Outdoor L. A.
To many visitors, the L.A. area is little more than airports, freeways,
traffic, and theme parks. The reality is that we have legendary beaches,
hundreds of miles of trails in the hills for hiking & mountain biking,
winter skiing in the mountains, colorful deserts, and they’re all
here for your enjoyment. Remember the rugged mountains of Korea in the
TV series M*A*S*H ? That’s actually Malibu Creek State
Park just down the freeway:
Malibu Creek State Park
Where To Go
L.A. is right across the street from the Pacific Ocean. The Beach
is a regular destination for us “locals.” You can go swimming
& body surfing, watch the California Gray Whales migrate twice a year,
or simply enjoy the sunny beach. I love to go para-sailing down at Newport
Beach and I’ve had the joy of watching a pod of wild dolphins leaping
out of the water when the parachute was just 30 feet above them.
Click here to check out some of our beach favorites.
Scott's L.A.™ Links - Beaches & Whale Watching
If you like hiking or mountain biking, I highly recommend these books
for planning ahead.
Click on the links for details:
John McKinney's Wild L.A., A Day Hiker's Guide
Wild L.A: A Celebration of the Natural Areas in and Around the City
For other outdoor activities, click here:
Scott's L.A.™ Links - Outdoor Activities
When most of us think of wild outdoors, we think of places like
Yosemite, Yellowstone, or the Everglades, not places where you can see
buildings or the Hollywood Sign. People commonly assume that because our
local trails, hills, and mountains are close to the city that they aren’t
the real outdoors, they’re just part of the city. BIG MISTAKE!
As many park rangers and search & rescue teams will attest, we
have wild and rugged terrain here, there are real hazards, and people
frequently get in trouble.
The first element to consider is the climate: Southern California is
a warm, dry, desert ecosystem. Don’t let dehydration or a bad sunburn
ruin your vacation. It’s easy to have a safe time outdoors if you
take simple precautions.
- Always have sunscreen, hats, and other sun protection available.
- Always carry bottled water and re-hydrate often. All grocery and
convenience stores have inexpensive bottled water available.
Second, you should assume that every hillside in Southern California
has poison oak and rattlesnakes. Poison Oak can be much more than a nuisance,
and the danger from rattlesnakes is obvious. Don’t be afraid of
these, be smart. You can protect yourself by reading the information on
Poison Oak Safety
Rattlesnake Safety • California Fish & Game
Rattlesnake Safety • LLU Medical Center
You’ll probably be surprised and delighted at the variety of hiking
that’s available so close by, most notably in the Santa Monica Mountains
and the Angeles National Forest. Get information on these locations here:
Angeles National Forest
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Santa Monica Mountains Parks
But you have many more outdoor options. Two excellent sources of information
are the outdoor store chains shown below. They have extremely knowledgeable
people with personal experience in local trails, current conditions, and
proper equipment. Check out these sites for a location near you:
Store – R.E.I.
Store – Sports Chalet
Finally, wherever you choose to go outdoors, learn about the area you
plan to visit. The more remote it is, the more there is to know. Even
though this is “L.A.,” the local mountains have coyote, bears,
and mountain lions. Follow these common-sense precautions:
- Get as much information as possible from park rangers and follow their
- Always have a map so you won’t get lost.
- Always tell your friends and park rangers where you’re going
and when you expect to return.
- Always carry bottled water, sun protection, and snacks for long hikes.
- Always bring a jacket and warm clothing. Southern California’s
desert climate is warm during the day, but temperatures plummet at night.
An extremely common danger hikers encounter here is cold weather exposure.
- Silly as it sounds, it couldn’t hurt to take a cell phone with
you. They won’t work in most remote areas, but sometimes they’ll
surprise you. There have been some amazing rescues due to cell phones
and their GPS signals.
Oh yeah, take a camera -- you’ll come home with some great pictures!