Los Angeles isn’t a city exactly known for outdoor recreation areas. In fact, in comparison to other major metropolitan centers, LA offers little in the way of public park spaces. Aside from the Angeles National Forest which lies north of the city, most hiking trails within city limits are riddled with people and may not offer the serene, tranquil experience being outdoors should provide. Best Hikes North East Los Angeles
In Northeast LA however, there are several beacons of peaceful trails that give outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to enjoy nature without the hustle-and-bustle of many other popular hiking destinations.
Below is a list of 5 hikes you may not have heard of, but definitely need to check out.
1. Elephant Hill – El Sereno
Covering a span of 20-acres in El Sereno, Elephant Hill might seem like an unassuming plot of land at first. Nicknamed “The Heavens” by locals, the area encompasses several winding paths that lead to steep climbs. At the top of these paths, beautiful 360° views of El Sereno, South Pasadena and Downtown can be enjoyed.
In the past, the park had issues with illegal dumping, wannabe off-roaders, and several developers who wanted to build on the land. Since 2013, the City Council has made great efforts to keep the hill open for public use and to make it into a safe place for all to enjoy.
Address: Collis Ave & Burr St., 90032
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Street Parking Along Collis Ave
Distance & Time: An area spanning 20-acres, takes about 2 hours to explore
2. Elyria Canyon Park – Mt. Washington
Nestled near the 110 and 5 freeways in the neighborhood of Mt. Washington lies the widely unknown Elyria Canyon Park. Just minutes from the craziness of Downtown, the park offers a rare chance at peace, silence and solitude. Covering a 35-acre area, Elyria gives visitors a glimpse into what the native habitat of the region may have looked like. The trails lead the hiker to views of the Los Angeles River and Griffith Observatory.
At the foot of the trail is the Self-Realization Fellowship, which allows the public to access the shady paths and gardens on premises from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from 1 p.m – 5 p.m. on Sundays. It’s worth checking out.
Address: 1550 Bridgeport Drive, Los Angeles, 90065
Hours: Dawn through Dusk
Parking: Street Parking
Distance & Time: 2 miles, takes about an hour
3. Ernest E. Debs Regional Park – Montecito Heights
Located in the quaint neighborhood of Montecito Heights, Ernest E. Debs park offers an ample amount of space to explore and enjoy. Covering nearly 300 acres of what was once a private ranch, the park has nearly five-miles of trails that all interconnect. There are several entrances to the park, and depending on which part you decide to explore, the ambiance and feel of the scenery can change drastically.
A good place to start your journey is at the Audubon Center at Debs. Known as the first carbon-neutral building in the United States, the friendly staff at the center help hikers plan their route through the park. The have maps and guides and offer the use of a backpack and binoculars in exchange for leaving your keys or I.D. in the office.
Address: 4700 Griffin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90031
Hours: Audubon Center is open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday – Saturday. Park from Dawn – Dusk Everyday
Parking: Street Parking off Griffin & Large Lot on Southside of Park, Entrance off Monterey Rd.
Distance & Time: 5.2 miles, 3 hours
4. Eldred Stairs at the Southwest Museum – Highland Park
Whether it’s the stairs in the Santa Monica Canyon, or in Culver City, you’re bound to run into countless people who are all trying to get a staircase workout. This can lead to a less enjoyable experience overall. Thankfully there’s a set of stairs very few are in the know about.
Hidden away just off of Avenue 50 in Highland Park, are the historic Eldred Stairs. Walk north on Ave. 50 and make a left on Eldred St. Here you’ll see the dauntingly steep hill that leads to where the stairs begin. The wooden, yet sturdy stairs contain 196 steps that will challenge your physical prowess. The steepness of the incline throughout the walk and stair climb cannot be overstated. Although a tremendous workout, the views of the Southwest Museum and surrounding neighborhoods make the trek worth it.
Address: 4836 Eldred St., 90042
Hours: All Day
Parking: Off of Figueroa is your best bet
Distance & Time: 2.6 miles, one hour
5. Moon Canyon Park – Mt. Washington
Moon Canyon Park is a small 4.5 acre park in the center of the Mt. Washington neighborhood of Los Angeles. This un-staffed park is known to have wild shrubbery that is slightly overgrown, and also barren trails that lead from the lower ends of the Mt. Washington to its upper heights.
Address: 911 N Museum Dr
Los Angeles, 90065
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: Parking near trailhead
Distance & Time: 4.5 acres of space, one-two hours