Family Hiking in Los Angeles

Preparing for a Safe Experience

From LA Weekly in partnership with Amir Bakian

When you hear anything to do with Los Angeles and fun, your mind might go to Hollywood. I mean, Hollywood is the major reason LA is known as the entertainment capital of the world.

But that’s not the only good thing about the place. For a second, ditch the tourist traps and forget screen-lit nights. The coolest LA adventures? They’re hidden in plain sight, yes, those mountains you see from the distance and the hidden canyons.

We’re talking about watching the sunrise over the Hollywood sign and spending the day chasing laughter through redwood giants in Topanga. So if you’re looking to give your family the hiking adventure of their lifetime in LA, here’s how to prepare for that fun and safe experience.

Choosing Your Perfect Path

Before you trade concrete for canyon walls, ensure your family’s wild heart beats at the right rhythm. Picking the perfect path is key.

For the little ones, consider these hotspots:

  • Griffith Park: Explore Fern Canyon’s shady paths and babbling brooks, or take a leisurely stroll around Griffith Observatory.
  • Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area: Enjoy flat, paved trails and a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities, including ducks, geese, and even the occasional coyote.
  • Temescal Canyon Park: Hike along the easygoing Mesa Top Trail and be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

For junior adventurers (older children and teens), these locations are worth considering:

  • Runyon Canyon: Challenge yourselves with the park’s steep climb and panoramic city views.
  • Topanga Canyon State Park: Hike through redwood groves and discover hidden waterfalls along the Redwood Creek Trail.
  • Escondido Canyon Park: Explore the upper and lower falls trails, offering stunning scenery and a moderate workout.

Once you’ve decided on the path, get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

Gearing Up For Discovery

While LA’s trails offer escapes from the urban jungle, you also need to be ready to protect your family from insects like mosquitos and others out there. One way to do that? Avoid dawn and dusk hikes.

But not only that. Long sleeves and pants can come in handy in this case. But the ultimate answer could be investing in insect repellants.

To get the best of this protection while also protecting the nature that you’re a part of, consider packing a natural insect repellent with essential oils like lemon eucalyptus or citronella. They’re kid-friendly and smell much better than chemical sprays.

Also, go for sturdy shoes that’ll conquer dusty paths and rocky scrambles. Layer up with clothes suitable for the weather, and don’t forget your sunscreen—LA’s sun shines brightly, even on mountaintops.

Also, pack plenty of water and snacks and a first-aid kit to soothe any bumps and scrapes along the way.

Hitting The Trail With Tiny Hikers

When you’re on the road with your little ones, address the following:

  • Minding Trail Etiquette

Stress sticking close to the squad throughout the whole hike. It keeps everyone safe and lets other hikers do their thing, too, without disruption.

Beyond that, teach your young ones to respect the hikers and wildlife they see. Use quiet voices and stay mindful so the peace and serenity around you remain untouched.

  • Planning For Minis

Schedule regular bathroom and snack breaks to avoid meltdowns and keep those little legs charged with energy. Also, choose trails that work for their skill level so they stay engaged and have fun.

Remember, shorter hikes with lots of stops to explore can be different from long treks with tired feet. Pack plenty of snacks and water so they stay fueled and motivated! Little bodies burn energy quickly!

  • Sparking Curiosity

Flip the script. Make your hike into a scavenger hunt adventure! Point out funky rocks, crazy plants, and curious creatures. Every discovery becomes a mini-adventure that sparks their imagination and connection with nature.

Encourage all the questions they have about what they see and feel out there. Embrace that curiosity fully. Drop knowledge and stories that deepen their understanding. Make it stick.

  • Making Memories

Let your little ones take the lead sometimes. Let them choose the direction or point out interesting sights. This fosters a sense of ownership and excitement for the adventure.

Also, pack a playful picnic lunch to enjoy along the trail. It’s a perfect opportunity for family bonding and a reward for conquering the path. Don’t forget to capture the laughter, shared smiles, and triumphant finishes with photos and videos.

These memories will become treasured keepsakes to revisit for years to come.

In Closing

Laying this simple groundwork and embracing adventure as a squad will help your family make legendary memories out there on trails. So for LA locals and visitors looking at this, take these trailblazing gems and run with them.

Blaze new trails, write your own stories, and see firsthand that the coolest adventures unfold with every step in Los Angeles. Make adventures that you’ll reminisce on for ages. The journey will bless you infinitely more than any destination ever could.