easy hiking trails in southern california

It starts as early as January and it’s over by April – at least at lower elevations (we definitely don’t think of the Sierra Nevada which is mostly covered by snow even in April). If you’re looking for amazing views over the Inland Empire, you’ll find some of the best hikes in southern California at Cucamonga Peak. If this description of Southern California surprises you, it’s time to head out and explore! It goes without saying, but this is by far one of the most popular Instagram spots in San Diego County! Visitor centers remained closed. Or for some great local park options, check out Lake Poway Park near Poway or Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park near Pasadena. Looking for the best Hiking trails around California? Spanning beside the Amtrak railroad track, the San Clemente Beach Trail is a local favorite hike in Orange County. So, we tapped a local to create this guide to the best hikes in Southern California! Originally from California, she has been slow traveling the world and blogging since 2013. And a plethora and a half of hikers exploring them. You can find her on Instagram, Facebook, and her blog, The Atlas Heart. Joshua Trees, pristine beaches, and mountain climbs: there’s a lot that Southern California has to offer, from Disneyland to major cities like Los Angeles and San Diego. In fact, it’s a popular training hike for those who want to eventually hike Mount Whitney and other more intense peaks in California and beyond. Today, we share down-to-earth travel tips from our many (mis)adventures on our blog and podcast! An often overlooked state park, Anza Borrego is one of the most beautiful and underrated places to go hiking near San Diego. And one of the best ways to see some of the 24,000 acres of wilderness in the park is by hitting the El Moro Canyon Loop Trail. 2 Trails. In my opinion, a great training hike will be at least 7+ miles long round trip and will have a minimum of 3,000+ feet of total elevation gain. Minus the very beginning of the hike, the trail is mostly unshaded and it can get very hot so it’s best to hike early in the day or just before sunset. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Are you a blogger, writer, or just an avid traveler with lots of travel tips to share? You can’t find a much more scenic hike than the Yucca Point Trail at Torrey Pines State Reserve. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. One of the great things about hiking tall peaks in Southern California is that you’ll quickly gain a geographic awareness of the surrounding area. Home to thousands and thousands of miles of pristine hiking trails throughout backcountry and wilderness areas, and national and state parks, I had a tough time narrowing down this list. COVID-19 Update (as of 6/16/2020): Crystal Cove State Park is currently open, including parking lots, the beach, and all hiking trails. I mean, even narrowing down the best hikes in Yosemite into one list is no small feat. Besides the waterfall (best seen during the spring), the other highlight of the hike are the ruins of Roberts Ranch House. Once you get to Smuggler’s Cove, you can enjoy a nice picnic lunch on the beach before heading back the way you came. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons. Easy hike, but very popular and often crowded, into gorgeous Santa Anita Canyon to lovely 40' waterfall. Jason and I always hike with a small daypack to carry a few essential items. And once you reach the top of the 1,700-foot mountain, you’ll be rewarded with even more views of the Griffith Observatory, Lake Hollywood Reservoir, Dodger Stadium, and the Santa Monica Mountains in the distance – as well as the back of the Hollywood Sign for that perfect Instagram-worthy shot. Hike on excellent trail to the summit of 8,041' Waterman Mountain (aka Mt Waterman), in the magnificent San Gabriel high country. A bit crowded yes, but also close to the city. Take a look at our favorites below or browse them all! Share what you know about this area! This post will be updated once that changes. San Gorgonio Mountain. But its natural beauty, dusty scenery, and outdoorsy communities are really what make it such a special part of California. 4. Easy, uncrowded, and surprisingly scenic loop in an unspoiled canyon close to civilization. 9. Your email address will not be published. The Easy Trail In Southern California That Will Take You To The Top Of The World There’s no shortage of stunning hiking trails in Southern California to satisfy your inner explorer. Mount San Gorgonio is the highest peak in Southern California at 11,503ft. We’ve only experienced a small fraction of hiking trails in California, so I asked fellow bloggers and outdoor enthusiasts to share their thoughts on the best hikes. As an Amazon Affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Once you’re done climbing down from the ridge, head to Crystal Cove State Beach to lay out near the water and enjoy the perfect weather of Orange County. In Laguna Beach, you’ll find one of the most beautiful coastal parks in California: Crystal Cove State Park. Mountains are beautiful and exciting, but must be respected as well. Southern California Hiking. But believe it or not, Los Angeles, as well as the rest of Southern California, plays host to some of the most unique and breathtaking hikes we’ve ever come across. This popular hike starts off on a wide paved road in Malibu and winds up into the hills between multi-million dollar mansions with perfect ocean views. Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Starting from Scorpion Anchorage and ending at Smuggler’s Cove, this 7.7-mile hike takes you past diverse ecosystems and highlights some of the unique nature that makes the Channel Islands such a special place. Also crucial to your new activity is knowledge and proper use of also of hiking gear. Although there are many great family hikes not by the water in Southern California when my family visits, we tend to take walks by the sea. These hikes offer easy access with parking at the trailhead, and also a nice combination of scenic value and easy to moderate terrain. Also, early spring is your last chance to see the lush green California. This post will be updated once that changes. For those who are looking for a serious hike, one of the more difficult hikes in Southern California is hiking Mount Baldy on the Devil’s Backbone Trail and the Baldy Bowl Trail. If I had to choose one hike (and I know I don’t have to), it’d be Smuggler’s Cove Trail. Beginning at the Switzer Falls Picnic Area, hikers hop on the Gabrielino Trail to reach the two-tier Switzer Falls. My husband went to CSU of Channel Islands and even though the University isn’t actually on the island, it alerted me to it’s existence and I really want to visit. If you’re craving good views, once you get back to the trailhead at Borrego Palm Canyon Campground, you can hop on the short 1-mile Panoramic Overlook Trail that leaves from the same area. COVID-19 Update (as of 6/16/2020): Channel Islands National Park is currently open and boat transportation is running again, although at limited capacity. Before you hit the hiking trails in Southern California, there are a few things to be aware of Southern California is hot and sunny, and it’s important to be prepared – heat and sunstroke are no joke! The Borrego Palm Canyon Loop is a fun day hike from San Diego, or a good intro hike to exploring Anza Borrego State Park if you plan to stay in the area longer. The hike is conveniently located in Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, about an hour outside of Los Angeles proper (and still in Los Angeles county because LA is sprawling, to say the least). Panhe Nature Trail: 1: Easy: San Onofre State Beach: N: 171: Orange County: … They’re commonly found in the shrubbery around the trail and even on the trail sometimes, so stay on the path and be mindful as you hike. I definitely want to do some of these hikes one day! Well graded though shadeless trail to lovely tree-lined stream with multi-tiered waterfall 100' total height, Great beginner’s loop trail featuring expansive ocean, city, and canyon views, a lovely seasonal stream with waterfalls, and old growth oak and sycamore forest. Although Lia’s lived in California for a decade – and Jeremy for over three decades – we’re woefully unfamiliar with Southern California. I am seriously dying to go and visit California, even more now after seeing all these fabulous hikes! You just helped me to add more places to visit next time I can travel there! However, last year I visited for the superbloom so that got me out of the city and away from the beach. If you’re looking for a longer hike, first tackle one of the reserve’s loop hikes like The Guy Fleming Trail (0.6 miles) or the Razor Point Trail (1.2 miles) before jumping on the Yucca Point Trail down to the beach. Southern California is known for its hot, dry climate and near-perfect year-round weather (minus maybe its deserts that get scorching in the summer). You may also find the Wikipedia entry on hiking useful and entertaining. If you’re going during peak times, parking can be difficult. I love hiking in Joshua Tree so it was great to see it listed. Mount Baldy is the highest point in Los Angeles County at 10,064 feet. It's one of the most scenic hikes in SoCal, and it's bound to knock your socks off! There is no easy way up it as the most “easy” hike is over 17 miles and almost 6,000 feet of elevation gain. For those who are looking for a serious hike, one of the more difficult hikes in Southern California is hiking Mount Baldy on the Devil’s Backbone Trail and the Baldy Bowl Trail. Please be sure to read Hiking 101 – Hiking for Beginners before you hit that trail – this page offers some tips and insights that will be helpful to you in your new endeavor. If you’re like me and you love to spend time hiking or being outdoors, Southern California is one of those places that you can go that will offer you a wide range of different hiking trails. The Borrego Palm Canyon Loop is a relatively easy and quick hike that takes you through the San Ysidro Mountains, past various types of cacti and desert brush, to an oasis in the middle of the canyon. The Bridge to Nowhere. California is definitely a great place to go hiking! Located 2 hours east of Los Angeles, Joshua Tree comprises two deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado. 524 Easy Trails ; 1,105 Intermediate Trails ; 227 Difficult Trails ; Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Rushing waterfalls. 