All Southern California Hikes

Southern California has a unique combination of complex geography and great weather. This allows for numerous year round hiking adventures.

The map and table included below contain all the Southern California hikes from the various areas covered by this site.

Southern California Hikes IMG_0813Note that most of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego Counties, and the Inland Empire portions of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, are all primarily bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the West. But otherwise these areas are almost completely surrounded by large mountain ranges. This is the reason deserts exist beyond the West and North boundaries of the area, because most precipitation is expended on these tall boundary ranges. Our weather is also strongly effected by our closeness to the ocean. In addition, we are south of the normal position of the jet stream, which helps us avoid many weather systems. We all know that Southern California is world-famous for our fantastic weather. Much more information can be found in this Wikipedia entry on the Geography of Southern California.

These blessings of nature provide you with a huge number of potential Southern California hiking adventures. Most of these are within a 1 or 2 hour travel time from anywhere in our area. A primary purpose of this site is to promote these great opportunities for exploration of nature through Southern California hikes.

Each of the major ranges on the overall map below has its own page on this site. This is because each has its own special character, and each also tends to be somewhat geographically localized. This feature allows you to explore specific Southern California hiking areas at your convenience. You can find the page for each mountain range and area under the hiking by area drop down menu above. In addition, you will find hikes organized into type under hiking lists in the drop down menu above. This will enable you to find beginner hikes, waterfall hikes, and adventure hikes easily.

So while all Southern California hikes are included on this page, you can use the menus described to narrow your search. So pick a hike and go for it! Whichever of these Southern California hikes you choose, you will enjoy the beauty and peace of nature at her finest.

Map of All Southern California Hikes

All Southern California Hikes

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All Southern California Hikes: 33.788279, -117.812576


