Contrary to TLC’s advice, there are times when chasing waterfalls is well worth your time!
Los Angeles offers some spectacular hikes that make breaking a sweat a truly rewarding experience. At times, hiking in the summer heat can be a daunting task. However, with beautiful waterfall at the end, it’s much easier to get motivated. Plus, hiking is an easy way to incorporate exercise into your day and to break up the monotony of indoor workouts.
These five hikes have waterfalls that are worth the effort to reach!
PRO TIP – Check the Instagram location tag of the falls before you decide which one to visit. A lot of these waterfalls are dependent on rainfall that can be sparse during Summer. A quick check of the location tags on Instagram will give you an idea of the current water flow at each fall.
Escondido Falls – Malibu
Distance (Out & Back): 3.8 Miles
Address: 27200 Winding Way, Malibu, CA
This huge limestone fall is the highest in the Santa Monica Mountains. The trail can get busy during the summer, but the close to 4-mile trek through the oak woodland is well worth the trip.
Sturtevant Falls – San Gabriel Mountains
Distance (Out & Back): 3.3 Miles
Address: Chantry Flats Road, Angeles National Forest, Arcadia, CA 91006
This hike located in the San Gabriel Mountains is great for beginners with only 400 feet of elevation and a total hiking time of approximately an hour and a half.
Santa Ynez Falls – Santa Monica
Distance (Out & Back): 3.0 Miles
Address: 20829 Entrada Rd, Topanga, CA 90290
Located in Topanga state park, this hike is great on a sunny summer day due to the abundance of shade along the route. The 20-foot waterfall is often dry during long periods of drought, so hiking this trail a few days after rainfall is recommended!
Paradise Falls – Thousand Oaks
Distance (Loop): 2.5 Miles
Address: 928 West Avenida De Los Arboles, Wildwood Regional Park, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
This heavily flowing 40-foot waterfall is in a section of Wildwood Park that also features the notable attraction Lizard Rock. A more strenuous hike encompassing both attractions runs around 4.5 miles. Luckily, this route is well posted with sign posts frequently dotted along the route. It’s worth doing research online if you intend to efficiently visit both attractions.
Trail Canyon Falls – San Gabriel Mountains
Distance (Out & Back): 4 Miles
Address: 19600 North Trail Canyon Road, Angeles National Forest, Tujunga, CA 91042
Located on the West side of the San Gabriel Mountains, this trek of around 2 miles and 700 feet in elevation will bring you to a stunning 30-foot waterfall.
Remember to bring adequate water and supplies for even the shortest of hikes! It is no fun running out of water on a hot summer hike.
Kaitlin is a travel writer and marketing consultant. On any given day, you can find her surfing, reading, and/or on the eternal search for the cutest cafes (with tons of power sockets, of course).