California contains a medley of gorgeous landscapes for nature lovers to indulge. While the first thing that may come to mind when you think of California is a sunny day on the beach, California has some of the best peaks and desert canyons for hiking. There are hundreds of trails you can hit to experience breathtaking views. If you’re aiming to get away from the urban sprawl, these are some of the best hiking trails in southern California.

Black Star Canyon Trail – Limestone Canyon Regional Park, Silverado

Black Star Canyon is a lesser known hiking trail in Orange County, yet it is anything but boring. Not only is the canyon an important archaeological site, it is the former home of the Black Star Coal Mining Company and also held one of the bloodiest battles in the history of the Santa Ana Mountains. The out and back trail is a little over six and a half miles and leads to Black Star Canyon Falls. The best time to hike is just after a heavy rain, when the water flow is high.

El Moro Canyon Loop Trail – Crystal Cove State Park, Laguna Beach

Just one of the many trails at Crystal Cove State Park, the El Moro Canyon Loop is 5 mile loop that takes you through the canyon and up to Moro ridge. This trail not only provides you with a tour of the El Moro Canyon, but also wild flowers and some of the best views of the coastline in the park. When you’re finished the hike, you can enjoy some time on the beach after! Want to make it an overnight trip? There are four campsites available for your choosing.

Escondido Falls Trail – Escondido Canyon Park, Malibu

One of the easier trails on this list, Escondido Falls Trail is a little over three and a half miles out and back. Perfect for all skill levels, this is a trail for the family. You’ll experience scenic views and a waterfall. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can continue hiking behind the first waterfall to experience another. This is another trail that is best explored after a heavy rail when the water flow is strong.

Sturtevant Falls Trail – Angeles National Forest, Sierra Madre

Sturtevant Falls Trail is one of the popular trails to escape the city life of Los Angeles. This three mile out and back trail is referred to as an “enchanted portion” of the San Gabriel Mountains, and it does not disappoint. A leisurely hike will lead you to a fifty foot waterfall and swimming hole, and you can take one of the many trails branching off to extend your hike.  

Paradise Falls Trail – Wildwood Regional Park, Thousand Oaks

You won’t believe that this trail is located amidst suburban sprawl. Paradise Falls Trail is a moderate loop trail a little less than three miles long. You’ll start the trail looking down upon Indian Creek, which will lead you to a steep drop off into an area of volcanic rock, featuring a stunning 70-foot waterfall.