With its myriad of parks, canyons, nature preserves and lush forests, Los Angeles is indeed a hotbed for exciting hiking opportunities, some even ending with a majestic waterfall. As we approach the end of summer for 2017 and with fall right around the corner now is as good a time as any to discuss autumn-time activities in L.A. Indeed, fall in Los Angeles is an elusive enchantment; there is no nip to the air, as is so prevalent in towns on the East Coast, and, to the contrary, some of the warmest (and wild-fiery) days present themselves during these months.
Most natives of Southern California know it as that period of time after (most of) the tourists leave and just before palm trees all over the city are showered with the Christmas light treatment – even if you’re still enjoying L.A.’s best beaches come October you’ll recognize the signs: The impulse to jazz up your reading list, to buy sweaters you won’t wear for weeks, to throw a cardigan on over that sundress and perhaps to order seasonal squash dishes.
But fall also happens to be one of the best times of the year to get outside, get fit and enjoy a new view of L.A. – a bird’s eye view, to be specific. Below are our picks of some of the best hiking trails near Woodland Hills to try this fall…just remember to always keep that bottle of water on hand to stay hydrated and cool.
Serrania Ridge Trail sits at the very end of Desoto Avenue and offers free parking in addition to a host of other great features such as steep hills and slow declines and a jaw-dropping view of the San Fernando Valley. The trail is unshaded, but with an early or late start – and that aforementioned bottle of cold water – it is a very enjoyable experience in the fall; after just over 1.3 miles, you reach Mullholland and may continue in either direction on Mullholland or work your way down the trail. Serrania Ridge Trail begins at 20864 Wells Drive in Los Angeles.
Vanalden Cave near Tarzana is one of the most unusual sandstone formations in the Santa Monica Mountains, and is quite easy to hike to. A sandstone den about 25 feet tall, 25 feet wide and 50 feet deep, the roof of the cave is only a few feet thick with a few holes that, much like skylights, illuminate the cave walls covered with curious carvings and stylish graffiti. Hike 0.6 miles round trip to Vanalden Cave for a short excursion with 100 feet of elevation change, or extend the hike to 1.55 miles round trip with 350 feet of elevation change to reach a nearby vista point on Vanalden Trail that provides a panoramic amphitheater-like view of the Santa Monica Mountains – and this is only the beginning of the Vanalden experience when searching for the best hiking trails near Woodland Hills.
Top of Topanga Overlook is accessed from Topanga Canyon Drive above the San Fernando Valley and provides breathtaking views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Susana Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains and the wide valley below. The nine-acre site includes parking, restroom facilities, extensive native landscaping, interpretive displays, a drinking fountain, benches and picnic areas. Top of Topanga Overlook is comfortably nestled at 3400 North Topanga Canyon Boulevard in Topanga.
Caballero Canyon Trail at Topanga State Park offers a myriad of options to explore, and is considered an ideal local hike for anyone in the Valley. If you live in the San Fernando Valley, this is definitely one of the best places to take that fall season hike if you don’t relish the thought of driving a half-hour to hiking trails in Pasadena or Santa Monica. There are two “easy” trails and one steep option in the middle that just ascends – just be careful on the uneven terrain, and make sure you have your good hiking/walking shoes on. Caballero Canyon Trail is located in Topanga State Park on Reseda Boulevard in Tarzana.
When the rest of the country begins to watch their green leaves turn brown and orange, lace up and head out to some great hiking trails near Woodland Hills this fall.