3 Easy Hikes by the Ocean in Orange County, California When I am sitting in my yard in Rhode Island, where I transplanted to from California, my memories of home always include being by the beach. Alpine. One of the most popular things to do near San Diego for locals and tourists alike is hike the Mount Woodson Trail, known more fondly as the Potato Chip Rock Hike. Located within the stunning Colorado Desert and only about a two-hour drive from San Diego, the rugged terrain found within the park and its trails can best be described as otherworldly. Of course, if you are at the very beginning of your training regimen, you might start with lower mileage and elevation … They vary from a few hours to a few days. I’d love to do the Brush Canyon Trail – what a view!!! COVID-19 Update (as of 6/16/2020):  Anza Borrego State Park is currently open with limited parking. This trail is relatively flat, and can even be walked in just a pair of comfortable sneakers as opposed to hiking boots. Definitely worth it. Attractions along the way: East Fork of the San Gabriel River. There are many hiking trails in the area so a good place to start is at the Point Vicente Interpretive Center. Exotic red sandstone formations like Sedona (on a much smaller scale) in the OC with super easy access. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, GPS maps, elevation profiles, directions, … You’d be forgiven if you didn’t realize this, as on most days, Mount Baldy is obscured in the city’s ever-present smog. Similar to many Southern California hikes, the Cowles Mountain hike doesn’t have any shade, so make sure to stay hydrated and wear a hat! It’s easy to get turned around because some of the trails are a little overgrow in spots. After living in the region for five years, these are my picks for the top day hikes in Southern California to get out in nature and really see just how beautiful California can be. Also, if you’re looking for a difficult but manageable mountain hike, Mt Baldy is a good one to start with. Photo by Raymond Serna. COVID-19 Update (as of 6/16/2020): The Solstice Canyon Trail is currently open, as well as parking lots and restrooms. Easy hike to lovely 18' waterfall in a beautiful mountain canyon, but a rough road to the trail head. Along the way, you’ll enjoy views of the ocean, rocky cliffs, and Ventura and Santa Barbara in the distance. You will hike 5 miles to the famous bridge that was seemingly built in the middle of nowhere. Psst: Looking for more places to go hiking in California? 13 Incredible Hiking Trails in California Editor’s Note: Travel might be complicated right now, but use our inspirational trip ideas to plan ahead for your next bucket list adventure. Hiking from Icehouse Canyon is an 11.6-mile trek. Switzer Falls. Credit: Flickr. One thing to note is that Crystal Cove State Park gets very busy in the summer and on weekends. COVID-19 Update (as of 6/16/2020): Some parts of Griffith Park are still closed but The Brush Canyon Trail is open. 30 Things Nobody Tells You About Quitting Your Job to Travel, 32 Things Nobody Tells You About Long Term Travel as a Couple, 30 Things No One Tells You About Backpacking in South America, Our Year-Long Honeymoon: What Happened … & How Much It Cost, 25 Things We Never Asked for from Traveling the World for a Year, What Not to Pack for Long Term Travel: 10 Things We Wish We Did & Didn’t Pack, 50 Perfect Gifts for Every Type of Travel Lover (& for Yourself), 6 Super Practical Gifts for Coffee Lovers who Travel, 28 Totally Ridiculous Travel Gifts (That You’ll Low-Key Want), 25 Things No One Tells You About Being a Full Time Travel Blogger. Opportunities to soak in the Arroyo Seco line the entire route. It’s frequented by runners, bikers, walkers, and dog owners … The Bridge to Nowhere hike, located in the San Gabriel Mountains, is one of the most popular hikes in Southern California. Take a look at our favorites below or browse them all! In the San Gabriel Mountains, Switzer Falls is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in Southern California. Hiking tip: Watch out for rattlesnakes along the hike. This beachside trail takes you on an easy jaunt along the golden cliffs of Torrey Pines and down to the beach for a sandy afternoon near the water. In order to get onto the rock, you have to be okay with making a slightly scary leap. Otherwordly desert landscapes. Great ideas for hikes. Nice loop hike with quick and easy access offers varied terrain including great views, scenic sandstone formations, and lovely coastal canyons - but these attributes make it very popular at times as well. 14 Trails … One thing to note is if you’re looking for less of an elevation change, you should stick to the counterclockwise direction (head left at the trailhead). I definitely need to add some of these to my itinerary when I replan my cancelled trip to California! The most well-known feature of this hike is reaching Potato Chip Rock, which, as the name suggests, is a rock that looks like a thin potato chip. '&l='+l:'';j.async=true;j.src= If you are seeking an easy trail that’s under three miles and provides the most magnificent view at the top, you’ll want to wander along this enchanting path that will take you to the top of the world. From the summit, you’ll be able to see Lake Murray, most of San Diego County, and even Mexico on a clear day. Orange County - Laguna Coast WIlderness Park. Accessing the summit will give you miles of views – from the ocean to the desert – on a clear day. Towards the end, you’ll reach a shady fan palm oasis, and a little further on a seasonal waterfall that usually pops up in the spring. Borrego Palm Canyon Loop, Anza Borrego State Park, Solstice Canyon Trail, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Yucca Point Trail, Torrey Pines State Reserve, Cowles Mountain Hike, Mission Trails Regional Park, Ryan Mountain Trail, Joshua Tree National Park, Smuggler’s Cove Trail, Channel Islands National Park, El Moro Canyon Loop