Kids love nature and going on a hike is an excellent way to get in touch with the great outdoors. Angelinos are lucky enough to have access to loads of fun, dusty paths with stunning vistas to explore, many of which are located outside our front doors. But which ones can you tackle with your toddler? We’ve rounded up our favorite spots to go for a hike, all for the under-five set.
photo: Shahrzad Warkentin
Will Rogers State Park
Hit the 2.25 mile looping horse trail that leads to Inspiration Point for an Instagram-worthy view of the ocean and LA basin. The path is wide and flat enough that you could even push a stroller if you need one, just watch out for the occasional piles of horse poop that are sure to delight a four-year-old’s sense of humor. Pack a snack or light lunch and take a break at the picnic benches near the pinnacle before you hit Inspiration Point. From there, the rest is an easy-going downhill path. If you still have some time leftover after (because toddlers have boundless energy), run and play in the grassy field below the ranch house.
Insider Tip: When you enter the park, make sure to pull over and pay for parking at the kiosk. Otherwise, you’ll have to hoof it back there to pay.
1501 Will Rogers State Park Road
photo: Shahrzad Warkentin
Temescal Gateway Park
Right next door to Will Rogers Park you’ll find another family-favorite for young hikers with beautiful views of the ocean. There are plenty of restrooms, picnic spots and grassy fields to explore at the base of several trails, most of which are fairly easy, even for little legs. The 1.3 mile Temescal Canyon trail takes you up to a waterfall, or if you want to stick with something shorter the Sunset and Viewpoint Trails both offer a simple walk through the canyon. This is definitely one of the most popular hiking spots in the city, especially on weekends, so if you want to avoid crowds hit the trails mid-week.
Insider Tip: Be extremely cautious driving through the parking lot as there is a stop sign camera that seems to catch everyone by surprise and will result in a ticket in your mailbox a few weeks later.
15601 W Sunset Blvd.
photo: Nick A. via Yelp
Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area
Known as a recreational park, Kenneth Hahn is definitely not short on hiking trails. There are currently 7 miles of trails completed. The one mile Waterfall Trail or the 0.8 mile Bowl Loop are both great ones for a beginner hike. After you hike, stick around to check out the fishing lake, playgrounds, picnic spots and costal land preserve.
Insider Tip: Weekdays, the park is free to enter but on the weekends and holidays, it cost $6 per vehicle.
4100 South La Cienega
Accessible from both the valley and the westside, this little hideaway offers a nice quiet spot to explore. There are five miles of hiking trails, including a nice short 0.3 mile loop through the shady trees along the canyon basin. For young, hiking newbies you can have even have plenty of fun just traversing the one-mile fire road that loops around the reservoir. Pack a lunch so you can picnic while you watch the ducks frolicking in the pond.
2600 Franklin Canyon Dr.
photo: Tiff T. via Yelp
One of LA’s biggest green spaces offers so much to do, including plenty of great spots for a family hike with littles. If you want to get a closer look at the Hollywood sign, check out the Charlie Turner Trailridge. Park at the Observatory and make your way up along Mt Hollywood Hiking Trail. You’ll get views of both the valley and the westside. Pack some snacks for a rest stop at the picnic tables at the top. This one definitely gets busy on weekends and gets plenty of sun, so stick with a weekday hike to avoid crowds and start early to avoid the heat. Another great option here is the lush Fern Canyon Trail, a shadier path that takes you past the Old Zoo, where you can stop for snacks and monkey around through the ruins. Park at the Merry-Go-Round and take the trail past the gate. Your little superheroes will also love hiking to the Bat Cave at Bronson Park, check out the details here.
Charlie Turner Trail
2800 E Observatory Ave.
Fern Canyon Trail
4730 Crystal Springs
This peaceful hike gives you a glimpse of some LA history as you stroll past a waterfall and the remains of the oldest stone structure in the city. A picturesque hike along a shaded trail is a great way to explore, especially during the less busy weekdays with young tots that aren’t quite school-aged yet. The ocean air off of PCH and shaded path make it a perfect spot to hike even on warmer days. The eponymous trail is a fairly easy and flat clocking in at 2.1-miles round trip.
Corral Canyon Rd. and Solstice Canyon Rd.
photo: Claudia Didomenico
Charmlee Wilderness Park
This quiet little spot was recommended to us by LA mom and Lil Bellies founder Claudia Didomenico, who also gave us some great tips on hiking with little explorers. All the trails here are easy-going through rolling hills and you’ll be treated to some gorgeous ocean views that also bring a nice breeze. There isn’t much shade so stick with an early hike or avoid hot days. This is a less frequented spot which makes it great for avoiding crowds, but it also means it’s less manicured, so long pants are a good idea for avoiding scraped legs.
2577 Encinal Canyon Rd.
photo: Linda D. via Yelp
Mandeville Canyon Park
A little bit of a hidden gem, this old fire road gets far less traffic than other popular spots but still offers a great view. For an easier hike, stay on the fire road just over the trailridge. The path has a bit of an incline, but it’s wide and flat making it great for young hikers—just keep an eye out for bike riders zipping downhill. There isn’t much shade here so pack the sunscreen and avoid those hot days.
Insider Tip: The only restroom is located at the top of the ridge trail, which is a steeper path.
2652 N. Westridge Rd.
photo: Shahrzad Warkentin
Part of the National Parks Service, this gem is definitely an only-in-LA hiking experience. For decades the ranch has been home to several film productions and the sets of a small western town stand permanently at the center of a web of hiking trails. You might not make it much farther than simply exploring the town and walking the flat, multi-use trail that loops the center, especially if you have some young cowpokes in your brood. If you want to venture out onto the trail, head south of the town and take the short Racetrack Road loop.
2903 Cornell Rd.
Eaton Canyon Natural Area
This nature center is surrounded by a rugged mountainside with hiking trails of all levels, including some advanced hikes, but you don’t have to stray far from the center itself to experience wildlife on the trail. There are three small nature trails that are flat and short, one is even designed specifically for young kids. This is a great place for a first hiking experience where you’re guaranteed to see some beautiful sights without having to work too hard, which will ultimately make for a fun experience for little ones.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a little guidance on your hike, join the Family Nature Walk held every Saturday morning from 9-11 a.m.
1750 N. Altadena Dr.
What are your favorite spots to take a hike with your tiniest tots? Share your must-hike trails in the comments below!