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LA’s Best Locals-Only Hikes for Kids

Leave Runyon to the tourists. Instead, take your little trekkers to one of these lesser known trails where the views are still Instagrammable, but the crowds won’t overwhelm you. From a hidden 58-acre park in Culver City to a natural preserve in Pasadena, here are our favorite easy-to-moderate hikes the whole family.

Culver City

Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook

Part neighborhood secret, part workout circuit, this 58-acre park offers three options to get to the top for some of the most enviable views of Los Angeles you may find. If you and the kids are ready to keep that New Years resolution going, take the 282 stairs straight to the top. Got a stroller? Hit the road—just watch out for bikers, daredevil skateboards and the like careening down. And if those little legs are up for the challenge, take the half-mile hike from the park entrance to the top where you'll be able to from DTLA to the ocean on a clear day. Look for seasonal displays of native wildflowers, bird and wildlife like lizards. There are also restrooms, water fountains, picnicking and fun activities at the visitor's center all located at the top.

Insider Tip: If you just want to take in the view, you can park at the top of the hill near the visitor center for $2/hour or $6/day. This hill gets busier throughout the day so we recommend hitting this one early. There also isn't any shade so pack a hat, sunscreen, and lots of water.

6300 Hetzler Rd.
Culver City
Online: parks.ca.gov

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

With 338 acres, Kenneth Hahn is a sprawling oasis on the westside. There are currently 7 miles of trails completed. The 1-mile Waterfall Trail or the 0.8-mile Bowl Loop are great ones for a beginner hike. After your hike, stick around to check out the fishing lake, playgrounds, picnic spots, and coastal land preserve.

Insider Tip: Weekdays, the park is free to enter but on the weekends and holidays, it costs $6 per vehicle.

4100 South La Cienega
Los Angeles
Online: parks.ca.gov/

Beverly Hills

Franklin Canyon

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 .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.

Insider Tip: Pack a lunch so you can picnic while you watch the ducks frolicking in the pond.

2600 Franklin Canyon Dr.
Beverly Hills
Online: lamountains.com/planning_franklin.html

Griffith Park

Fern Canyon & Charlie Turner Trails

One of LA’s largest green spaces offers so much to do, including plenty of great spots for a family hike with little kids. 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 where 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 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 hike with kids in Griffith Park 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.
Griffith Park

Fern Canyon Trail
4730 Crystal Springs Dr.
Griffith Park

Online: laparks.org

Malibu

Solstice Canyon

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.
Malibu
Online: nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/solsticecanyon.htm

Pasadena

Eaton Canyon Natural Area - Pasadena

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, Sat. mornings from 9-11 a.m.

1750 N. Altadena Dr.
Pasadena
Online: ecnca.org

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—Shahrzad Warkentin & Shannan Rouss

featured photo: Juanita Mulder via Pixabay

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