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Step out the comfort zone with a coastal hike
Step out the comfort zone with a coastal hike | © Public Domain / Pxhere
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5 Best Coastal Hikes in LA's Westside

Picture of Dominic Bertolami
Freelance writer
Updated: 21 March 2018
The largest urban park in the world—The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area—is home to the best hikes with ocean views nearest to LA’s Westside. Camping, rock climbing, mountain biking, and horseback riding are just a few of the outdoor activities explored among the picturesque landscapes.

Historic ranches and native California wildlife are found among its sprawling 154,000 acres. Its many trailheads are easily accessible from L.A. and most have free parking with no admission fee, making these hikes an invaluable outdoor resource for both traveler and Westside local.

Temescal Canyon Loop

Hiking Trail
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The junction of Topanga Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway, near Malibu | © JCS / Wikimedia Commons / Lizenz: CC-BY-SA-3.0 / GFDL
Distance: 3.1 m Elevation: 815 ft (248 m) Time: 2 hrs.Located near the Pacific Palisades at Temescal Canyon Road and Sunset Boulevard, this moderate hiking trail features a waterfall during wet seasons and high panoramic ocean views contrasted by deep wooded canyons, and is accessible year-round. Parking is available for $10 US (€8.07) in the parking lot, though make sure to stop at any stop signs, there is a notorious stop-sign camera. There is also free parking on the streets surrounding the park. Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed on this trail.
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Tuna Canyon Park

Hiking Trail
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Hiking in Tuna Canyon Park | © landoro / Flickr
Distance: 5 mi. Elevation: 900 ft. (274 m.) Time: 3 hrs.This hidden gem is a 1,255-acre park nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu, which parallels two miles of the Pacific Ocean with 360-degree viewpoints. It is 1.6 mi. round trip to the Hearst Tank Motorway, an East facing point, and 3.8-mile round trip to Big Rock Lateral, a west facing point. This is a combined 5.1-mile hike with 900 feet of elevation change which is well worth the trip. The trailhead for Tuna Canyon Park is unmarked but can be found in the mountains between Malibu and Topanga on the outside of a bend in Tuna Canyon Road. There is no permit required to visit and no parking fees. Dogs and mountain bikes are welcome.
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Solstice Canyon Trail

Hiking Trail
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Solstice Canyon hike | © Tommi Virtanen / Flickr
Distance: 6 mi. Elevation: 800 ft (244 m.) Time: 2 hrs.This trail features hikes ranging from easy and moderate along the Solstice Canyon Trail or more challenging up the Rising Sun Trail. A waterfall is the popular hiking destination, though along the way you may run into wildlife such as alligator lizards, acorn woodpeckers, fence lizards, and even red-tailed hawks soaring high overhead. On the way to the waterfall, you will find the Keller House, ruins of a stone hunting cabin built 100 years ago. Metro Bus 534 stops a short distance south of the park entrance making it easily accessible from the city.
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Sun:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Mon:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Tue:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Wed:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thu:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Fri:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:
8:00 am - 7:00 pm

Point Dume Cove Trail

Hiking Trail
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Distance: 1.2 mi. Elevation: 206 ft. (63 m.) Time: 1 hr.Located at the northwest end of Santa Monica Bay, Point Dume is a large rock formation jutting into the ocean. The enticing aspect of the casual stroll found here is the incredible view encompassing Santa Monica Bay, north Malibu Coast, inland Santa Monica Mountains and even Catalina Island on a clear day. During spring, poppies grow along with giant caryopsis adding orange and yellow highlights to the park. Dogs are not allowed and so is hiking off trail, though there is no entrance fee or permit required for parking.
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Zuma Canyon Ocean View Trail

Hiking Trail
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View from the Santa Monica Mountains | © Vishal Jalan / Flickr
Distance: 3.1 mi. Elevation: 750 ft. (228 m.) Time: 2 hrs.The appeal of this trail is self-evident, offering viewpoints of both the Pacific Ocean and Zuma Canyon. This being a loop, you are free to start at either the Ocean View trail or Canyon View trail. Both have had horse traffic causing loose dirt, and since the Ocean View trail is steeper, it may be best left for the descent. A car is required for this hike though it is easy to navigate there. The trailhead is a quick right off the Pacific Coast Highway at Bonsall Drive. Head to the dirt parking lot at the end of the road and the trail leaves from the northwest corner of the lot. Parking is free.
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