Best Urban Hikes in Los Angeles
Looking to escape the gridlock of LA…?
Look no further! The City of Angels may be an expansive mess of traffic, but there’s plenty of places to escape.
I was lucky enough to live in LA for 6 months in 2019, and used every spare moment to seek out the best trails with the best views, inside the city. Every day after getting off work at 3:30 in different parts of the city, I would head to the nearest trail. I mostly used these trails for running, but they are all good for leisurely hikes as well.
And here they are…
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Okay so this image may not look so special. I was on vacation with my folks over Christmas 2017, and we were taking the train downtown. I spotted this hill in the distance, and knew that I need to climb it one day. Lo and behold, I ended up living at the bottom of it in January 2019!
I recommend you start at the Japanese Gardens and work your way up the meandering hillside trail. You’ll be rewarded with and possibly the best view of the entire city. It’s hard to pick just a few photos because I have so many, but here are a few of my favorites.
You can also start at the top of the hill (opposite Norman O. Houston Park – great for basketball!) and work your way down. There is a big loop trail up there with stunning views, and the new Martin Luther King Monument as well.
On a clear day, the views up here are really hard to beat. This is looking straight north at Wilshire & Hollywood.
Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon is just above Hollywood and quite popular with the local community. The trail connects all the way to the north at Mulholland Drive, and if you start at the south entrance, can take a short or long loop around the park.
You get a very intimate view of Hollywood, and also downtown to the east and the coastline to the west. Dogs are permitted on this trail, so you’ll find plenty of those. The trail can be a bit steep at times, so wear good grippy shoes.
Hollywood in the foreground | Downtown in the back
View of the Hollywood Hills from Runyon Park
Elysian Park Trail (West Loop)
This place is just fantastic. It’s slightly off the radar as most people head to the main park on the south side of Stadium way. At 2.3 miles, this loop is perfect for a quick 30 minute hike/jog, with decent views looking towards Glassell Park to the north. The trails are nice, spacious, and flat, and there’s a grassy knoll in the middle with a sliver of a view of downtown LA. Since you’re right next to Chinatown, I’d recommend you head down to Zen Mei Bistro for the best tofu dish I’ve had in the USA. Now, onto the other side of Elysian Park…