Nobody hikes in L.A., do they? If you get an hour off between auditions or gigs or whatever and want to get out, you surf, you go to Pilates, you play beach volleyball…but hike!? What is this, Europe?
Well, until a few years ago, the idea of getting out and exploring some of the mountains, forests, rivers and deserts surrounding Los Angeles would have about as foreign to me as Lindsay Lohan joining the Peace Corps. Coming from a musical background, I planned on becoming a rock star when I moved to the L.A. area in 1999. (I still play music with a variety of bands: Outside Pedestrian – modern jazz; South Bay Blues Authority – blues rock; Mark Easterday & the 40 Oz. Band – country, Smokin’ Cobras – oldies, 10th St. Jazz Quartet – classic and contemporary jazz.)
But recently I have had the immense pleasure of discovering some of the great natural areas around my adopted home. I have also had many friends join me on these hikes–at first perhaps just to shut me up–and they are always pleasantly surprised at what can be found not all that far from L.A. This blog is my way of sharing my experiences.
Each write-up includes:
- Trail name(s)/destinations
- Location and driving directions
- Agency (Angeles National Forest, Channel Islands National Park, etc)
- Elevation gain
- Recommendation for time allowed
- Best time of year/day
- Fees/permits required
- USGS topo map
- External links where appropriate
- Photos where appropriate
Difficulty rating (G, PG, PG-13, R or NC-17). G-rated hikes are easy, usually flat or with very little incline; great for beginners. PG-rated hikes are good for anyone who has a reasonably active lifestyle. Challenges might include steep stretches, navigation, rough terrain, or distance. PG-13 rated hikes might be classified as such because of considerable elevation gain (1,000 feet or more), distance (5 miles or more) or terrain, steepness and altitude. R-rated hikes should only be attempted by people with experience on easier trips; expect over 2,000 feet of elevation gain, distances of near (or more than) 10 miles, and other challenges. As for the NC-17 rated hikes–well, good luck!
Overall rating (from 1 to 10). As with difficulty, this is subjective, of course. Criteria include variety of scenery, wideness of views, isolation from noise and signs of civilization and more. Lower-rated hikes can still be enjoyable experiences; just don’t expect Yosemite. Hikes rated 4-6 are well worth doing if you’re in the area. Hikes rated 7, 8 and 9 are superior trips worth planning a day or to for, and the 10s are the ones you don’t want to miss.
Thus, a typical hike description might read:
Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City
- Location: Eastern part of the Land of Oz (from wreckage of farm house, follow yellow brick road west until you arrive at the Emerald City).
- Agency: Land of Oz
- Distance: 3 miles (point to point)
- Elevation gain: 200 feet
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: All year
- Recommended gear: Red slippers; heart; brains; courage
- USGS Topo: “Oz”
- Difficulty rating: G
So that’s the blog in a nutshell. Got it?
Any suggestions, comments, questions, updates, rants and raves are welcome: email email@example.com.
Thank you for reading the blog. Now get out there and prove Missing Persons wrong!