It wasn’t even a week before Halloween, and the City of Santa Monica had already started erecting its ice rink for the Holidays.
Things happen fast, folks.
And before you know it, all of us will have a little more family time and seasonal stress, two very good reasons to get outside and onto one of the region’s many trails.
Therefore, we present five highly underrated trails for your nature-loving pleasure. Rather than go for old faithfuls — Temescal Canyon, Echo Mt., etc. — try a Robert Frost approach and take the road less traveled.
Spot: Abalone Cove
Park: Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy
Views: Inspiration Point provides views of the coves below as well as of Catalina and the surrounding Palos Verdes Peninsula.
Get out there: Take Palos Verdes Drive south and park at the first lot. Take the Via de Campo Trail all the way to the Sacred Cove Trail, which leads up to Inspiration Point. On the way back, duck down and wander the coves and tidal pools.
Nourishment: Although Terranea Resort is close, it’s worth driving the extra 15 minutes to Abigaile in Hermosa Beach, where the fried chicken Benedict is on another level.
Spot: Colby Trail
Park: Angeles National Forest
View: The 1,000-foot elevation gain gives you panoramics of Glendora, Chino Hills and the Cleveland National Forest.
Get out there: Overall, it’s an easy trail that starts in a wooded area and quickly rises above the treeline. Here are the directions via AllTrails, which take you from the 210 to Glendora.
Nourishment: Hit The Donut Man, a local favorite since the 70s, where the donuts come with seasonal toppings. That maple syrup is getting glazed as we speak.
Spot: Santa Ynez Trail
Park: Topanga Staste Park
View: Pacific Ocean views are really just the beginning, as this hike descends into a sycamore grove, so the views are of secluded canyon walls. Few people take this route, and when it rains there’s a little creek activity at the bottom.
Get out there: Take Topanga Canyon to Entrada and then into the park (there is street parking outside of the park if you don’t want to pay). Once inside, venture toward the trails on the right and follow the signs.
Nourishment: It’s a tough call between the anchovy toast and the biscuits and gravy at Topanga Table, an al fresco restaurant nestled in the trees along Topanga Canyon.
Spot: Beek Rock and the Old Zoo
Park: Griffith Park
View: The sprawl extending from the LA River to Frogtown, Burbank and Glendale as well as the Verdugo Mountains and the San Gabriels. On a clear day you can see Baldy.
Get out there: It’s not a popular trail, but it has a some great rewards. You take Riverside into the back entrance of Griffith, parking near the Old Zoo, which is where the trail picks up. Then the trail climbs up and onto a single track before ending on top of the massive Bee Rock.
Nourishment: Speaking of underrated trails, how about underrated sandwich shops? Wax Paper is one to not sleep on. The Frogtown haunt makes a mean tuna salad sandwich on a super soft, seeded bun.
Spot: Old Boney Trail
Park: Point Mugu State Park
View: Ventura, the Santa Monica Mountains, the barrier islands… all of them. This is the most epic hike we’ve listed, at a whopping 11.4 miles.
Get out there: You’ll take the 101 or the PCH depending on where you’re coming from, but once you park the trailhead is a short walk away. It’s a loop and it’s well marked.
Nourishment: There isn’t much out this way so we suggest bringing a picnic. Vintage Grocers is located on the PCH and has a deli section that can wrap up some hoagies. Grab a bag of chips, trail mix, some fruit, gourmet chocolate and ample water.
Photos: (Top to bottom) Sergei Gussev; lov2hike; Britta Gustafson, Rod Ramsey, Sergei Guzzev (2)/Flickr