Table of All Southern California Hikes

Hike NameDifficultyTypeLocationLength (RT)TimeElevationSummary
Middle Fork Lytle Creek to Lower Fall SetStrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSan Gabriels - Lytle Creek Area6.5 miles5 hrs1,500'Magnificent alpine canyon featuring perennial stream, old growth pines and cedars, and spectacular waterfalls - but rough ride to trail head.
Lower Holcomb Canyon HikeModerateAdventure HikeSan Gabriels - Devils Punchbowl Area5 miles3 hrs500'Beautiful secluded canyon with perennial stream
Runyon Canyon HikeEasy to ModerateBeginner/View hikeSanta Monicas-Hollywood 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.
San Juan Loop TrailEasyBeginner/Waterfall hikeSanta Anas - Ortega Highway Corridor 2.2 miles1.5 hrs500'Great beginner’s loop trail featuring seasonal waterfalls, nice views down San Juan Creek basin, and old growth oak forest.
Trail Canyon FallsModerateWaterfall HikeSan Gabriels - Big Tujunga Canyon Area4.2 miles3 hrs700'Well graded trail up a dramatic canyon to a lovely 40' waterfall
Upper Hot Spring Canyon FallsStrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSanta Anas - Ortega Highway Corridor 5 miles4 hrs700'Boulder hopping/scrambling down an amazingly rugged and pristine canyon to reach several wonderful waterfalls
Harding Falls Hike – Orange CountyStrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSanta Anas - Modjeska Canyon Area7.5 miles6 hrs1,500'A hidden Shangra-La of sparkling pools and lush forest, leading to a majestic 60' twin-tier waterfall.
Aspen Grove HikeEasy to moderateStream/Fall Color HikeSan Bernardinos - Aspen Grove Area6 miles4 hrs900'Wonderful hike to the only Aspen Grove in Southern California uses a little-known and thus uncrowded approach up the tranquil alpine canyon of lovely Fish Creek, also thereby avoiding the rough unmaintained road up to the defined trail head.
Upper Eaton CanyonStrenuousAdventure HikeSan Gabriels - Mt Wilson Area7 miles5 hrs1,500'Drop into the pristine alpine wilderness in the upper reaches of this famous canyon, miles from the crowds far below - and above.
Etiwanda FallsEasy to ModerateWaterfall HikeSan Gabriels - Rancho Cucamonga Area4 miles2 hrs700' Well graded though shadeless trail to lovely tree-lined stream with multi-tiered waterfall 100' total height
Devils Punchbowl Punchbowl Creek HikeModerate to StrenuousAdventure HikeSan Gabriels - Devils Punchbowl Area7 miles5 hrs1,200'Dramatic sculpted sandstone and spectacular geologic formations, with waterfalls and pools in season, all deep in the bowels of the Devil's Punchbowl far from the crowds on the defined trails
Temescal Canyon Hike – Los AngelesEasy to ModerateBeginner/Waterfall hikeSanta Monicas - Topanga State Park3 miles2 hrs900'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
Cooper Canyon Falls – Buckhorn Falls HikeModerateWaterfall/Adventure HikeSan Gabriels- Buckhorn Campground Area5 Miles5 hrs1,000'The San Gabriel high country at its best - alpine scenery, old growth pines and cedars, lovely waterfalls.
Allison Gulch Falls HikeStrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSan Gabriels - East Fork San Gabriel River Area10 miles6 hrs2000'Boulder hop up a rugged gorge from its confluence with the East Fork San Gabriel River to the rarely seen 80' tall Allison Gulch Falls.
Mill Creek CanyonModerately StrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSan Bernardinos - Mill Creek Area7 miles5 hrs1,750'Easy access to spectacular alpine scenery reminiscent of the Eastern Sierra, culminating in a dramatic sequence of waterfalls.
Whiting Ranch Red Rock Canyon HikeEasyBeginner Hike - Optional off trail scrambling portion adventure hikeSanta Anas - Whiting Ranch Area4.5 miles2.5 hrs550'Exotic red sandstone formations like Sedona (on a much smaller scale) in the OC with super easy access.
Rubio Canyon Waterfalls HikeModerately StrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSan Gabriels - Altadena Area3 miles4 hrs1,100'Easy hike to first fall, but then adventure hike on unmaintained trail with some hazardous scrambling to get to viewpoints of spectacular waterfalls.
Holy Jim FallsEasyBeginner/Waterfall hikeSanta Anas - Trabuco Creek Area3 miles1.5 hrs700'Easy hike to lovely 18' waterfall in a beautiful mountain canyon, but a rough road to the trail head.
Eaton Canyon FallsEasyBeginner/Waterfall hikeSan Gabriels- Altadena Area4 miles1.5 hrs650' Nice hike up easy to follow but sometimes crowded trail to mostly year round flowing 40' waterfall.
Coal Canyon Mini Moab HikeModerately StrenuousView/Conditioning HikeSanta Anas - 91 Freeway Area11 miles5 hrs1,800'Hike up a well maintained yet shadeless trail to unique sandstone outcrops offering awesome canyon and city views.
Weir Canyon Trail – Orange CountyEasyBeginnerSanta Anas - 91 Freeway Area3.5 miles1.5 hrs350'Easy, uncrowded, and surprisingly scenic loop in an unspoiled canyon close to civilization.
