Hiking, Los Angeles
Bungee America runs the only bungee jumping installation in California. They run a good program that is fun and safe. Jumps are done off the "Bridge to No Where". They have been in business for over 20 years. The "jump masters" they employ are very friendly, detail oriented, and know what they are doing. Plan to be outside on the trail or jumping for at least 10 or 11 hours.
Even though the equipment is safe and thousands of jumpers have done this without accident, it's still scary. That's what makes it fun. One of the guys said, "You don't get to 'play with' fear much when you're adult." I think that's why we make safe ways to jump off a bridge. I know I was scared as I was out on the ledge trying to do the simple techniques for a good jump. For the most fun, you should be brave and just launch yourself. Most of the jumps will swing you under the bridge. If you are a confident jumper, they will tell you how to do different jumps including flips.
The 5 mile hike up to the bridge is great. The trail might be my favorite one in the Los Angeles area. It is decently challenging. You'll have to climb up some rocks as well as go through a some thorns. You'll also have to cross a creek 6 times. But, don't worry, it won't be too difficult if you are in average shape. You are expected to wear good hike worthy shoes and bring your own lunch, snacks and enough water to last the whole day. It may help to bring extra socks and to leave a change of clothes in your car for when you are done. There is no cell phone reception--which is great so you can enjoy being out in nature. For friends that want to watch, they can come on the hike for free.
You can also just come for the hike at anytime inside the Angeles National Forest. It only costs $5 for parking. Azusa, Ca is just 30 minutes north east of Downtown LA. Off the 210 freeway go north on Highway 39 (Azusa blvd) until it forks off to Glendora Mountain Road. Take a right on Glendora Mountain Road and a then a left on East Fork Road and park a bit after you pass a white bridge.
My only complaint is that it's a bit expensive. To do one jump costs $69. To do more jumps it gets less and less to add on. To do 2 jumps is $109 and to do 3 jumps costs $127. Since we had to meet with the rest of the jump team at 7:30 am and be out the whole day, I decided to go with 3 jumps.
If your friends jumped off a bridge would you also?
Placerita Canyon according to legend (and my hiking book) is where gold was discovered when a local pulled up an onion and found gold in the roots.....anyway this is a easy hike for most people and if you are able to do it after a recent rain you may be treated to a nice little waterfall that is about 10-15" tall. When we were there the tap was turned down to a trickle.
Either way the hike to the falls from the parking lot is 5 miles round trip with gentle inclines and it is dog friendly which works for us.
This hike is a bit out of the way and is acutually located in Santa Clarita which is a 45 min drive from downtown LA. The trails are groomed so all you need is a good pair of walking shoes and some water and maybe a snack if you get hungry
Every Spring, just outside Lancaster, the valley comes alive with flowers. Supposedly, when settlers first came to this area, they found poppies, the state flower, stretching from the mountains to the ocean. Now all we have left, besides the poppies that are in almost everyone's front yard, is this poppy preserve.
Lancaster is easily reached by freeway from Los Angeles. Just take the 5 or 405 north. Then transition onto the 14 North, which will become the 138. Exit W Ave I and go left. You'll follow Ave I for a long time. At 120th St. W turn right. Going to the left should be 120th St but to the right is Lancaster Rd. You'll follow this road for quite a ways as well, as it angles towards the hills. The entrance to the park is located near Lancaster Rd. & 160th St W. Total from Hwy 14/138 to the entrance to the park is about 15 miles.
I think it costs about $5 to get in and it is worth every cent. The park is gorgeous - hill after hill of bright orange poppies as well as several other kinds of flowers. There are trails but the further you get from the visitors' center the more peaceful it is.
Please note the poppies are at their peak usually mid-March to about mid-May and some years are better than others, all depending on what kind of winter we had. Before making any definite plans, please check the website to find out if it's a good time to visit.
Dogs are not allowed. However, there is another park nearby - Ripley Desert Woodland Park - that has Joshua Trees. This is a free park and dogs are allowed here if they are leashed.
With all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, the fact that the greater Los Angeles area presents some great hiking opportunities seems to get lost.
You have hikes all around the city:
- Coastline (Malibu, Palos Verdes, etc.)
- Basin & Foothills (Santa Susana Mtns, Griffith Park, Hollywood Hills, etc.)
