Santa Monica Mountains Hikes

The map and table included below contain all the Santa Monica Mountains hikes covered on this site. More will be added moving forward!

The Santa Monica Mountains run approximately 40 miles from the Hollywood Hills on the east all the way to Point Mugu on the west. “The Valley” – technically the San Fernando Valley – borders  the north side of these mountains, with the areas from Hollywood to Malibu lining the south side of the range. While the range has less altitude – Sandstone Peak at 3,111′ its high point – than the other Southern California ranges, the views are still quite spectacular at times. The trail system of the range is well-developed, offering the aforementioned peaks, but also a number of particularly nice tree-lined canyons featuring tranquil streams, and some lovely waterfalls as well. A little known feature of this range is the Backbone Trail, a 68 mile long trail system that traverses most of the range, primarily staying to its crest.

Santa Monica Mountains IMG_4005
Because of its proximity to the sea and the dramatic ocean and city views offered on its flanks, a fair percentage of the range is populated. Thankfully, however, the majority of this lovely coastal mountain range has been preserved for posterity. This is due in part to the efforts of The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, a California state agency which deserves great praise from all nature lovers. Many of the preserved areas of the range are contained in The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area , a well-conceived national recreation area which contains many separate parks and land parcels as wild space.


The Santa Monica Mountains are a rare treasure – with their combination of proximity to both the city and the ocean they offer fantastic hikes into beautiful wilderness areas adjacent to one of the largest cities on earth.

Map of Santa Monica Mountains Hikes

Santa Monica Mountains Hikes

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Temescal Canyon Hike: 34.051054, -118.529083
Runyon Canyon Hike: 34.105270, -118.348960
Solstice Canyon Hike : 34.037721, -118.781572
Santa Ynez Canyon Trail: 34.078243, -118.567421

Table of Santa Monica Mountain Hikes

Hike NameDifficultyTypeLocationLength (RT)TimeElevationSummary
Temescal Canyon Hike – Los AngelesEasy to ModerateWaterfall/View HikeTopanga State Park3 miles2hrs900'Great beginner’s loop trail featuring expansive ocean, city, and canyon views, a lovely seasonal stream with waterfalls, and old growth oak and sycamore forest
Runyon Canyon HikeEasy to ModerateTrail/View HikeHollywood Hills3 miles1.5 hrs800'A good cardio workout with great city and ocean views, and dog friendly. A bit crowded yes, but also close to the city.
Solstice Canyon HikeEasy to ModerateWaterfall/View HikeMalibu Area3 miles3 hrs950'Hike into a wonderful sea side canyon featuring great ocean views, old growth oak trees, interesting historical ruins, and a lovely seasonal waterfall.
Santa Ynez Canyon TrailEasyWaterfall HikeTopanga State Park2.5 miles1.5 hrs250-Easy hike to a lovely sculpted sandstone gorge with a small seasonal 15′ waterfall.

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