You may be a veteran Los Angeles hiker who’s worked their way diligently through “Trails of the Angeles” and the “Afoot and Afield” series. Still, even the best of us haven’t seen it all and no matter how many summits and trails you have claimed, there may be some that remain off your radar. Here are ten great outdoor destinations: trails, mountains, regional parks and even a Medieval-style tower, specifically selected for hot summers such as this one.
Alta Vicente Reserve
If you live in the South Bay, odds are you’ve visited Point Vicente and enjoyed its excellent ocean views. Not as famous but just as scenic is the Alta Vicente Reserve, whose hillside trails provide some great ocean views. It’s a perfect spot to get some exercise even on hot days.
Chumash Indian Trail
If you’ve hiked in the Santa Monica Mountains odds are you’ve been to Zuma Canyon or perhaps hiked on one of the fire roads above it, but even so it’s easy to miss this short trail. While chaparral cuts down on the views, the trail leads to a vista point nearly one thousand feet above the ocean, providing an impressive panorama.
This short but challenging hike on the south slope of the Santa Ana River Canyon in the San Bernardino National Forest is a conveniently located escape from the Inland Empire’s summer heat. A little bit of off-trail scrambling through pleasantly shaded woodlands brings you to the summit, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of mountains and city alike.
Once known as a ski area, Kratka Ridge is a short but challenging off-trail hike in the Angeles National Forest. The high point provides an excellent view south toward the L.A. basin; you can also glimpse the high desert on the north side of the ridge.
What’s better than a trip to the beach? A trip to the beach with a visit to a historic tower. Built in 1926, “La Tour” is one of Orange County’s more unusual landmarks. Though the hike to reach it is very short, scrambling over rocks and through tide pools adds a sense of adventure.
The San Emigdio Mountains north of Los Angeles might not be well known, but they offer an excellent escape from the heat of the nearby Santa Clarita and San Joaquin Valleys. This hike explores the northeastern slope of Mt. Pinos, offering shade, solitude and some great high desert views.
Caspers Wilderness Park is one of Orange County’s most popular hiking destinations, but the Mesa Loop is easy to miss. In addition to offering access to the portion of the park on the east side of the Ortega Highway, its moderate distance and grade make it a good choice even on hot days. Views of Old Saddleback and the park’s characteristic geological terraces are among the highlights.
Oak Grove Loop
Summer hiking in the lower Inland Empire might seem like a death wish but thanks to the shade of some hardy oaks, this short loop in Chino Hills is a perfect spot to enjoy a little peace, quiet and exercise.
History, botany and ocean views come together on this enjoyable hike. It’s popular with the Ventura locals but also makes a good spot for L.A. hikers heading up to Santa Barbara for the weekend to stop and stretch their legs.
Winston Peak and Winston Ridge
These two summits on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains can be combined for a challenging, varied and scenic hike, featuring steep ascents and descents, route finding and off-trail scrambling. The views aren’t quite as plentiful as on the nearby taller peaks such as Waterman, Williamson and Islip, but the diversity of terrain and landscapes make this hike one of the more memorable trips in the Angeles National Forest.
Have you done any of these hikes? All of them? If so, included below are links to lists of even MORE L.A. area hikes you may have missed. Remember too, even if you’ve been to these places before, there’s nothing wrong with visiting them again.