SoCal Hiking: A Beginner’s Guide

After conquering Stone Mountain and Amicalola Falls in Georgia, it was only right that I brought my newfound love for hiking to the Golden State. Read on to learn about some pretty cool trails in Southern California!

Vasquez Rocks:

I have been intrigued by these rock formations since we moved to Southern California! They’re viewable from the interstate when traveling from Palmdale to LA, and I was finally able to see them up close. A quick google search will tell you that these rocks date back to prehistoric times. An interesting fun fact is how the rocks got their name. History says that they were named after Tibucio Vasquez, a criminal who used the rocks to hide from law enforcement.

The drive up to the trail was beautiful as you could see some of the California Poppies in full bloom. Because itʼs located in the desert, I would definitely recommend bringing shades and water. The climb up to most of the formations was definitely easier than the climb down. But donʼt be discouraged! There were families with small children who made it up to the top.

Vasquez Rocks

Aside from their beauty, I thought it was interesting that multiple movies were shot at this location! Listed below are a few you may know!
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
The Flintstones
Star Trek (a few of them!)

The Devilʼs Punchbowl:

Located just 35 miles east of Vasquez Rocks, it would be no problem to visit these rock formations in the same day! I would advise that this trail is a little bit harder and takes a little longer to complete. But the views of the San Gabriel Mountains are breathtaking! (FUN FACT: these mountains are actually the edges of two tectonic plates!)

In the middle of the hike, you can take break and play in the freshwater stream. But be careful to follow the trail as there are steep cliffs and loose gravel. I’m happy I was able to bury my fear of heights and hike this gem!

Runyon Canyon:

Last but not least is Runyon Canyon. A VERY popular hike when visiting the LA area, I decided to see if it was worth the hype. I was happy to see that it was a dog friendly park. As a traveler, Iʼm skeptical about having a dog of my own so Iʼm always adoring other peopleʼs furry companions. At the beginning of the hike, you have the choice to go up either the paved or unpaved/dirt path. We chose to go up the paved and hike down the unpaved. The hike was “beginner level” in terms of difficulty but we definitely got a good workout in! As with any other hike, bring plenty of water.

Runyon Canyon

The best part of the hike, of course, was the view of the Hollywood sign. It was also cool to get view of the backyards of the multi-million dollar homes just below the sign. GOALS AF!

Pictured below is something that I didn’t expect to see, however. Along one of the only gated areas of the park is a “Lovers Lock” fence. So if you find yourself hiking with your boo, bring a padlock!

These are just a few hikes that I was able to check off of the list. If you have questions or suggestions of a few more, leave a comment!

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