Babies are happy to hike anywhere, perched high up in a backpack carrier. Big kids like to climb and explore – the further off the beaten path, the better. But with tykes too big to carry, but with legs too small to keep up, there’s only one way to explore – with a stroller. These hikes are perfect for your petite passenger: they can get fresh air, vistas, meet wildlife, and nap at will. And your wheels won’t get trapped in the trees.
Nestled in the mountains that separate Beverly Hills and the Valley, Franklin Canyon is a hidden jewel. With a one-mile fire road that encircles the reservoir and the Heavenly Pond picnic area (complete with ducks, turtles and fish) you can hike, picnic, walk and get out to play. There are also five miles of more rugged terrain, most of which are level enough and wide enough for a three-wheeled jogger to navigate safely. Ask the Ranger at the Sooky Goldman Nature Center about which path is right for you.
2600 Franklin Canyon Dr., Beverly Hills
Home of the LA Zoo, Travel Town, and Shane’s Inspiration, Griffith Park has tons to offer, incuding over 53 miles of wonderful hiking trails overflowing with native California flora and fauna. We have two favorite hikes here, when you’ve got wheels:
By the Old Zoo – Park at the ranger’s station at 4730 Crystal Spring Drive, and get a trail map. The rangers will be happy to fill you in on current closures and which open trails will be safe for your wheeled chariot and tiny passenger. Then post-hike you can picnic and play at the Old Zoo or Shane’s.
To the Observatory – Park on Fern Dell Dr. (near The Trails Café). Follow Fern Dell up until it turns into Western Canyon Rd. This is the paved road that leads to the Observatory. You’ll share the road with some cars, so keep your eyes on the road, but it ends up at the same spot as the steeper dirt hiking paths – with stunning views at the Observatory. Don’t forget to indulge in pie at Trails after your hike – you’ve earned it.
Rich in Los Angeles history, the Solstice Canyon hike takes you past the remains of the oldest stone structure in LA. A beautiful hike along a babbling brook, this park, located right off of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, is the perfect way to spend a morning. It is also leashed-dog friendly, so you and your wilderness explorers may also encounter some four-legged friends as you explore this ocean side paradise. Try the Solstice Canyon trail, a 2.1-mile round trip, to see the stone ruins and waterfall.
Corral Canyon Road and Solstice Canyon Rd, Malibu
White Point Preserve and Nature Center
The White Point Nature Preserve features 102 acres of restored coastal sage scrub habitat, hiking and handicap accessible trails overlooking the ocean and Catalina Island. Not only are the trails safe and easy for the stroller, but it is also a great first hike for young kids. With seagulls overhead and the smell of the ocean, this hike will inspire a love of nature sure to last a lifetime.
1600 W. Paseo del Mar, San Pedro
When you look up at the Hollywood sign, it’s hard to imagine that right under it is a lake that would look at home in the middle of Montana. But blocks above the city, not far from the 101, nestles a pristine lake, surrounded by trees and deer, turtle, ducks and other creatures that is steeped in history. The 3.3 mile loop around the former reservoir is flat and paved, making it perfect for strollers – and new bikers, trikers and scooter riders. Barred to cars, you feel safe letting everyone explore, and you can walk or jog along with the stroller, enjoying nature in the middle of the city. Be sure to check out the architecture on the former dam –it’s got some very cool detailing. Note: dogs aren’t allowed on this trail, so leave leashed ones at home.
There are three entrances to the lake, but if you choose to park at the Tahoe Gate (Tahoe Dr. & Lake Hollywood Dr.), you can leave by taking Tahoe Dr. to Canyon Lake Dr. (bearing right), and stop in at the hidden Lake Hollywood Park, with a playground, lots of green grass and a spectacular view of the Hollywood Sign.
Tahoe Dr. & Lake Hollywood Dr., Hollywood Hills
Learn more about Lake Hollywood Reservoir on facebook.
Celebs and dogs frequent this hike in the hills, but it’s also fabulous for families with kids in strollers. Enter on Fuller Ave., go past the dog park, and take the trail to the left. It will curve to the right and head up to the mountain, on a beautiful paved path. The steepness of the incline gives you both the workout you were looking for AND beautiful views from the ocean to downtown. You’ll want to turn around at the top and return the way you came – the dirt path down is too steep and narrow for wheels.
2000 Fuller Ave., Los Angeles
Will Rogers State Park
Winner of the Totally Awesome Award in 2013 for best Family Hike, we have to end with Will Rogers Park. While the shady hike down to the brook is best for walkers, the hike to Inspiration Point (2.25 miles) is groomed for horses, which means it’s wide enough for your stroller. So while you may need to steer around a horse pie here or there, it’s worth it, as the path is nice and wide and not too steep and ends in sweeping views that live up to the name. You can begin or end the day with a tour of Will’s house (or the numerous and clean bathrooms by the gift shop).
Tips: This hike isn’t ideal on summer’s hottest days, as there is virtually no shade on this “top of the ridge” path. But on cooler days you can feel the ocean breeze, meet the horses from the nearby ranch and bring a kites to fly on the expansive polo lawn (and on summer weekends, catch a match). Don’t forget to bring $12 for parking.
1501 Will Rogers State Park Road, Pacific Palisades
Where do you like to hike with the wee ones? We’d love to know your hidden spot (that’s wheely, wheely friendly).
The Bugaboo Buffalo is a versatile, robust and spacious stroller which has capabilities to blaze through city streets and also tackles tougher cross-country trails with ease. With a one-piece fold, it packs and travels easily. And its high seat gives baby a bird’s-eye view of the landscape and you.