To be sure, Los Angeles is widely known as the entertainment capital of the world. However, few who visit for the first time realize that the jaw-dropping terrain in these parts is also high on the list of things to discover while in this vast wonderland. Locals know better and love to wander Tinseltown trails for the chance to get away from it all while being in the thick of it, a hard combination to pull off in most busy cities other than our own. Consider the following five trails waiting for you to discover in the City of Angels.
3200 Canyon Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Enter Griffith Park at Canyon Drive and follow along until the road ends. Now it’s time to start your hike, which will eventually get you to the highly-touted Bronson Caves. The walk only takes you about a quarter of a mile before the trail forks. Take the left fork and you’ll be confronted by the Bat Cave, a small tunnel that stretches about 50 feet. But go beyond through one of three exits and you’ll come across a canyon where the view of the Hollywood Sign is unprecedented and well worth the trip.
Franklin Canyon Park Discovery Trail Loop
2600 Franklin Canyon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
If you want to be one with nature while staying in the same zip code as Rodeo Drive, take this one-third mile trek located near Benedict Canyon. The trip, which loops through the black walnut woodland along the canyon bottom, takes you near the body of water known as the fishing hole where Oppie and Andy from “The Andy Griffith Show” once fished. You’ll get there easily after passing through the park entrance and you’ll get through this route even if you have no hiking experience whatsoever. That said, the wildlife that you’ll discover on your walk — especially the Mandarin ducks — will speak to you as if you’re in the country, not the city, and your eyes may feel as if they are tricking you as this area was seen in such classic tv shows and movies as “Bonanza” and “It Happened One Night.”
1750 N. Altadena Drive
Pasadena, CA 91107
If you invest in this four-mile hike, you’ll reach a majestic 40-foot waterfall. You’ll also get the chance to feast your eyes on many types of wildflowers come spring when this walk is most popular. It’s a good pastime to enjoy during the week, avoiding the inevitable weekend crowds; all year, you’ll get to wonder at a variety of streams, a bunch of boulder formations and a lovely nature center near the trailhead with a parking lot meant for easy access to the trail, which is actually a dirt road.
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10700 W. Escondido Canyon Road
Agua Dulce, CA 91350
If you really want to feel as if you’ve left the Southland and landed in another world, take yourself to travel Vasquez Rocks, where a number of marked trails (including the easy going, three mile History Trail) are worth your time and then some. Located about an hour from downtown Los Angeles in the high desert near Aqua Dulce Springs, this awe-inspiring park which contains a part of the massive Pacific Crest Trail that goes from Canada to Mexico and is filled with striking rock formations made up of all kinds of hues (geologists love this place). If you are wondering if this place looks familiar as you walk you walk, it probably is. This is where “Star Trek” Capitain James T. Kirk battled the Gorn. Enjoy your stroll with that in mind and also with a lot of water at your disposal and an umbrella, too, as shade is not part of the package when you chose to meander in these parts.
3455 Solstice Canyon Road
Malibu, CA 90265
If your hound is bound and determined to join you on your hike, head for Solstice Canyon, one of the prettiest places in all of Malibu. You’ll be walking along creeks as you peer into the Pacific and travel past what seem like mysterious ruins, some of which used to be fully equipped brick houses attached to the Roberts Ranch until fire took over the area more than twenty years ago. This is as far as your dogs can join you, so you’ll have to turn back if your best friend is on a leash beside you. If not, continue on until you reach thee waterfall, a refreshing sight on a hot day in the Southland.
Los Angeles freelance travel writer Jane Lasky, contributes to publications such as Travel + Leisure, Vogue and Esquire. Her weekly sojourning column ran in 40 newspapers for 20 years. Jane is anything but an accidental tourist and always travels with her pillow. Check out her articles on Examiner.com