breathing life into the surrounding greenery.
27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265. See it on Google maps.
3. Paradise Falls
2.55-mile round trip
On your way to this relaxing pool of water, you’ll pass a magnificent tipi that stands at the midway point. As you ascend into the canyon, you’ll begin to hear the rushing sounds of the waterfall – it pulls into a pond that eventually runs into a creek. Use stepping stones to cross through a line of cattails below the pool to get the best view of Paradise Falls from the opposing bank so you can truly soak it all in!
After closing earlier this year (due to excessive waste), the trail leading to the waterfall is open again. To keep this open for the public to enjoy, make sure you don’t overstay or leave anything behind when you leave.
928 West Avenida De Los Arboles, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360. See it on Google maps.
4. Franklin Canyon Park & Reservoir
1.5-mile hike round trip
Tucked into a canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains in Beverly Hills, this 605-acre park is home to a is a 3-acre lake (reservoir) and has a few trails that will let you leave the city buzz behind and connect with nature. Beyond the plethora of wildflowers that grow here, you’ll be surrounded by shady grassland meadows, oak woodlands are found in the park, and sycamore, redwood and walnut trees, along the boundaries.
Lake Drive & Franklin Canyon Drive, Franklin Canyon Park, CA 90210. See it on Google maps.
5. Sturtevant Falls
3.7-mile hike round trip
Your hike will take around an hour and thirty minutes and starts on a paved road down to quaint little cabins a quaint collection and oak trees covered in ivy. You also have the choice of taking a dirt trail down the mountain and following a pristine creek. There’ll be soothing sounds from the creek accompanying your hike with some rock hopping at a few of the creek crossings to keep things interesting. This 60-foot waterfall is considered one of the most beautiful in the Angeles National Forest and we’re pretty sure you’ll agree once you make it there. Hermit Falls is also a close alternative if you’re up for a real challenge.
Note: The Chantry Flat parking lot is currently only open on weekdays.
Chantry Flat Rd, Arcadia, CA 91006, USA. See it Google maps
6. Trail Canyon Falls
4.8-mile hike round trip
While it’s said to be around a 5-mile hike, it can feel like a lot more in the California heat. It’s a challenging hike with little to shade you on your journey and it involves some serious elevation (around 700 feet of it) to reach the beautiful 30-foot waterfall. You’ll have two options to get down to the bottom of it and one involves a rope. Its Y-shaped fall is pretty all year round but during the summer months, there’s not much water. So if you’re up for it, pack lots of water and head out early mornings or after 4 pm. Otherwise, save it for early Spring.
19600 North Trail Canyon Road, Angeles National Forest, Tujunga, CA. See it on Google maps
7. Black Star Canyon
7.2-mile hike round trip
This elusive waterfall in Black Star Canyon is best seen after some rainfall. Hiking through these parts can be tough but you’ll be rewarded with impressive red rock cliffs, views of Irvine Lake and the Pacific Coast. To get to the falls involves some boulder hopping up the stream which is tricky if it has just rained, but worth it. The unique feature its second outlet or “cave” that is only accessible when there isn’t much water, so there’s a plus if you come during dryer periods. It’s filled with history and unique plant species (there’s poison oak, so proceed with caution).
10499, 10967 Black Star Canyon Rd, Silverado, CA 92676, United States. See it on Google maps.
Also published on Medium.