The world can be split into two camps when it comes to nature: those who see hiking as a glorified walk and those like me who find it to be a rewarding pastime. I’ve found that hiking in between tiring work days, classes, and meetings nourishes my mind, body and soul in ways a yoga class or spa day never have. Overlooking the city, ocean, and mountains all at once forces me to be present in my life for an extended moment; it forces me to let go of worries about the future and regrets about the past and enjoy the view. Hiking is a unique way to explore Los Angeles from a distance, kind of like observing art. At an elevated angle, you see the city from a totally different perspective. Rather than strolling the streets one-by-one, or driving through neighborhoods trying to simultaneously admire the surroundings and pay attention to Google Maps, a hike offers views of the bigger picture and a sense of place in this giant, foreign city.
I never embark on an L.A. hike without my goPro nor a friend. What’s great about hiking is that pretty much anyone can do it. There’s a trail for everybody. Hiking to Griffith Observatory is a quick adventure with a couple of different routes ranging in difficulty. Getting to the top of the Hollywood sign is more of a challenge, but it exposes an unparalleled view of the Hollywood Reservoir on one side and the San Fernando valley on the other. Both peak locales are extremely accessible –– all you need is a pair of sneakers and a water bottle.
Hiking is a great, free way to enjoy the fresh air and fantastic weather of L.A. while getting a little exercise. It’s also evidence that the city isn’t all pesky traffic, flashy celebrities, and crowded beaches. Added bonus: most hikes are dog-friendly, too. See you on the trail.