As posted on 52perfectdays.com…
One of the best things about Los Angeles is that among the
skyscrapers and shopping malls and apartment buildings, there are
beautiful areas of nature, just ready for exploring. And what better way
to do this than a hike? There are a plethora of options, but I’ve made a
day out of two of my favorites, as discussed below.
Start your day off the right way with Runyon Canyon. I suggest you
enter at the gate on Vista – you’ll have a steep incline, but the hike
down will be a lot easier. Hike up .7 miles or so and check out a killer
view of the Los Angeles skyline. On a clear day you can see from
downtown to Santa Monica, including a killer view of the Hollywood sign.
You can either go a bit farther, doing the entire loop, or head down the
other side. You’ll go down a flight of makeshift stairs, but be careful
doing so. It’s easy to slip, even with the railing nearby. You will be at
Inspiration Point, which provides another great view of the city. Follow
the trail back down (about 2.5 miles total) and you’ll end up right where
you started from.
Just a note: Runyon Canyon is a dog park, so if dogs make you
nervous, perhaps this isn’t the best option for you. There are areas
where the pets have to be on leashes, but there are areas where they
can be off, too. Most dogs are extremely friendly (and their owners,
too), so there is really nothing to worry about, but just a heads up.
After you’re done with Runyon Canyon, stop by a grocery store and pick
up some food for a picnic. A great nearby option is Bristol Farms, which
has delicious ready-made foods like sandwiches and pasta salad. There
is also a Ralph’s in the vicinity as well.
You can take Sunset Boulevard west to Will Rogers State Park. This is
the former family ranch and estate of the late cowboy humorist. Have
your picnic in the area by the polo fields. If you’re at the park on a
Saturday, it’s more than likely you can watch a match on the fields once
gallivanted upon by Walt Disney, Gary Cooper and Rogers himself.
After your lunch take the Inspiration Point trail (Los Angeles is quite
inspiring), the most popular hike in the park, a three mile loop. This
also has a fabulous payoff view of the Pacific Coast and Westside of Los
After the two hikes, you will more than likely be exhausted and will be
relieved to return to your hotel room/studio apartment/Malibu mansion.
But if you’re feeling inspired, head over to a Barnes & Noble and pick up
either Day Hikes Around Los Angeles (by Robert Stone) or Hollywood
Escapes (by Harry Medved and Bruce Akiyama). Both are excellent
resources for outdoor excursion ideas and can help you plan more
perfect hiking days of your own.