Staying fit doesn’t mean that you have to spend big bucks to join a gym. You also don’t have to do boring exercise routines day in and day out. Getting and staying fit is as easy as a brisk hike. A hike gets your heart pumping, has you deep breathing and offers relaxation through beautiful sites. Even if you live in the city, hiking trails are closer than you think.

Don’t take off on a hike empty handed. Prepare by carrying a small back pack and include the following smart essentials. Water (most important), snacks (fresh and dried fruit, protein bars, beef jerky and trail mix), compass and a GPS (many cell phones have a GPS application just for hiking), flashlight with fresh batteries, matches, utility knife, sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellant and bath tissue. Dress weather appropriate and make sure the shoes you wear are comfortable and versatile.

Los Angeles is not necessarily known for its hiking but it should be. With its distinct climate zones, fascinating geology, and nearly-perfect weather year-round, L.A. really does have something for everyone who’s looking for exciting walk-abouts.

Here’s our short list of hiking areas you probably didn’t know about in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Santa Monica Mountains - Rounded, rolling hills and low mountains nestled near the PacificCoast and stretching into Hollywood. The trails have lower elevation gains and are less shaded. You’ll find large swaths of native California grassland and incredible wildflower blooms in the spring.

Solstice Canyon – This location is a really nice hike for a first-time hiker. SolsticeCanyon is a picturesque, shaded canyon hike. It’s a popular, well-maintained trail with opportunities for less traveled spurs. Highlights include a constantly flowing waterfall, as well as another seasonal waterfall down the Dry Canyon Trail, the oldest still standing stone building in Malibu, and ruins of a burned down mansion.

Lower San Gabriel Mountains This location is full of dry, rugged mountains that are a bit further from the cooling ocean breezes. Here, there’s lots of brush, scrub, and chaparral, with canyons that shelter beautiful mountain streams and waterfalls.

Mount Wilson Via the Winter Creek Trails --You’ve heard about it on weather reports, now get up there on your own to this13 mile partial loop up to one of So. Cal’s best known peaks. This route is just one of the 5 Sierra Club-recognized summit paths. There are more ways to climb this mountain than any other in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Santa Anita Canyon - This is a loop of multiple trails through one of the most beautiful river canyons in Los Angeles. It’s one of the most picturesque and popular canyons in the San Gabriel Mountains. Multiple stream crossings, river cascades, the well-shaded trail is dotted with CCC-era cabins and capped off with a few easily-reachable waterfalls, including the 50 foot tall Sturtevant Falls all giving  way to thick forests, vine-covered trails, Jeffrey Pines, and eventually chaparral slopes of the front range. This is a beautiful trail with varied landscapes and plenty of places to extend your stay – either by camping or taking spur trails deeper into the mountains.


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