If you are looking for enjoyable activities in the Los Angeles or Ventura County regions, you likely have a lengthy list of possibilities. This part of the California coast has a lot to offer, like some of the best hikes in Southern California, popular arts and culture, tasty food, and beautiful beaches. There are so many things to do that one of the most acceptable pastimes is still primarily undiscovered and a fantastic experience.

Why is this hike in Southern California one of the best?

The mountains are pretty, the scenery is stunning, and the state of California is the only place you can find such a wide range of terrain and settings. But what makes Trail Magic one of the best hikes in Southern California is the chance to reconnect with your friends and nature in a meaningful way.

Trail Magic Adventures can help you plan anything from a one-night camping trip with your family along the California coast to a full-length thru-hike.

The Best hikes in Southern California Essentials:

Hiking Shoes/Boots

Slippery slopes and cactus needles might be dangerous if you don’t have adequate footwear. Wear hiking shoes or boots to assist you in grasping the challenging terrain and sandy paths and prevent mishaps!

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Clothes for hiking

The weather will be hot and sunny any day you hit the trails. So, it’s essential to wear layers that let air in and keep you cool.

Check out Gear Reviews: The Marmot PreCip rain jacket – Waterproof, Lightweight

Shade from the sun

As we’ve already said, you will likely go hiking on a warm, sunny day. You’ll need to bring the proper safety gear if you don’t want to look like a lobster when you drive home. We suggest bringing sunglasses, sunscreen, and a hat because the sun’s rays can be intense.


On a long hike, a compass is a handy tool. Cell phone service isn’t always good, so bring a compass.

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On the desert trails of Southern California, people often get dehydrated. On the shorter hikes on this list, you might be able to get by with a 32-ounce water bottle. We suggest filling up a hydration pack and carrying it on your back for longer hikes. It will make it more comfortable for you to bring more water and pack other things on the list. It works out well for everyone.


This right here is where we shine. On these hikes, especially the longer ones, it’s important to bring snacks to keep you going. The right snack should be full of protein to keep your energy up and help you stay strong until the end of the hike.

Kit for First Aid

The trails are rough, or at least they can be, so bring a first aid kit if you fall or get hurt by a cactus. Plus, you never know when you might run into another hiker who needs help. Safe is always better than sorry!

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Needs for cleanliness

Since we live in the Covid era, keeping up with sanitation while on the trails is very important. We suggest carrying a small bottle of hand sanitiser and a face mask. Be careful on the trails and try to avoid people as much as possible.

Best hikes in Southern California

  • 1. Best hikes in Southern California: Brand Park Trail
  • 2. Best hikes in Southern California: Castle Rock Trail
  • 3. Best hikes in Southern California: Whiting Woods Motorway
  • 4. Best hikes in Southern California: Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak
  • 5. Best hikes in Southern California: Las Flores Trail
  • 6. Best hikes in Southern California: The Slot
  • 7. Best hikes in Southern California: Wildwood Canyon Trail

Best hikes in Southern California: Brand Park Trail

Best hikes in Southern California

Want to go hiking up a trail that goes almost straight up? Brand Park Trail goes up about 2,000 feet in about two miles, so it’s not a good choice for beginners.

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Rating: Difficult
  • Location: Glendale, California

When you reach the top, do not forget to look around. You’ll have some of the best views of downtown Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and feel good about climbing one of the steepest hills in the area.

Best hikes in Southern California: Castle Rock Trail

Best hikes in Southern California

I always tell people who come to Big Bear in the summer to go on this hike. This hike is a must if you want to get the “full picture” of Big Bear Lake. It’s easy to do. Be ready to walk uphill and gain a little more than 800 feet in altitude, but it will all be worth it. At the end of this hike, you can climb to the top of a huge rock. Please don’t bring small children or dogs to the top of the rock, as it is dangerous and stands about 60 feet above the ground. 

  • Distance: 2.6 miles
  • Rating: Moderate to Hard
  • Location: Big Bear Lake, California

My favourite time to hike this trail is in the morning or evening when I can see the sunrise or sunset. At the top, there are cute, friendly chipmunks, but please don’t feed them. Early in the spring, the creek has waterfalls, so April is a great time to go. April through October are the most suitable times to hike this trail, but you can do it in the winter with snowshoes.

Best hikes in Southern California: Whiting Woods Motorway

Best hikes in Southern California

The Whiting Woods Motorway, a somewhat hilly route adorned with clusters of California’s golden poppies, is broad enough for a good-sized party, including animal pals, to stroll together. 

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Rating: Moderate
  • Location: Verdugo City, CA

Pack at the smallest two litres of water and plenty of sunscreen since the terrain offers little shade. Hikers should come during the spring season to appreciate the vegetation along the trail.

Best hikes in Southern California: Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak

Best hikes in Southern California

I like this trail because it’s close to where I live and leads to the highest point in Southern California. Reaching the top of this mountain range is a real feat. I would not take my family on this trail because it is hard, and you might have to stay the night (permits required). Compared to other trails that lead to the top of San Gorgonio, this one is one of the steepest and hardest. 

  • Distance: 17 miles
  • Rating: Difficult
  • Location: San Gorgonio Wilderness, California

Between May and October would be the best time to hike this trail. There are streams, lots of wildflowers, and lots of animals. If you are lucky, you might see some beautiful mountain goats. Make sure to bring a lot of clothes, food, and water. Be ready, because whether you plan to or not, you may have to stay the night. What a fun trail and a huge thing to do!

Best hikes in Southern California: Las Flores Trail

Best hikes in Southern California

Las Flores Trail begins as a leisurely walk along Sunrise Drive in a residential area and grows into a climb through the lower slopes of the Verdugo Mountains, stretching up to the eastern face of Mount Thom. 

  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Rating: Easy
  • Location: Glendale, California

Winding switchbacks provide diverse views of the city until hikers reach Mount Thom’s peak.

Best hikes in Southern California: The Slot

Best hikes in Southern California

This trail is very different and leads to canyons about an hour and a half east of San Diego. If you want to find this trail, plan and draw or download a map so you can find the trailhead before you go. These canyons are not for easily scared people; if anyone in your group doesn’t like being in tight spaces, you might want to choose a different trail. Slot Canyon is fun and full of beautiful rock formations made by nature. The canyon’s walls can be as high as 40 feet and have small caves and natural bridges. 

  • Distance: 2.3 miles
  • Rating: Moderate
  • Location: Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

Please Make sure you bring a lot of water with you because it can be hot in the desert most of the year. This trail goes in a loop and is easy to follow, but watch for flash flood warnings. September through April is the best month to use this trail.

Best hikes in Southern California: Wildwood Canyon Trail

Best hikes in Southern California

Are you searching for steep slopes? You have found it. Wildwood Canyon Trail is a popular place to go hiking and connects to the Vital Link Trail. Together, the two trails are a good workout. 

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Rating: Moderate
  • Location: Burbank, California

The first two miles are steep uphill, so it’s best to fill up on water at the base. A fantastic way to end the day is to see the sunset and hike at dusk.

Final Thoughts

While this list barely scrapes the surface of the number of incredible treks available in Southern California, I hope it inspires you to put on your hiking boots and go out there. If you gather enough tales and images along the road, you could find yourself authoring your blog one day. These best hikes in Southern California offer something for everyone.

Remember that the essential aspect of any walk is to soak in the beauty around you and the company you enjoy it with since few people are fortunate enough to experience the grandeur of California firsthand.

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