- Santa Monica Mountains (Topanga, Malibu Creetk, etc.)
- Angeles Ntl. Forest (Tujunga Canyon, Arroyo Seco, Mount Wilson, San Gabriel, etc.)
- Catalina Island (Avalon, Two Harbors, etc.)
Words of Wisdom:
* Make sure you have the proper equipment with you (including water!).
* Be aware of any parking restrictions (especially in Angeles Ntl. Forest).
* Map out your trip beforehand (Google-Earth is a great resource).
We use a fabulous book to decide on hikes, and then double-check the info online. The book is "Afoot & Afield in Los Angeles County" by Jerry Schad. You can also find some hiking-groups that meet on a regular basis at www.meetup.com (type in hiking and zip-code 90001)
Newcomb's Ranch is a historic roadhouse oasis, 27 miles up the Angeles Crest Highway from Los Angeles.
The first time I drove this far up the crest and saw the lonely "food ahead" sign aside the road, I thought I must have altitude sickness. But, no, here in the middle of the Angeles National Forest is a historic diner, popular with bikers in the summer, and oftentimes snowed-in during the unpredictable winter.
An Asian couple recently purchased Newcomb's and cleaned it up...in fact, they polished a little more of the charm out of the old shack than I would approve of. Still, it's a sweet little getaway, with pool tables, nachos and a few beers on tap.
Take the Angeles Crest from La Canada Flintridge, past Mt. Wilson. Straight shot, and related to my Mountains tip in this same section.
Definitely a unique experience in Metro Los Angeles.
Arrive in Los Angeles on a moderate smog day, and you will be stunned to find a major mountain range backs right up to the city limits. The San Bernardino Mountains help and hurt LA, simultaneously. They protect the city from the harsh desert climate to their East, but also trap in air masses - playing the largest hand in LA's poor air quality. Nevertheless, a jaunt up into the Angeles National Forest is exhilarating. It's bewildering to depart Mt. Wilson(5,710'), cling to the curves and dips, and arrive back in the city limits in twenty minutes. Who cares if gang members dump bodies in the canyons late at night. It's pretty!
The best approach is to ascend Big Tujunga Canyon Road from Tujunga/Sunland and descend via the Angeles Crest to La Canada. However, finding the former will be tough if you're not adept with maps. In this case, simply follow the 2 Fwy to "Mountain Ave", turn right at the end of ramp, and then left onto the Angeles Crest. Travel as far as you wish. Mt. Wilson is, I believe, nineteen miles from this intersection. Disclaimer: This road is not for the faint of heart!
Distance: 5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1400 ft
Hike Time: 3 hours
this is a great hike for late fall, winter and early spring. bring your water! there's not much shade to shelter you from a beating from the sun. it's wide enough for most folks but if you're scared of heights it will seem narrower than comfortable. the resort ruins at the top make it worth the trip. yell through the resort's echophone and hear yourself answer back.
From the I-210 Foothill Freeway in Pasadena, exit at Lake Avenue. Drive north for 3.4 miles to the end of Lake Avenue (where it intersects with the terminus of Loma Alta Drive running east and west). Park along the street. The hike begins to the left of the stone gateway on the east side of the street.
Distance: 4.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Hike Time: 2.5 hours
Wow, this hike's a good one..especially for hot summer days. Plenty of shade for the first 3/5 of the trail and the creek that it runs along helps cool things down.
It seemed so much longer since you have to cross the creek about 16 times round trip. Do you cross by bridge? Oh no, you have to hop from rock to rock, boulder to boulder and find your way across. Do wear shoes and even clothes you don't mind wetting. With the help of an old branch made into a hiking stick I had no trouble skipping and hopping merrily across but my friend took an unintentional dive into the water, twice.
There's a super tall waterfall with a deep pool to swim in at the very end. Bring lunch and a swimsuit and plenty of bug repellant!
From Interstate 210 in La Canada, take Highway 2 north and drive 10 miles to Switzer picnic area on the right. Descend to the parking area outside the campground. You will see a footbridge over the stream leading to the trail head.
