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The Best Hikes Guide to Santa Monica Mountains

Santa Monica is known for its great hiking trails, and it’s one of the best places to find beginner or advanced trails with amazing ocean views. Here’s a quick guide to Santa Monica hiking trails.

Can you hike in the Santa Monica Mountains?

Yes, you most definitely can hike in the Santa Monica mountains.There are hundreds of miles of hiking and biking trails, stretching from Brentwood to Malibu. Whether you’re looking for a one-hour workout or an all-day adventure, the Santa Monica mountains have what you need. Depending on the time of year, it can get hot so make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Then, when you’re done hiking, you have Santa Monica Beach and Santa Monica Promenade for swimming, brunch, coffee, dining, and entertainment.

What is the best hike in Los Angeles and Santa Monica? 

Locals have their own favorite hikes, whether it’s because the trails are dog-friendly, or because the views are incredible. Here are a few spots that are our favorite Santa Monica hikes.

Westridge Trailhead
This trail is a 10.3 mile long round trip with a peak of 1960 feet. This is considered an intermediate to advanced hike due to the mileage alone. There’s a good mix of steep and easy rolling sections of the trail and it’s open year round. With different trail entry points, you can enter via Sullivan Canyon to stroll through old growth forests, or start at the top to hike up to the old missile silo. Yup, you read that right: Missile silo. Plus, it’s dog-friendly! Our recommendation: Drive to the top, and check out the ocean views. Plus, keep an eye on the other hikers. You might spot some famous faces. 

Tuna Canyon Park
These 1255 acres are considered to be one of the best hikes in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Located between Malibu and Topanga, this park provides the best ocean views in all of the Santa Monica Mountains. Hikers reach heights of 1500 above the Pacific Ocean for one of the best experiences on the coast. If your group includes a variety of ages and fitness levels, Tuna Canyon allows everyone to enjoy the time outside.

Santa Monica Stairs
Ok, this isn’t a hike. So, why are we including it? Well, if you’re in Santa Monica and want to walk out your door for some exercise, the locals love the Santa Monica Stairs. On the north end of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Stairs stretch from Entrada Drive to Adelaide Drive. They’re 170 wood and concrete steps that have turned into a real-life Stairmaster challenge for spandex-clad locals. There’s a little bit of a see-and-be-seen vibe, and that’s sort of the point. So, if you have a new Alo outfit to show-off, and you don’t have time to drive to Malibu, give the stairs a go. (Full disclosure: We actually love the Stairs.)

What is the hardest hike in Los Angeles and Santa Monica?

Love a challenge? You’ll want to try out the Backbone Trail. Not for the faint of heart, it will definitely give you a workout. While not the steepest, you can hike Backbone trail for hours to meet your need for adventure.

Backbone Trail
This trail runs a whopping 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains. With 12 trailheads and a peak of 3111 feet, there’s a 16 miles stretch that is all dirt without crossing a road. Hikers get amazing ocean views in one direction with the ability to see the Channel Islands and views of downtown LA and the San Gabriel Mountains in another direction. Note, Backbone Trail includes tons of bike-friendly trails for mountain bikers out there. So, while that’s great for bikers, if you’re hiking, just keep it in mind.

Staying at Hotel Oceana?

Call our concierge anytime for hiking recommendations. We’ll even arrange transportation services. To book your stay, visit: hoteloceanasantamonica.com

Phone: (310) 393-0486 or 1-800-777-0758
Email: Info_sm@hoteloceana.com

More Santa Monica Guides

The Santa Monica Guide to Ocean View Hotels
The Wellness Guide to Santa Monica
The Guide to Luxury Car Rentals in Santa Monic
The Honeymoon Guide to Santa Monica
The Staycation Guide to Southern California

About Oceana of Santa Monica 

Oceana of Santa Monica is not just a world-class luxury hotel — it is a personally-curated experience uniquely tailored to each and every guest who stays with us. As a boutique hotel, we’re able to offer bespoke services and amenities that larger luxury hotels cannot, from the latest in private spa services, to A-list personal trainers, to exclusive outings and active adventures. Our cliffside oceanfront location offers both privacy and stunning views, and our  lavishly-appointed suites are the most spacious and high-tech of any resort in Santa Monica. Our award-winning restaurants serve only our guests and their guests exclusively, offering some of the most beautifully-plated and high-end faire in all of Los Angeles. Whether you’re looking for the romantic getaway of a lifetime, a personal wellness retreat to recharge mind and body, or a family vacation that offers something for everyone, Oceana will design a flawlessly-personalized experience you just won’t find anywhere else. Call us today and let us know how we can create a truly unforgettable luxury experience for you and yours at our exclusive paradise-within-a-paradise.

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From Travel + Leisure ©2021 Travel + Leisure Holdco, LLC, a subsidiary of Wyndham Destinations, Inc. Travel +Leisure is published by TI Inc. Affluent Media Group, a subsidiary of Meredith Corporation. Meredith Corporation is not affiliated with Wyndham Destinations, Inc. or its subsidiaries.   All rights reserved. Used under license.