Best Fall Hikes With Kids in the Los Angeles Area

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Today I am excited to have Debi from Go Explore Nature here with us.  She and her family are an amazing example that you can find and enjoy nature anywhere you are.  They live in Los Angeles and I am amazed the variety of nature based experience that they have right there.  She is an awesome resource for everything from birdwatching and exploring tide pools, to spectacular nature scavenger hunts.  Thanks for joining us Debi!

Fall is a wonderful time to be outside exploring nature in Los Angeles. As summer crowds die down and temperatures begin to drop, it’s the perfect time to hit the trails.

A few tips no matter where you go: Pack a picnic, bring a camera and enjoy the journey. Remember to take your time and have fun!

Without further ado, here are five of our favorite fall hikes in Los Angeles:

Ernest E. Debs Regional Park

The Audubon Center at Debs Park is literally a nature playground for kids. Start your adventure at The Audubon Outfitters shop, which doubles as a mini nature center. It provides park information and rentable trail supplies, including strollers, backpacks and binoculars.

Adjacent to the Center is the kid-friendly ¾-mile Butterfly Loop Trail, perfect when combined with time spent in the Children’s Woodland area (that nature playground I mentioned before). The easy, flat trail will be a hit with even the youngest explorers. Once you’re there, you might be inspired to check out some of the other trails at the 280+-acre Ernest E. Debs Regional Park.


Franklin Canyon Park

With a duck pond, Franklin Canyon Lake and a wonderful nature center, there’s a lot at Franklin Canyon Park to love. We usually start out on the Blinderman Trail near the nature center, head toward the lake and follow the trail around in a giant loop. This easy, 1.5-mile jaunt is great for toddlers and preschoolers as there’s plenty of opportunity to meander, look up to the tops of gorgeous oaks, smell all the scented plants and watch the ducks and turtles.


Malibu Bluffs Park

The 1.2-mile trail that begins at the edge of the Malibu Bluffs Park parking lot loops around the entire park and offers stunning views of the Pacific the entire time. (Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and whales while you hike.) The bonus here is that the trails are on the outskirts of a community park, complete with a small playground and tons of open grassy space.


Temescal Gateway Park

The Temescal Canyon Trail, which is a little less than 2.5 miles roundtrip, offers an up-close view of a waterfall. (Note: This one has some steep parts and should be considered challenging for toddlers; older kids will be fine.)


What makes Temescal Gateway Park especially great for families is that it’s a real live nature playground, featuring some 140 acres of oak and sycamore canyons that little kids will love exploring. Keep an eye out for poison oak.

Will Rogers State Historic Park

The 3-mile Inspiration Loop Trail is our favorite family hike at Will Rogers State Historic Park. From Inspiration Point, you can see the Los Angeles Basin from downtown to the ocean. If you’ve got a pint-sized runner in the family (and we do!) you’ll want to hit the expansive grassy areas found near the parking lot.



Where’s your favorite place to hike with kids in Southern California?


Debi Huang is a Los Angeles-based wife, mom and adventure guide for two young boys. Her blog at Go Explore Nature is all about getting kids and families outdoors and connected to nature. In her spare time, she’s compiling the ever-growing Big List of Outdoor Adventures for Los Angeles Kids

About Jessica Averett

Hi, I’m Jessica, a mom of 5 kids and married to my favorite adventure partner. I love to bike, ski, camp and hike. We've visited over 40 countries with our kids, but are equally happy on the road as we are exploring our home state of Utah.

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