Must have a rental car and water for this hike: from Del Cerro Park in Rancho Palos Verdes, there is a splendid fire road with numerous side trails to hike above and down to mostly undeveloped Portugese Bend, all the way to the ocean if you like. Not too heavily used by hikers & mountain bikers, you can vary the difficulty & distance from moderate to steep single track and easily find your own peace & quiet with beautiful views of the peninsula, ocean and Catalina Island. You start from the top, so the farther down you hike, the farther up you need to return. To get there: Take PCH south to Palos Verdes Blvd. and turn right. Stay on PV Blvd. as it winds and becomes Palos Verdes Drive West. Stay on PV Drive West as it winds around the peninsula to Hawthorne Blvd. and turn left. Take Hawthorne up the hill to Crest Road and turn right. Stay on Crest until Crenshaw Blvd. and turn right. Go to the end of Crenshaw and there is a parking lot at Del Cerro Park. The trailhead is at the very end of Crenshaw above the park with a large yellow gate prohibiting vehicles.
If you have a car and like to hike, drive to Eaton Canyon in Altadena (north of Pasadena) and park in the lot. Walk a quarter mile up the canyon road to the falls, cross the bridge, and take the Altadena Crest Trail which is the dirt trail on your right. With a moderate grade and clear wide path, you quickly rise above the skyline--not just of Pasadena, but of the entire City of the Angels. You can see Downtown, Palos Verdes, Long Beach, etc. and on a clear day, the ocean and Catalina Island. 2-4 miles roundtrip depending upon how far you want to walk.
Los Angeles is truly a city that has it all. But one of the greatest aspects of LA is that you can easily escape the congestion, celebrities and theme parks. The Santa Monica National Recreation area is a large collection of small parks which extends from Los Angeles to the northern portion of Malibu.
Driving along Sunset Boulevard, you will find the entrance to Temescal Canyon Gateway Park, a small park with a few short but scenic hiking options. Here there are speed limits which are actually observed and hiking trails that lead to the top of the Canyon for great views of the city you've just left behind or through wooded areas leading into Topanga Canyon State Park.
A short trail leads from the parking and fee area to Temescal Falls, shown in the photo. Although these are far from the most spectacular falls in California, they are probably the most accessible from Los Angeles.
In addition to Temescal Canyon, there are numerous other parks within and just outside Los Angeles which are perfect for short hikes and a bit of respite from the city.
Just off of Pacific Coast Highway between Malibu Canyon Rd and Kanan is Solstice Canyon. Very pretty place to walk and explore with a small stream, waterfalls, remnants of burned down homes and an information center that has occasion talks.
Turn at Corral at the gas station. It is a very short drive to the park entrance.
CHANNEL ISLANDS - I know some group of men who chartered a plane for a bachelor party here. As far as I know, this is one bachelor party where there were no strippers. Camping, kayaking, hiking, diving. No modern conveniences though, so you'll have to rough it out. For information call, 805-658-5730 (automated machine) ; for camping reservations call 800-365-2267
The highest Point in the Santa Monica Mountains, Sandstone Peak/Mt. Allen is a "get sweaty" hike at 6 mi and 1,400 ft elevation gain. The trail covers volcanic rock and lush vegetation, especially in spring where you can see a variety of wildflowers. You may also catch glimpses of the Conejo and San Fernando Valleys and the Pacific Coast.
From Ventura Fwy (101) - Take Westlake Blvd and go south until it merges with Mulholland Highway. Turn right onto Little Sycamore Cyn which becomes Yerba Buena Rd. for for 4 miles to trailhead.
From Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH) - to Yerba Buena Rd. for 5.5 miles. Park at the turnoff near Triunfo Pass. About 1 mile east of Circle X Ranch.
Rome is known for it's 7 hills. I propose that L.A. be known for its hills too. Throughout the northern and eastern parts of the city and its suburbs are great little hills, neighborhoods and beautiful views of the city. One of my favorites is in Highland Park (east L.A.). A ways up Avenue 64 is a large church. Just next to that church is a small street that goes up the mountain. If you go up there, there will be an empty lot off to the right. There is a path, at the end of which is a large cross and a lovely view of the city below. Another nice place is along the 134 freeway between Pasadena & Glendale. Although it's not good to take your eyes off the road, this view is especially beautiful on a clear day or during sundown. On good days you can see all the way to Los Angeles. These sort of spots can be found all over the city if you are willing to go for a little adventure.