It seems like an LA hiker and nature lover’s worst nightmare: Runyon Canyon Park is closed. But we promise this isn’t as bad as it seems! In fact, it’s the perfect time to start exploring the trails in your own backyard — and with these five great hikes, we think you’ll be too busy enjoying the great outdoors in Silicon Beach to miss Runyon Canyon at all.
1. Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook If you’re looking for some stunning views, you don’t have to travel far from Silicon Beach — just trek out to Culver City for a hike at Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook. But you’ll have to work for it: Sure, there’s a one-mile trail up to the top, but for those looking for an intense workout, try your legs on the steep 282 step concrete staircase that shoots up to the top. The view is spectacular from this 500 ft. peak on a clear day, and there’s even a visitor center to check out some local flowers and get acquainted with the area if you visit on weekends.
The park’s main entrance is at 6300 Hetzler Rd. in Culver City, just off Jefferson Blvd.
2. Westchester Fire Road If you’re a fan of bringing your puppy out to Runyon Canyon, we think you’ll love trying out Westchester Fire Road, also known as the LMU Trail. Once you find the somewhat concealed entrance, you’ll traverse the bluff just below Loyola Marymount University on this partially paved road. It’s fenced most of the way, making it perfect for a day out with the dogs. As you make your way along the path, take a breather and look out below on the changing Playa Vista landscape.
Find the entrance at the end of Dunbarton Ave., which usually has lots of parking, in Westchester.
3. Tongva Park If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing — and within walking distance of the beach — try out Santa Monica’s urban oasis, Tongva Park. Just three years old, this green space has a nice, easy trail for a lazy afternoon stroll. There are fountains, art installations and a lovely garden to explore as well. Plus, it’s great for kids, thanks to a play area complete with a splash pad for some fun in the sun. The park, named after the indigenous Tongva people, also has plenty of seating and space for picnics after you’re done with your walk.
Check out the park at 1615 Ocean Ave. in Santa Monica.
4. Venice Canal Walkway For a nice reminder of Silicon Beach’s history, walk over and along the bridges of the Venice Canals Walkway. Built in 1905, the “Venice of America” was developer Abbot Kinney’s attempt to recreate the look and vibe of the Italian city here in Los Angeles. It didn’t really pan out, but who cares since the lovely man-made canals remain? After falling into disrepair and being neglected for decades, the canals were revamped in the 1990s and now make for a truly lovely urban walk.
It’s an ideal option if you’re in the mood to mix nature and city life — take a peek at some of the modern homes lining the trail — and a great photo stop thanks to picturesque the bridges and little rowboats.
Pop in along Washington Blvd. near Strongs Drive, where you’ll spot a “Venice Canals Walkway” sign.
5. Veterans Parkway Look no further, Manhattan and Hermosa Beach residents: Veterans Parkway is a woodchip path that will be your jogging paradise. There’s no bikes or cars to dodge, so revel in the peaceful run along the shady path. And while no one can ever be tired of the beach, this certainly offers a nice alternative to the Strand. It’s a 7.5 mile round trip, or check out bits of it at your leisure as you make your way along this hidden gem.
You can park at the Fry’s lot at Rosecrans Ave. in Manhattan Beach to enter on the northern end of the path.