With more people becoming fully vaccinated and pandemic restrictions opening up a bit, I am grateful to see we are getting to the other side. This past year has offered us a unique outlook on life, relationships, and perhaps some self-introspection.
One way for me to clear my mind is to go for a hike. The simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other, going up a hill, down a hill is therapeutic. Thankfully, we have some amazing hiking here in Los Angeles.
Off of the PCH in Malibu, this fairly flat hike offers an easy no-fuss walk alongside a flowing creek in a wide canyon. The big attraction on this 2.6-mile round trip hike is a small waterfall next to the ruins of a home designed by iconic architect, Paul Williams
. (Mr. Williams really deserves more than an embedded link as an introduction, but I encourage you to check out his story). Unfortunately, the home was destroyed in a forest fire. Solstice Canyon is a great venue for a picnic and a stroll. The wide trail is so level it can be walked in flip-flops, making this one of the most family/dog-friendly hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Switzer Falls is surprisingly accessible to Los Angeles while making you feel like you have escaped city life. It is one of those hikes where you not only pass a waterfall but remnants of Switzer-Land Resort
, built in the late 1800s during the golden age of hiking. The resort closed in the 1930s, but its ruins and stories are still around.
If you need a little inspiration, the name, Wisdom Tree, says it all. Local resident Mark Rowlands put a notebook and some pens under the lone tree and visitors started leaving their words of wisdom in it. Take a moment to reflect and share some wisdom of your own.
Nothing says Los Angeles like a trip up to its quintessential landmark, the Hollywood Sign. There are 3 different trails (easy/moderate/difficult) to reach the sign. This hike will take you through the Hollywood Hills, past the old Batcave from 60’s TV and up behind the Hollywood Sign. You can’t get any closer than 30 feet to the sign, but it is really still fun to get up close and see the view.
If you are looking for a nice loop hike in the Santa Monica Mountains above Beverly Hills, give Hastain Trail in Franklin Canyon Park a try. Hastain Trail can actually be used for two loops, one easy loop at 1.8 miles and one slightly steeper 2.2-mile option. Each trek is a satisfying way to explore Franklin Canyon Park.
There are great summits in Southern California, but it doesn’t get better than challenging Mt. Baldy. For the people only wanting the experience, you can take the tram to the top and walk the 8 miles round trip to the summit; however, for the hardcore, you can take the Ski Hut Trail. This trail, while only 8 miles, will take you up and back over 4000 feet of elevation — a real challenge. The view from the summit is second to none. This one always leaves me exhausted.
This hike accessible from the Arcadia foothills is as easy or as hard as you make it. You can hike it attached to the Mt. Wilson Summit Trail and make it a 15-mile loop, or you can just hike to Sturtevant Falls and back to make it a casual 3-mile walk. A pristine stream hugs the trail with little cabins along the way. Seeing the waterfall at the end is icing on the cake.
This hike proves, yet again, that Southern California really does have everything! Nestled in the town of Tarzana, what starts as a slow walk quickly takes you into a chimney cave, out the top and across a ridgeline that is overgrown before ending at the top of Castle Peak with a beautiful view of the city below.
One foot in front of the other… and you can discover a whole world of new, cool places. Wherever you decide to hike, I hope you’re reinvigorated and renewed.
And, of course, if you ever take a step in the direction of new real estate (whether buying or selling), I hope you’ll think of me.