Long Valley Short Adventure HikeEasy to moderateAdventure/View HikeSan Jacintos - Tram Area2 miles1 - 2 hrs500'Hike to then boulder hop a short way down a wondrous alpine gorge, then hike back and climb up to a spectacular viewpoint, all within 1 mile of the tram.
Ortega Falls via San Juan Loop TrailStrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSanta Anas - Ortega Highway Corridor 5 miles3 hrs750'Great easily accessed adventure hike uses San Juan Loop Trail to drop into San Juan Creek then up the stream bed to 35' Ortega Falls.
Sturtevant FallsEasyBeginner/Waterfall hikeSan Gabriels - Santa Anita Canyon3.5 miles1.5 hrs650'Easy hike, but very popular and often crowded, into gorgeous Santa Anita Canyon to lovely 40' waterfall.
Santa Ynez Canyon TrailEasyBeginner/Waterfall hikeSanta Monicas - Topanga State Park2.5 miles1.5 hrs250'Easy hike to a lovely sculpted sandstone gorge with a small seasonal 15′ waterfall.
Little Sycamore Canyon Loop HikeModerateView/Conditioning HikeLaguna Coast Wilderness Park5 miles2 hrs660'Great beginner to intermediate loopEasy hike to a lovely sculpted sandstone gorge with a small seasonal 15′ waterfall. trail in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park features a great workout over varied terrain with terrific views in a close and easy to reach yet wild location.
Laurel Canyon Loop TrailEasyBeginnerLaguna Coast Wilderness Park3.5 miles2 hrs500'Nice loop hike with quick and easy access offers varied terrain including great views, scenic sandstone formations, and lovely coastal canyons - but these attributes make it very popular at times as well.
Devils Punchbowl Devils Chair from BelowModerately StrenuousAdventure/View HikeSan Gabriels - Devils Punchbowl Area4.5 miles4 hrs800'View the dramatic Devils Chair formation from below, deep in the bowels of the spectacular geologic formations of the Devils Punchbowl, after entering the Punchbowl from the confluence of Punchbowl Creek with Big Rock Creek. All off trail with boulder hopping up stream and several areas of Class 3 and 4 scrambling.
Graveyard CanyonEasy to moderateAdventure HikeSan Gabriels - East Fork San Gabriel River Area5 miles3 hrs900' Interesting and easily accessed hike up a sandy stream bed with gentle grade deep into a dramatic canyon below Rattlesnake Peak.
Stoddard Canyon FallsModerately StrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSan Gabriels - Mt Baldy Area4 miles4 hrs1,100'Relatively easy hike to first fall, but then adventure hike with no trail and some dangerous scrambling/climbing to access spectacular waterfalls.
Dawn Mine HikeModerateMine/Waterfall/Adventure HikeSan Gabriels - Altadena Area6 miles4 hrs1,500'This entertaining hike up wooded Millard Canyon in the San Gabriel front range features great waterfalls, a lovely seasonal stream, and a super cool abandoned gold mine.
Solstice Canyon HikeEasy to ModerateBeginner/View/Waterfall HikeSanta Monicas - Malibu 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.
Black Star Canyon Falls HikeModerately StrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSanta Anas - Silverado Canyon Area6.5 miles5 hrs900'Hike to a wonderful 65' tall waterfall in a beautiful wooded canyon. Easy fire road for first 2.5 miles or so, but then off trail boulder hopping up the stream bed .8 mile to reach Black Star Canyon Falls.
South Fork TrailModerateTrail/View HikeSan Bernardinos -
Jenks Lake Area
9 miles5 hrs1,600'Awesome hike in the glorious San Gorgonio Wilderness offers amazing views and leads you into a lovely alpine meadow with year round water flow.
Switzer FallsEasy to ModerateBeginner/View/Waterfall HikeSan Gabriels - Arroyo Seco Area5 - 6 miles3 - 4 hrs750'Hike into a historic canyon to see a wonderful 50' tall waterfall in a beautiful wooded gorge with great views and numerous pools and cascades. Nice, popular trail with optional off trail segment up-stream to reach base of Switzer Falls.
Mt Waterman HikeEasy to ModerateBeginner/View HikeSan Gabriels - Mt Waterman Area6 miles4 hrs1,200'Hike on excellent trail to the summit of 8,041' Waterman Mountain (aka Mt Waterman), in the magnificent San Gabriel high country. Exposed granite, great views, and healthy alpine forest give this hike a flavor of the Sierras, but much closer to home.
Big Horn MineEasyMine/View HikeSan Gabriels - Vincent Gap Area4 miles2 hrs650'Hike to the surprisingly extensive remains of an abandoned gold mine high on the side of massive Mt Baden-Powell. The alpine scenery in this area of the San Gabriel Mountains is spectacular, and if you're adventurous you may be able to explore the mine as well.
Grizzly GulchModerately StrenuousWaterfall/Adventure HikeSan Gabriels - Lytle Creek Area6 miles5 hrs2,300'Hike, boulder hop, and climb short sections into a wild, pristine, and intensely unique gorge featuring stunning white cliffs.


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