Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors with kids. You’ll get exercise, explore nature, and understand the importance of protecting and preserving the environment and green spaces. And it’s completely free, what could be better? Not all hiking trails are the same, and when you’re just starting out, it’s essential to know which trails are the best fit for young hikers to ensure a memorable experience that will have your kids clamoring to go again. We’ve compiled a list of some of the best hiking trails for families to help you get started.
Looking for family-friendly hiking trails in the South Bay? Check out our guide to South Bay Wilderness Parks and Easy Trails.
Best Hiking Trails for Kids
Despite being one of the largest cities in the world, Los Angeles is home to some of the best nature preserves and hiking trails to enjoy. These are a few of the best trails for kids of all ages that are exciting to explore and offer a challenge without being too difficult.
Temescal Gateway Park
Temescal Canyon offers the perfect spot for both leisurely exploration and trail hiking. The main trail is a mostly shaded four-mile loop that provides ocean views and a waterfall and rock formations to climb at the top. It’s a relatively easy to moderate climb that hikers of all ages should be able to manage. With the youngest hikers, you may be satisfied simply exploring the wooded areas around the creekbed just past the entry and parking lot.
Address: 15601 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades
Park Hours: Open daily from sunrise to sunset
Will Rogers State Historic Park
Next door to Temescal, you’ll find another excellent location for a full family day of hiking and plain outdoor fun. Will Rogers State Historic Park offers plenty of green open space with fields for picnicking or kicking around a soccer ball. When you’re ready to hit the trail, head up to Inspiration Point, a 2.2-mile looping trail with breathtaking city and ocean views. This trail is easy enough for newbies, but the payoff will have your young hikers excited to hike again and again. As you gain more experience, you might tackle the Rivas Canyon Trail, a 2.1 mile moderate trail that connects to Temescal.
Address: 1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd., Pacific Palisades
Park Hours: 8am to sunset
Malibu Creek State Park
This state park offers 15-miles of streamside hiking trails through oak and sycamore groves. Pack a picnic and prepare to stay for the day. You’ll find plenty of pools and rock formations to splash and climb. This nature haven was once home to several film and T.V. sets, including M.A.S.H. and Planet of the Apes. The trails to the M.A.S.H. site and rock pool are the easiest and most popular for families.
Address: 1925 La Virgenes Rd., Calabasas
Park Hours: 8am to 10pm
Parking: $12/ day, $9/ 3 hours, $6/ 2 hours
Kenneth Hahn State Park
Yet another hiking spot that’s packed with multiple outdoor activities for families. The park offers a variety of easy 1 to 2-mile hiking trails. Many are mostly flatter walking paths, making it the perfect spot for really young hikers starting out. You’ll also find a fishing lake, open fields, playgrounds, and more to explore.
Address: 4100 S. La Cienega Blvd., Baldwin Hills
Park Hours: 6am – sunset
Parking: Free on weekdays/ $6 weekends
Eaton Canyon Nature Trail
Eaton Canyon is home to a 190-acre nature preserve featuring hiking trails, native plants and wildlife, and a nature center. The main trail is a more moderate 3.7-mile hike past a waterfall with several smaller trails and paths forking off. There is also a 1.1-mile hike to the Mt. Wilson Toll Bridge. The Nature Center, which is open from 11 am to 5 pm, Wed. through Sun. offers maps, docent-guided tours, and a guided family nature walk every Saturday morning from 9am to 11am (weather permitting).
Address: 1750 N. Altadena Dr., Pasadena
Park Hours: Sunrise to sunset
What are your favorite family-friendly hiking trails in Los Angeles? Share any we should add to the list on our Local Anchor Facebook group.