When considering how to spend your downtime in Los Angeles, your first thought might be of touring the Hollywood Hills, people-watching in Venice Beach or window-shopping on Rodeo Drive.
But Los Angeles is actually home to two major mountain ranges - the Santa Monica Mountains to the northwest and the San Gabriel Mountains northeast of the city - as well as several smaller ones. Combined, the Santa Monica and San Gabriel mountains cover over 3,800 acres of rich wildlife with amazing views and offer opportunities for plenty of outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, and parasailing.
As much as we on Team Adv3nture love the energy and excitement of the cityscape, our most coveted refuge in the city of angels is to take on one of many trails headed into the wilderness of Los Angeles County.
To help you take advantage of every adventure LA has to offer, we’ve outlined our Top 3 Hikes in the LA area by difficulty level (and a few ideas for where to grab a nice refreshing beer after your hard work).
Easy: Turnbull Canyon - Whittier, CA.
A short 4.3-mile hike with an elevation of 910ft., Turnbull Canyon is a fairly easy hike that can be completed within about two hours, but you can make a day of it if you’d rather spend some time lingering in the wild sage and blooming wildflowers.
The trails lie within the Puente Hills Mountains, just east of downtown Los Angeles. The canyon features many open spaces and parks prior to leading onto the trail, so this is a safe bet for young hikers and four-legged friends. Also, the trail is a shared space, so you may catch others on foot, bike, or even horse.
Moderate: Kubota and Toyen Trail Loop – Rancho Palos Verdes, CA.
Although short (only 3.6 miles) the Kubota and Toyen Trail loops around the Palos Verdes mountains and boasts scenic routes of both the hills and the Pacific Ocean. The elevation gain is 777 ft., just enough to heighten your senses before looping back around to the starting point.
The hike itself is a narrow trail, perfect for mountain biking, nature tours, or runs. Bring your four-legged friend if you like - all dogs are welcome so long as they are leashed. If you are looking to catch some wildlife, this is the hike for you - Palos Verdes is known for the bird-watching opportunities. On average, people spend about three hours exploring this trail.
Difficult: Mount Lawlor – San Gabriel Mountains, CA.
With an elevation gain of 1,201 ft. and a total distance of 4.4 miles, this hike in the San Gabriel mountains can be challenging due to the loose rock formation, narrow paths, and steep drop-offs. The path narrows as you climb, but the trail itself will always be easily distinguishable, so while the going might be slow you’re unlikely to lose your way. Although it allows dogs, this trail was damaged in the recent wildfires, therefore be sure to check with park rangers on conditions prior to committing.
Before you hit these or any trails, be sure you are well-equipped for all weather conditions and road-bumps (or rock formations) that may slow you down on your journey (you never know when you’ll run into a flash flood, for instance). Carry plenty of water, a first aid kit, sun protection, and comfortable shoes.
It wouldn’t be us if we didn’t send you off with some recommendations for post-hike drinking spots. Head to downtown Los Angeles for a few of our favorites (which you may have seen before if you know Zane):
Angel City Brewery
This 105-year-old building still features the original iron slide spiraling down from the second floor to the first. You can’t ride it, but you can select from dozens of beers, including exclusives only available on site. Find Angel City Brewery at 216 Alameda St and follow them @angelcitybeer.
Blue Palms Brewhouse
Right next door to The Fonda Theatre (née Music Box) at 6124 Hollywood Boulevard, the Blue Palms Brewhouse is known for its beers and friendly atmosphere. The Brewhouse turns 10 this year, and in celebrating hitting the double digits, it can also take credit for helping introduce craft beer to Los Angeles. Follow them @bluepalms_brew.
Eagle Rock Brewery
Eagle Rock Brewery crafts small-batch artisanal beers with a wide range of styles and equally broad appeal. In addition to beer, they’re also dedicated to support their community and collaborating with other local small businesses. Find them at 3056 Roswell St and follow them @eaglerockbrew.
Not in the mood for beer? No problem. El Carmen is a cantina, so you know you’ll find a selection of Mexican favorites to eat, but what this joint is really known for is its wide selection of various tequilas (almost a hundred different ones, actually). Find them at 8138 W Third St and follow them @elcarmenla.
Share your hiking (and drinking) photos with us on Instagram @adv3nture with the hashtag #adv3ntureLA for a chance to be featured!