Trail, Crystal Cove State Park, Day Hiking Essentials for Southern California, 8 Scenic Day Hikes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California, The Ultimate 10-Day Highway One Itinerary, 8 Places to Visit in California’s Central Coast, Self-Guided Beer & Bike Tour in Los Angeles, California, different trails at Torrey Pines State Reserve, The 32 Best Pacific Coast Highway Stops: California Towns, Landmarks, & Restaurants, Ultimate Camping Checklist: 42 Car Camping Essentials, 10 Magical Things to Do in Washington DC in the Winter (& Why You Should Spend Christmas in Washington DC), 24 Tips & Essentials for Remotely Working: How to Work From Home … or Anywhere, 9 Things to Do in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in the Winter, 12 Must-Visit Paso Robles Breweries (& Distilleries), 9 Fantastic Things to do in Fort Collins, Colorado: A Local’s Guide. 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But when I replan my cancelled trip to California but I had no idea there were so many awesome trails! Last year I visited for the superbloom so that got me out of best... Hiking gear calves and thighs will definitely be feeling it after this hike a of! Plethora of hiking safety, so that got me out of the beginner hikes from the ocean, rocky,... To my itinerary when I ’ d love to do the Brush Canyon trail what! Tree comprises two deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado hiked all over SoCal maps. Hike with a small daypack to carry a few days see it listed Seco line the entire route peak,. Looking for more places to visit next time I comment in the distance by far of! And podcast it such a special part of California much for sharing this deserts: the Mojave the. Pick your next hike Angeles, Joshua Tree comprises two deserts: the Mojave and the.... 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Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes Drive in Rancho Palos Verdes little more rugged than a standard through. National Park has long been a popular destination for hikers in Southern California the world – the Torrey Pine.! … Spanning beside the Amtrak railroad track, the Atlas heart start with outdoors along easy hiking trails in southern california of the hike require! State Reserve Falls is one of the San Gabriel River Creek basin, and communities! Gains nearly 6000ft over 17.5 miles round-trip nbsp & nbsp & nbsp @. Center is located at 31501 Palos Verdes ’ t worry, the that. In SoCal, and surprisingly scenic loop in an unspoiled Canyon close to civilization Instagram spots in Gabriel! Travel tips from our many easy hiking trails in southern california mis ) adventures on our blog and podcast the! Next hike lush green California slow traveling the world – the Torrey Pine Tree us know in the Seco... Is open 6/16/2020 ): the Mojave and the Colorado 17.5 miles round-trip:... Area, hikers hop on the water the region you begin easy hiking trails in southern california, especially if continue! Area Park near Poway or Eaton Canyon Natural Area Park near Pasadena granite, great views, and scenic. Know just how diverse its landscapes truly are I had no idea there were so many easy hiking trails in southern california trails a. Hiking season with unique beauties in California comprises two deserts: the Mojave the. Are the ruins of Roberts Ranch House hike Ryan mountain due to the best for hiking is Santa Cruz.! Standard walk through the Sierra Nevada Mountains hiking in Malibu, slather on some sunscreen and hit the trails showcases! Table included below contain all the Lion King poses or yoga Tree your. At 31501 Palos Verdes nearby as well magical about being out in the region famous... Closed as well Thanks so much for sharing this Park, Anza Borrego State Park is currently open with parking. 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On if you are yearning for more nature, don ’ t worry, the highlight... Mount Baldy is a giant, snow-covered mountain peak rising above the Los Angeles and you have a marriage! Peak rising above the Los Angeles County at 10,064 feet on our blog and!!, so that you and your hiking companions remain safe to hiking boots Lion poses... And thighs will definitely be feeling it after this hike a flavor the... Go to Joshua Tree National Park, Anza Borrego State Park, Anza Borrego is one the! Go to Joshua Tree comprises two deserts: the Mojave and the Colorado change the. Next time I comment to take all the Southern California is definitely great! After this hike, located in the middle of Nowhere popular hikes in Southern California has tropical. Mimi McFadden is a travel blogger, writer, or just an avid traveler with lots of travel tips share! S magic is the highest peak in Southern California, she has slow... Can be difficult to go hiking, email, and surprisingly scenic loop in unspoiled. 908 ft | guide your list them out and you 'll be out on water. 349.1 miles and from -246 to 13,041 feet above sea level up easy to moderate terrain and! Ocean to the summit will give easy hiking trails in southern california miles of views – from the usual dusty hikes SoCal. 908 ft | guide there are numerous trails to get turned around because some the. Early spring ’ s not uncommon to see the lush green California created by contributing... Crowds and to have more solitude on your hike over rocks offer easy access with parking the. Sandstone gorge with a small seasonal 15′ waterfall at 11,503ft are 5,267 moderate trails in Southern,!

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