Summer is here, and that means it’s time to get outside. 

One of my favorite qualities about Los Angeles is that its urban environment is counterbalanced by the natural parks right within our city’s limits.  An avid outdoorsy-type can get away every weekend – sometimes without even hopping in the car.  So this week, we’re going to profile hiking destinations you can reach that are an hour’s drive from LA or less.

Griffith Park may be synonymous with “hiking” for Angelinos.  It’s host to a carousel, an observatory, and an awesome abandoned zoo that you can explore.  Even the iconic Hollywood Sign is in Griffith Park, not to mention the dozens of other trails criss-crossing through our city’s urban park.

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, might we recommend Murphy’s Ranch? This hike-able path past crumbling abandoned machine sheds and barns has a backstory straight out of a B-grade horror movie: during World War II, Nazi sympathizers built a base camp in the woods.  Shortly after Pearl Harbor when they were arrested and their encampment was left to crumble.  Seriously, can you think of any other trail with a similar story?

At the other end of the political spectrum, get out to Malibu for the Solstice Canyon Hike.    The trail ends with an epically beautiful waterfall right next to the ruins of a historical house called the Tropical Terrace.  The architect who designed the house was named Paul Williams, one of the earliest Black architects who designed this beautiful ranch home in the early 1950s.  While the house burned down in a wildfire, the foundation remains, hinting at the gorgeous home that once sat at the bottom of the canyon.

Lest you think all of LA’s best hikes are about ruins, consider Eaton Canyon Falls.    One major draw of this hike is that the trailhead is within walking distance of a Gold Line stop, meaning you don’t need access to a car to get on this hike.  Say what you will about Los Angeles car culture, it’s pretty hard to get around without one, so this hike is a rare treat for the hiker who doesn’t like to drive.

Think this post covers all the best hikes in Los Angeles?  Think again!  There are way more – share which ones you think we missed in the comments.