best sunset hikes in los angeles

13 Best Sunset Hikes in Los Angeles (by a local)

Los Angeles, with its stunning vistas and diverse landscapes from the hills to the mountains and the incredible beaches and coastline, provides the perfect canvas for breathtaking sunsets. As a local hiking enthusiast, I’ve curated a list of the 13 Best Sunset Hikes in Los Angeles, each offering a unique perspective on the city’s golden hour beauty.

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Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook 

sunset hikes in la

Perched 425 ft above the city, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City provides a panoramic view of Los Angeles. The winding trails lead to a summit where the city lights come to life as the sun dips below the horizon, or hike the famous Culver City stairs to the top of the overlook. 

From here, you can see the ocean,  Santa Monica Mountains, Hollywood Hills, Verdugo Mountains, and even into San Gabriel Mountains and Mount Baldy on a clear day. As for the city, you will see everything – the Hollywood SIgn, Los Angeles, Downtown Los Angeles, and even LAX.

This hike is a very popular spot, especially for those on the West Side of LA,  but one of my favorite city hikes in Los Angeles for sunset. It’s a great workout, too!

There is also an option to drive to the top and walk a flat trail to the overlook if you don’t want to hike up, but you will have to pay for parking. Regardless, the sunset view here is one not to be missed.

Duration: Approximately 1 to 2 hours

Wisdom Tree Hike

Trek up to the iconic Wisdom Tree in Hollywood for a serene sunset experience and 360 views of Hollywood from above. This solitary tree atop Burbank’s Cahuenga Peak offers unobstructed views, creating a tranquil setting for witnessing the city’s transformation as the sun sets.

The notable views from up here look down at the hustle and bustle of the heart of Hollywood, the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory, Downtown Los Angeles, Burbank area, and you can even see the Universal City Walk area. On a clear day, you can even see as far as the ocean and maybe even Catalina Island.

This is my other favorite sunset spot in Los Angeles. The crowds here are a lot less than Baldwin Hills Overlook but depending on the day and weather, sometimes it will be busy and sometimes you may get lucky and have this spot all to yourself.

Pro Tip: The hike also continues on to the Hollywood Sign

Duration: Approximately 1 to 2 hours

Griffith Park / East Observatory Trail 

Griffith Park is a treasure trove of hiking trails, but the East Observatory Trail stands out for its spectacular sunset views. Wondering where the best place to watch the sunset in Griffith Park is? Look no further than this trail.

The trails in Griffith Park can range from short and easy to however long you want (by connecting trails) and strenuous. I used to think Griffith Park only had flat trails and I am definitely wrong. 

The views from Griffith Park can vary widely depending on which side of the park you are on since the trails do go up and down through a lot of little hills, but overall, it’s a beautiful view in the direction of Downtown Los Angeles.

Duration: Approximately 1.5 to 2 hours

Runyon Canyon Trail 

Known for its accessibility and popularity, Runyon Canyon Trail offers a front-row seat to the vibrant Los Angeles sunset. The hike is not only a visual delight but also a great workout and you may even see some truly LA-unique sights like hikers in high heels, making it a favorite among locals.

Duration: Approximately 1 to 1.5 hours

Ascot Hills Park

A local LA-hidden gem, Ascot Hills Park provides a more secluded escape in the heart of the city. Don’t let the “park” in the name fool you though – there are plenty of hills and trails here. As the sun sets, the park’s natural beauty is enhanced, creating a peaceful ambiance that’s perfect for reflection.

Ascot Hills is located next to CSULA by Lincoln Heights, making this an easy to access urban hike for those located in both the downtown area and San Gabriel Valley.

Duration: Approximately 1 to 1.5 hour

Portuguese Bend Reserve

portuguese bend sacred cove

Nestled along the coast, Portuguese Bend Reserve offers a coastal sunset experience. The mix of ocean breeze and vibrant colors paints a picturesque scene as the sun sets over the Pacific.

The water along the coast gets to be a beautiful and clear turquoise water which makes you feel like you’re somewhere tropical and very far from LA.

This is a great option for those located in the South Bay region of California, although it’s worth the drive out for others looking for a coastal trail different than the typical ones in Santa Monica and Malibu.

Duration: Approximately 2 to 2.5 hours

Parker Mesa Overlook 

For those seeking expansive ocean views from a place higher up, Parker Mesa Overlook in Pacific Palisades (Santa Monica Mountains) is the answer. The hike culminates in a stunning panorama, making it an ideal spot to witness the sun’s descent into the Pacific. 

