5 Best Night Hikes in Los Angeles

Photo by Mike Struna

Mid-week nights hikes are a long-standing tradition at Shoestring Adventures, the foundation upon which our community was built. For several years, we met every Wednesday after work for an evening hike, either on the Los Liones or Temescal Canyon Trail. While we got to know the trails week after week — like whether or not we’d make it to the lookout in time for sunset — we also got to know each other.

Now we would like to pass on the tradition to all of you, starting with our 5 favorite night hikes in Los Angeles. The trails are quieter, the temperatures are cooler and the views are even more rewarding, so what are you waiting for?

Night Hike Tips

  • Bring a headlamp or flashlight, and watch your step for local wildlife.
  • Double-check parking restrictions. Many trailheads don’t allow overnight parking, unless you’re a neighborhood resident.
  • Plan ahead. Bring a map and trail directions, so you don’t get lost in the dark!
  • Bring a snack or picnic to enjoy with the view. We suggest tacos!

5 Best Night Hikes in LA

Photo by Mike Struna

Mt. Hollywood via Merry-Go-Round in Griffith Park

  • Distance: 5-miles
  • Duration: 2.5 hours
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Climb: 1459-feet
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes
  • Overview: Mount Hollywood in Griffith Park wins the popularity contest for night hikes in Los Angeles. You’re in the wrong place if you’re looking for the Hollywood Sign — head to neighboring Mount Lee. You’re in the right place if you’re looking for a 360 view of Los Angeles, from the Pacific Ocean to the San Fernando Valley. Bonus: The trail leads you through the ruins of the Old Zoo.
    Mount Hollywood seems to be the most popular destination for night hikes. If you’re interested in a guided hike, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club leads weekly hikes for all levels.
  • Location/Parking: The trailhead is located near the Merry-Go-Round off of Crystal Springs Drive in Griffith Park.
  • Trail Guide: Mount Hollywood via The Hike Guy
Photo by Alyx Schwarz

Tongva Peak via Beaudry Loop

  • Distance: 5.9-miles
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Level: Strenuous
  • Climb: 1800-feet
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes
  • Overview: Enjoy panoramic skyline views from Tongva Peak with a 6-mile hike along the Beaudry Loop, network of well-maintained fire roads.
  • Location & Parking: The trailhead is located in a quiet neighborhood at the intersection of Beaudry Blvd. and Beaudry Terrace in Glendale.
  • Trail Guide: Beaudry Loop in the Verdugo Mountains via SoCalHiker
Photo by Mike Struna

Wisdom Tree

  • Distance: 3-miles
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Level: Strenuous
  • Climb: 872-feet
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes
  • Overview: Also known as the Tree of Life, the Lonely Tree and the Magic Tree, the Wisdom Tree is such a well-known Los Angeles landmark that you can follow it on Instagram. Miraculously, it was the only surviving tree of the devastating 2007 Hollywood Hills Fire. In 2010, the neighborhood banded together and raised enough money to buy back the land from the developer. Today the Wisdom Tree is under the protection of Griffith Park. Whether or not you believe in magic, the Wisdom Tree offers spectacular evening views of Lake Hollywood, Downtown Los Angeles and Griffith Park.
  • Location/Parking: Park along Lake Hollywood Drive and begin your hike heading east on Wonder View Drive. Make the first right after the pavement turns to dirt. Free parking on Lake Hollywood. No passes or permits needed, although there’s no parking between 9pm and 6am.
  • Trail Guide: Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak via Modern Hiker
Photo by Mike Struna

Los Liones Trail

  • Distance: 2.5-miles
  • Duration: 1.5 hours
  • Level: Easy
  • Climb: 500-feet
  • Dog-Friendly: No
  • Overview: Enjoy a skyline view of the westside overlooking the Pacific Ocean from the Santa Monica Mountains. On a clear night, you can even spot the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier! The 2.5-mile out-and-back hike leads to a lookout. We love to bring tacos to savor with the view. You can turn around here or continue hiking via the fire road to Parker Mesa Overlook (7.8-miles round trip) for an extended hike.
  • Location/Parking: The trailhead is located at 580 Los Liones Drive, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272. Free street parking on the church side of the street is permitted until 11pm. Parking in designated spots on the opposite side of the street is only permitted until 9pm. Read signs where posted.
  • Trail Guide: Los Liones Trail via Hikespeak
Photo by Alyx Schwarz

Echo Mountain via Sam Merrill Trail

  • Distance: 5.8-miles
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Level: Strenuous
  • Climb: 1,400-feet
  • Dog-Friendly: Yes
  • Overview: Watch the sunset from the ruins of Echo Mountain House, a luxury resort built in the 1800’s by inventor Thaddeus Lowe featuring an observatory, petting zoo and the world’s largest search light. Perched at an elevation of 3,200 feet, it was only accessible via the Mount Lowe Railway, a cable car funicular that carried guests to their vacation paradise. In 1938, the resort was abandoned after suffering damage by numerous wildfires. The only way to reach Echo Mountain today is on two legs.
  • Location & Parking: The trail begins from the entrance of the Cobb Estate, located at the intersection of East Loma Alta Drive and Lake Avenue in Altadena. Street parking is free, but no parking after 10pm.
  • Trail Guide: Echo Mountain via Sam Merrell Trail via SoCal Hiker
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