(credit: Shutterstock)

(credit: Shutterstock)


The best way to get acquainted with Los Angeles’ innate beauty and learn more about this grand city’s natural resources and synthetic wonders is on foot. Unlike most cities, LA offers an insurmountable number of hiking trails for families to negotiate with ease. For a memorable jaunt, here are a few singled-out locations that promise first-rate vistas and heart-pumping experiences for the entire brood.
(credit: Sarah Lei E./Yelp)

(credit: Sarah Lei E./Yelp)


Griffith Park
4730 Crystal Springs Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 913-4688
www.laparks.org

Griffith Park pitches two highly favored hiking trails, accessible from the observatory’s free parking lot. For those families looking to get a close-up view of the famous Hollywood sign, you’ll want to take the rustic Charlie Turner Trail that climbs up Mount Hollywood. At more than 1,600 feet above sea level and on a clear day, some astonishing views are captured. This route is shared by docile horses, so watch out for the souvenirs the animals leave behind. The Ferndell Gardens pathway winds through a tropical wonderland. This is where nature lovers are greeted by a canopy of lush flora, babbling brook, stone walls and storybook-like footbridges. Both byways are real-life picture postcards.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (Credit, Sharon Raiford Bush)


Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
26876 Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA 91302
(805) 370-2300
www.nps.gov/samo

Covering more than 500 miles of meandering trails, this is a rare spot in LA where families can end a day of hiking by watching the gateway to the Milky Way galaxy appear right before their eyes. Before nightfall, adventurous sorts can climb a rugged hill, catch a glimpse of an elusive mountain lion, cool their heels in the Pacific Ocean and discover how Native American enclaves survived in the region for more than 10,000 years. They may be able to witness some filmmaking in process in ‘Western Town’ at Paramount Ranch, a working movie set. Scouts between the ages of eight and 13 are even provided fun opportunities to become junior rangers.

(Getty Image)

(Getty Image)


Topanga Canyon State Park
20829 Entrada Road
Topanga Canyon, CA 90290
(310) 455-2465
www.parks.ca.gov

Bear-hugging the unspoiled cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains, this recreational area is touted as being the world’s largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city. With roughly 36 miles of forestry to explore, Topanga Canyon State Park is a prime destination point for families that enjoy hiking and biking through open grassland. On a cloud-free day, visitors are able to grab splendid views of the sun-kissed Pacific Ocean. There are also loads of geologic formations throughout the village green, including earthquake faults, volcanic intrusions and marine fossils. At this locale, four-legged family members are not allowed.

Related: Best Parks In Los Angeles

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area (Credit, Sharon Raiford Bush)

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area (Credit, Sharon Raiford Bush)


Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
4100 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90056
(323) 298-3660
www.parks.lacounty.gov

Located within the affluent Baldwin Hills community, this hangout is an urban fountainhead of activity. The 338-acre retreat offers families and couples several lightweight-to-challenging trails to conquer, with a super pay-off at the top. Before the rugged climb, you can spend some bonding time picnicking, lake fishing, observing an active duck pond or meditating at the peaceful and ornate Japanese garden. With more than seven miles of walking and hiking arteries, don’t let the day slip away before absorbing beautiful views of the big city, from the South Bay and Pacific Ocean to downtown LA and the majesty of the San Gabriel mountain range.

(credit: National Park Services)

(credit: National Park Services)


Solstice Canyon
Malibu, CA 90265
(805) 370-2300
www.hikespeak.com

Tucked within the natural grandeur of Malibu is a magnet for active children. From Pacific Coast Highway, turn inland onto Corral Canyon Road. The marked entrance to this safe and venturesome site is on the left. The 75-minute creek-side trail includes lots of boulder hops and rocky pools. Young, inquisitive minds enjoy traipsing by the skeletal remains of homes that were unfortunately leveled long ago by wildfires. Large oak and sycamore trees provide intermittent shade for the 2.6-mile trek, which also surprises visitors with a 30-foot waterfall. The only challenging part about this unforgettable adventure is finding a place to park.

Related: Best Family-Fun Activities At Griffith Park

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.