This hike is longer than the ones listed above; the hikes above are parks and urban trails, but this one is a “real” hike that’s simply located close to city life.

Duration: Approximately 3 to 3.5 hours

Temescal Canyon

Temescal Canyon is located at the edge of Santa Monica, making it easy to access versus driving down PCH to Malibu. As the sun casts its warm hues over the canyon, the beauty of Temescal Canyon becomes even more enchanting. This trail can be as long as you want it to be before you start getting those beautiful ocean views, and it provides a balance of nature and urbanity, offering a unique sunset experience.

Duration: Approximately 1 to 2.5 hours

Topanga Lookout 

​​At Topanga Lookout, the sprawling landscapes of the Santa Monica Mountains come alive during sunset. The lookout point provides a captivating view, making it a favorite spot among avid sunset chasers. The platform at the lookout is quite large and even changes after periods of time by new artists.

Duration: Approximately 2 to 2.5 hours

Sandstone Peak 

sandstone peak sunset hike

Sandstone Peak is the tallest mountain in the Santa Monica Mountain range and or those up for a challenge, Sandstone Peak delivers both a strenuous hike and a rewarding sunset experience. 

You can simply hike straight up to Sandstone Peak and back down the same way for a shorter but still steep trail, or loop around the Mishe Mowke Trail and hit Tri Peaks too which I would recommend. If you make it to Tri Peaks, scramble over to the opposite side of the peak for views north towards Ventura.

The rugged terrain adds to the sense of accomplishment as you witness the sky ablaze with colors.

While the views from Sandstone Peak is beautiful for sunset, it’s also a stunning sunrise spot.

Duration: Approximately 1.5 to 4 hours

Ladyface Mountain 

This is the best hike in Agoura Hills. Named for its distinctive profile resembling a woman’s face, Ladyface Mountain offers a captivating sunset backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains and hills of Thousand Oaks and Calabasas around you. 

The ridgeline offers unobstructed views for almost a mile, making this one of the best spots to catch sunset. While there are no ocean views here as you are more inland and lower in elevation the blend of geological wonders and the evening sky makes this hike truly memorable.

Duration: Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours

Echo Mountain / Mt Lowe near Pasadena 

Echo Mountain near Altadena and Pasadena is a very popular hiking trail for locals. Embark on a journey through history as you ascend Echo Mountain near Pasadena, with the option to extend your hike up to Mt Lowe and Inspiration Point, but that would almost double the mileage. The remnants of a bygone era, coupled with breathtaking views, create a unique and educational sunset experience.

Duration: Approximately 3 to 3.5 hours

San Gabriel Peak 

san gabriel peak, gregory nano daypack

Concluding the list of best sunset hikes near Los Angeles is another one of my personal favorites – San Gabriel Peak, standing tall amidst the San Gabriel Mountains. This hike takes longer to reach as you drive for miles into Angeles National Forest on Angeles Crest Hwy 2, but even the drive in is breathtaking if you pull off an a pull-out while the sun sets. The views here are mountainous in one direction with the city in the distance in the other direction. Although this is a peak hike, it is on the short and easy side.

As the day concludes, this peak offers a spectacular view of the city lights twinkling below.

Duration: Approximately 4 to 4.5 hours

FAQ: LA Hikes

  • How long is Runyon Canyon hike?
    • The Runyon Canyon hike typically takes about 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on your pace. It’s a relatively quick yet rewarding adventure.
  • What is the hardest hike near Los Angeles?
    • Sandstone Peak is renowned for its challenging terrain, making it the go-to choice for those seeking a more strenuous hiking experience. However, if you are an experienced hiker seeking a true mountainous experience, head to Angeles National Forest.
  • How long does it take to hike to Griffith Observatory?
    • The duration to hike to Griffith Observatory varies, but on average, it takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour, offering a pleasant journey with a rewarding destination.

The Wrap-Up: Sunset Hikes in LA

In a city as dynamic as Los Angeles, sunset hikes provide a unique perspective on its beauty. Whether you’re seeking a challenging trek or a serene escape, these 13 hikes guarantee an unforgettable sunset experience. Lace up your boots, embrace the beauty, and make these trails a part of your Los Angeles adventure.

Share your favorite sunset hike or ask any questions in the comments below. Let’s continue the conversation and inspire each other’s outdoor adventures 🙂 

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