Temperatures are finally starting to drop and it’s feeling like fall, time to head outside for a hike.
You can hike any time of day during the fall. You don’t have to beat summer’s mid-afternoon heat, and you might catch some different views, or wildlife out there during the new season too. Here are some of our favorite local spots to take a fall hike.
Rancho Palos Verdes Coastal Trail
5970 Palos Verdes Dr S
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
This trail is worth a drive over the bridge. The views are absolutely stunning not only on your hike but on parts of your drive there as well. It is a 5.1 mile “out and back” trail with clear paths and markings. The difficulty rating is moderate and you will find beautiful cacti, flowers, and other vegetation, even in the fall months. Dogs are allowed on the trail but have to stay on a leash and cannot go down onto the beach by the tide pools.
Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Head down the coast the opposite direction as the Coastal Trail and you will find the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. The Reserve includes about 1,300 acres of coastal estuary including open water, mudflats, a salt marsh, coastal dunes, seabird nesting islands, riparian, and a freshwater marsh. If you have only been to the wetlands in the spring or summer it’s fun to check it out during the fall too and see what’s different. There are 4 miles of public hiking trails that are conveniently connected to each parking lot.
Murphy Ranch Park
16200 Las Cumbres Dr
Whittier, CA 90603
You’ll have to head over by Whittier for this one. It’s a 1.7-mile loop trail that usually has a decent amount of fellow hikers on it, but is beautiful scenery and appropriate for all levels of hikers. It’s accessible all year long, so fall is a great time to go, and both dogs and horses are allowed to use this trail as well.
Dominguez Gap Wetlands
Long Beach, CA 90807
The park that holds the hiking trails at the Dominguez Gap is found up in Bixby Knolls between the 710 Freeway and the Virginia Country Club. Along with hiking, it’s a great spot for birdwatching. Keep an eye out for ducks, blackbirds, hawks, and cormorants. To get to the loop where you will do your fall hike, you’re going to enter the park through a gap in the chain linked fence and then follow a wide walkway to the start of the hike. You can hike the trail in either direction and once you hit Del Amo, turn around to follow the other side of the trail back to Del Mar Avenue. This one is small but fun, and it’s a little hiking gem that most people don’t even know about.
Sacred Cove Trail
5 Burrell Ln
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275
Get ready for a more “off the beaten path” type hike with this one. You are still in a developed area, but the paths aren’t as manicured as some other areas. When you arrive you’ll want to take a look around at the ocean view and beautiful scenery because you won’t be in that high of an elevation again for quite a while. Depending on what the weather has been like the months prior to your visit, certain trails might be blocked off. Again, this is more of a rustic adventure. Just keep heading down the hills and you’ll eventually end up at the ocean. There are a lot of different paths that get you to different destinations here, so be sure to do your homework, dress accordingly, and bring plenty of water. Also, if you make it down to the actual beach area make sure it’s at low tide– the waters have been known to be dangerous at times. As long as you stay safe it’s 100% worth tracking down there for all the wonderful wildlife you’ll come across and any time of year.
Arroyo Pescadero Park
7531 Colima Rd
Whittier, CA 90601
This is another one that’s near Whittier. The Arroyo Pescadero and Deer Loop trail is 2.6 miles long and usually not that busy. It’s a great place to take in the local wildlife and is great for all skill levels with a variety of options for different family activities. Dogs are welcomed but they have to be kept on their leash.
Gum Grove Park
Crescent View & Avalon Drive
Seal Beach, CA 90740
The full area of Gum Grove Park, located in Seal Beach, is 10 acres in total and is tucked away among a cluster of eucalyptus trees. It’s a nice place to go if you are looking for a moderate hike and has two different options. There is a flat trail that’s mostly paved and a wooded trail that’s relatively steep and great for getting a really good leg workout. Dog lovers will appreciate the fact that their pooch can come with them throughout the entire park, too.
El Dorado Nature Center
7550 E Spring St
Long Beach, CA 90815
This is the place to go if you’re looking for a little nature getaway in the middle of Long Beach. It is made up of 105 acres and along with a few hiking trails, it provides sanctuary for animals and plants as well. They have two miles of dirt trails and ¼ mile of paved trails that wind around two lakes, a stream, and a woodland area. This is a fun hike that the whole family will enjoy on a crisp fall day.