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LA's Best Beach Hike to Avoid the Crowds
People who’ve never visited Los Angeles, California probably have assumptions about the city and what to expect. One of the most accurate LA stereotypes, though, is that we love to hike. And LA – or California for that matter – has no shortage of stunning hikes with ocean views to explore.
Malibu, which has both the Santa Monica Mountains and a beautiful coastline (seriously, the water is bluer there!), has multiple hiking trails available. However, not all of them have ocean views or enough available parking. If you’re looking for one of the best beach hikes in Los Angeles my recommendation is to check out the Zuma Ridge Trail. Even on a weekend we were able to find parking. Plus, there was only a handful of other hikers on the trail, which is great for those looking to avoid the crowds.
In total, the trail is about 5.6 miles, so it’s definitely a longer hike, but the views are totally worth it. Zumba Ridge Trail is also a dog-friendly hike so definitely feel free to bring your fur baby along with you. Those of us who love to say hello to dogs will also be grateful your pup joined you too.
Contrary to the wise words of TLC, I’m all for chasing waterfalls. In fact, I recently saw my very first waterfall in the Los Angeles area, and if you’re in search of natural beauty and off the beaten path spots in LA, keep reading!
I started my outdoor adventure by driving up to Wildwood Regional Park in Thousand Oaks, California. This area is about 30 miles northwest of Hollywood, so if you’re just visiting LA, I highly recommend renting a car for this day trip.
Once you get out of Hollywood onto the freeway, it’s smooth sailing, but in the event you do hit traffic on the way there just consider it another part of the authentic Angeleno experience.
There was plenty of free parking available at Wildwood Regional Park, even for a Saturday afternoon. The trail begins right where the parking is located. Once you're on the trail, you'll follow the signs that lead to Paradise Falls.
The hike to the waterfall is pretty fantastic too, but there is a lot of open space with minimal shade so definitely pack a hat, water bottle, and sunblock with you. Along the way, you'll see gorgeous mountains and hills, as well as a reconstructed Native American teepee where you can have a seat if you need a quick break.
Once I finally made it to Paradise Falls, it was an incredible grand finale to my hike. There are rocks around where you can sit to admire this beautiful place. To get an even better view (and pictures) of the waterfall, I recommend crossing the stream to the other side. You’ll likely see other hikers doing this too. Unfortunately, there’s only some rocks in place to cross the stream on, so be sure to bring some good shoes and plenty of balance. For what it’s worth, I have terrible balance and didn’t get my feet wet, so you should be okay!
The trail to the waterfall is a moderate one, and it should only take you about a half hour to get the falls. However, if you’re looking for more hiking, there are additional trails at the park you can explore as well.
Tip: Try to get here before the weather starts to become really warm in June and July. Thousand Oaks is located deep in the valley of LA country, which is notorious for being extra hot.
About the author
Jill Zwarensteyn is a writer and comedian who has been featured on Amazon, truTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Sleep Advisor, Tiplr, ARTRPRNR Magazine, YourTango, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com