We asked WLAPOM members to share their favorite local hiking spots (including any special tips for families with multiples and for safe social distancing), and here are the results!
Free street parking (not busy), fairly flat, not stroller friendly.
Short hike to a sandstone cave, which can be explored. You can even walk on the top of the cave and peer down into it through 2 holes.
Free street parking (not busy), uphill, could bring stroller but will be pushing it uphill.
2.5 miles out and back trail with a moderate uphill, which means steady downhill on return. Trail is nice and wide for social distancing, and it isn't highly trafficked. Beautiful views of the ocean and Bel Air.
Free parking (busy), multiple trails from flat to steep, could bring stroller.
Part of National Park Service Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Solstice Canyon trail has remains of the Keller House, and you can walk around in the remains of the Roberts Ranch, which can help to provide some imaginary adventures for kids. There is a waterfall near the Roberts Ranch.
Solstice Canyon trail is 2.1 miles out and back. For a harder hike continue over the stream to the Rising Sun Trail (not for strollers and some steep inclines). Not during Covid, occasionally a park ranger does junior ranger activites.
Free parking (moderate to busy), multiple trails from flat to steep, around the reservoir is stroller friendly.
Fairly covered trail around the reservoir. The pond has turtles and fish, which provide entertainment for a short hike. For tougher trails, head to lower Franklin Canyon.
Free parking (busy), fairly flat, stroller friendly.
Urban hike below LMU and above Bluff Creek Drive. The Sports Park has a playground if the kids need encouragement for the end of the hike.
Free parking, moderate to steep, not stroller friendly.
Hike starts/ends in Serrania Park in Woodland Hills. The park offers picnic tables and a playground to make a half-day of the hike. Hike is 2.4 miles out and back up to dirt Mulholland. It could be extended for a longer hike if desired.
Go in the winter or early morning or later afternoon as there is little tree cover.
Paid parking (in lot)/free parking (on PCH), steep, not stroller friendly.
2.3 mile loop trail in the Santa Monica Mountains. There are switchbacks, which make the steep incline more bearable, but your children may still complain. There is a chimney, which is the remains of a very old home, to give children something to talk about.
Beautiful views of the ocean.
There are 8 trails listed in this historic state park, and even if you just decide to run around in the giant polo field next to the parking lot, you'll be happy you discovered it!
This is a huge area to explore, and you can start by heading to the Santa Ynez Canyon, which offers a shady, easy-to-follow, and relatively flat trail along Santa Ynez Creek, with the option to go all the way to the park's main parking lot and activity center at Trippet Ranch.
Just next to Echo Park, Elysian Park offers a variety of trails plus plenty of parking and playgrounds. If you enjoy flying a kite, look for Elysian Fields, which is a hilltop clearing with a baseball field and playground.
This is a great spot for families, and again you won't be disappointed if you only have the time (or energy) to get around the lake near the car park. Kenneth Hahn has trails, playgrounds, a duck pond, playing fields, and lots of open green space to enjoy...
This is a great nature trail for beginners just at the edge of Griffith Park. It's a mostly flat loop (0.5 miles round trip) with a coffee shop, bathrooms, parking and a play area nearby (if they're open). You'll walk along a stream, under a cute bridge, through some foliage - and feel like you've had an adventure (even though you're never that far from where you parked).
- Park near the "Trails" Cafe (just near the park entrance).
- This hike can easily be extended by heading further into Griffith Park.
Palos Verdes: Tide Pool Trails
If your kids are steady on their feet and keen to explore the seaside, check out these cliffside trails, which will lead you to some fun rocky beaches in Palos Verdes. Check the tide table and go at low tide to see crabs, starfish and sea anemones in the tide pools.
NB. Both these trails are short but have steep sections to consider.
- Park in the public lot up on the cliffs and follow the trail down to the beach.
- There are bathrooms in the upper carpark for public use (TBD during Covid).
- Park in the public lot directly next to the Trump golf clubhouse.
- Follow either the "Sunrise" or "Sunset" trails down to the water.
- There are bathrooms and a snack bar for public use here (TBD during Covid).
Thanks so much to Mary Bacaj, Alba Castaneda, British Wagya, Julie Morris and Christina Pitcher for these recommendations!
Safety Notice: Please use your own judgment to choose the trails best suited to your family. Wear appropriate clothing, take water and food, and be aware of social distancing (avoiding "peak times" wherever possible). Stay safe WLAPOM's!