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The Best of LA's Hard Hikes

Challenge yourself on these tough trails near Los Angeles.

Hiking Difficult, Severe

Mount Wilson
Photo: Matthew Dillon via Flickr Creative Commons


Spend just a little time exploring Los Angeles on foot, and you’ll quickly realize how hilly it is. The city is in a broad basin, but one that’s rippled by small mountain ranges and surrounded by larger ones. The mountainous terrain, plus an abundance of parks and public lands providing access, provide for many challenging hikes near LA.

Many of these hikes are ascents to peaks in the San Gabriel Mountains just north of the city, but there are more. The Santa Monica Mountains rise in the middle of the urban area and have some surprisingly rugged topography. There are also the San Bernardino Mountains to the east, home to Southern California’s tallest mountain, San Gorgonio. Then there is Catalina Island, a mountain in the sea that rises to the west. All are worthy arenas for outdoor adventure, and some of their best trails are highlighted here. Whether you seek the satisfaction of a huge summit, solitude in the wilderness, or simply a great workout, these tough hikes near Los Angeles have it all.

Routes included

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