Best hikes in LA: Get outdoors and view the city from the hills

From secluded mountain treks in Altadena to unparalleled people-watching in Runyon Canyon, here are five of the best hikes in LA with great views of the city.

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Best hikes: Corral Canyon

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Best hikes: Corral Canyon

The Sara Wan Trailhead at Corral Canyon


Where mountains collide with ocean, it’s hard to go wrong in the search for perfect views. What makes Malibu’s Corral Canyon stand out is its status as the only coastal canyon in Los Angeles County that was never developed. That means raw nature—coastal sage scrub and willows clinging to parched hills, plus the occasional bunny or lizard—experienced over a 2.4-mile, fairly gentle and shockingly deserted (on a weekday afternoon) hike.

As the trail begins, the noise of the PCH and the sea breeze follow you up. But things quiet down—and heat up—quickly on this shadeless trail. Hang a left at the first fork—this way you can face the ocean during your descent. Cutting through wild fennel and rust-colored grasses, the packed dirt path leads you on switchbacks along the east side and top of Corral Canyon.

While the loop lacks a crowning “inspiration point” to linger on, the descent toward the ocean has sweeping views of Santa Monica beaches all the way to Point Dume that are more than easy on the eyes.

Corral Canyon

Address: 5623 Pacific Coast Hwy

Hours: Dawn to dusk

Parking: Plenty on PCH by Malibu Seafood; or pay $5 (cash or check) in the lot at the trailhead, just east of the restaurant.

Pets? Dogs allowed on leashes.

Length: ~2.5 miles

Time: 60-90 mins


Users say

6 comments
Maria F
Maria F

Miss Heaven's Bustop at the top of Runyon!

Justin S
Justin S

Whatever dumbass wrote this article gave the wrong address for the Sara Wan Trailhead. 25623 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu 90265

Jack
Jack

Great site to explore the city.

Julie Kashen
Julie Kashen

Corral Canyon is awesome, but the address you have listed is wrong. Newport Beach is also beautiful, but not as good for a great hike. I recommend you correct the address.

Time Out Los Angeles on Spotify