Great spots for LA nighttime hikes.
By Mimi Slawoff
Los Angeles at dusk (Flickr: Keith Skelton)
Hiking with kids is always an adventure but a nighttime trek sheds a whole new light on the activity. It’s thrilling to hike by the light of the moon (OK, maybe a flashlight too), feel a cool breeze, tune into nighttime sounds (listen for crickets and frogs) and look for owls and other nocturnal animals.
To maximize your family’s night hike experience, consider a guided walk with naturalists and docents who can share the history of an area and point out wildlife. They know the best spots for stargazing and views of twinkling city lights.
Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and bring water. Call before you go to ensure there’s room on the hike. Here’s a sample of 7 places to hike with kids at night in Los Angeles. Note: Although kid-friendly, most of these hikes are not stroller-accessible.
Stough Canyon Nature Center, Burbank
Stough Canyon Nature Center in Burbank (Flickr: Ricardo Diaz)
Tucked into the Burbank hills, the nature center offers free evening and full moon hikes each month. Twilight hikes follow a fire road trail to the top of the hill with panoramic views of the San Fernando Valley. During Full Moon Evening Hikes, a docent usually sets up a telescope at the top of the hill for stargazing. The walk along the fire road is gentle enough for preschoolers. On Tuesday evening Fitness Hikes, open to all ages, you may see deer and lizards. 2300 Walnut Ave., Burbank; 818-238-5440
Safari Inn, a Coast Hotel (Photo: booking.com)
Your adventures at Stough Canyon can become even more unforgettable if you choose Safari Inn as the accommodation. After a day of hikes and sightseeing, this hotel can offer a great time at the outdoor pool, fitness center, and beautiful rooftop sun terrace.
Great sightseeing proximity and convenience: Warner Brothers Studios Burbank is about 2 kilometers away from The Safari Inn, a Coast Hotel. Free WiFi is available in every guest room. There is free parking available.
Food delights offered: Visitors may eat at Olive’s Bistro and Lounge at the hotel’s sister establishment, The Coast Anabelle Hotel. Breakfast, lunch, supper, and nighttime drinks are all served there.
Eaton Canyon Nature Center
The Moonlight Walks attract many people, so be sure to call before you go. At night, you may see raccoons, coyotes, wood rats or scorpions (a highlight, as these glow in the dark). Donation: $2 per person (including kids). Bring a picnic and explore the nature center before your hike. 1750 North Altadena Dr., Pasadena; 626-398-5420
Hilton Pasadena (Photo: booking.com)
To see all the wildlife and enjoy your stay, you can choose Hilton Pasadena as your accommodation of choice. This hotel is about 6 kilometers from Eaton Canyon Nature Center. The rooms have a lot of space and all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay, such as a coffee maker, hair dryer, and an iron with an ironing board.
What’s more, they provide free WiFi in all their rooms! You can also enjoy the heated outdoor pool and the fitness center during your stay.
Food options: You’ll find a variety of dining options within walking distance of Hilton Pasadena. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re in the mood for American, Italian, or Japanese cuisine.
Griffith Park Evening Conditioning Hikes
Griffith Observatory at night (Flickr: Graham)
Families are welcome to join these scenic, Sierra Club-led walks scheduled at 7 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Self-sufficient youngsters able to walk on mild to moderate trails will see sweeping views of city lights and native plants such as cactus and pine. Flashlights optional. Meet at the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round, located between the LA Zoo and the Los Feliz park entrance. 213-387-4287
Best Western Anderson Inn (Photo: booking.com)
Between the hikes at Griffith Park, you can get the most out of your stay at Best Western Anderson Inn – Glendale. This hotel is about 3 kilometers from Griffith Park. All rooms offer free WiFi, a microwave, and more.
On-sight entertainment and proximity: What’s more, they provide free parking! You can also take advantage of the outdoor pool during your stay. This hotel is 25 minute drive from Shasta Lake and offers a daily complimentary hot breakfast as well as a seasonally open outdoor pool.
All the fun is near: The Best Western Plus Anderson Inn is 10 minute’s drive from Win-River Casino. 43.5 kilometers separate the motel from Whiskey Town Recreational Area.
Food options: You’ll find a number of restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, so you’re sure to find something to your taste. Whether you’re in the mood for American, Mexican, or Italian cuisine, you’ll be able to find it nearby.
El Dorado Nature Center
Play games and look for possums, raccoons and owls during naturalist-led Family Night Walks from 7 – 9 pm on select days. $5 per person. 7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach; 562-570-1745
Hotel Royal (Photo: booking.com)
Apart from the fun you can experience during the Family Night Walks, you can experience a memorable time at Hotel Royal.
Best location you can get: The Hotel Royal offers accommodations in Long Beach, about 1.3 km from Junipero Beach and 2.9 km from Long Beach City Beach. Hotel Royal is located 3.7 miles from Queen Mary, while Battleship Iowa Museum is 11 km away. Long Beach Airport, which is 10 kilometers from the hotel, is the closest airport.
Convenience and comfort: In addition to convenient amenities like concierge service and luggage storage, this 3-star hotel offers free WiFi and optional private parking for a small fee.
Food options: You can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant or take advantage of the room service (during limited hours). A complimentary continental breakfast is served daily from 7:00 AM to 10:30 AM.
TreePeople Environmental Learning Center
Watch as the moon rises over coast live oaks and black walnut trees and listen for owls on monthly 45-60-minute Moonlight Hikes for all ages and levels through Coldwater Canyon. 12601 Mulholland Dr., Beverly Hills
The Maybourne Beverly Hills (Photo: booking.com)
Watching the moon rise is extremely pleasant from the sun terrace or rooftop pool of the Maybourne Beverly Hills Hotel. The hotel is just a 3-minute drive from TreePeople Environmental Learning Center.
Luxury and greater comfort: All rooms at the Maybourne Beverly Hills Hotel have been renovated and offer a pillow top mattress, an iPod docking station, and a flat-screen TV with premium channels.
Outstanding location: California-inspired food is served in The Patio, which also has a sizable terrace overlooking Beverly Canon Gardens, and customers may unwind with a beverage at the Maybourne Bar. The distance between the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens and the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is 30 minutes by car.
Bikes and Hikes, LA
Watch the sunset on the Hollywood Hills with Bikes and Hikes (Flickr: Sarah Nichols)
See the setting sun and sparkling city lights on the Hollywood Hills Sunset Hike that traverses a dirt fire road to the peak of Mount Hollywood and views of the Hollywood sign. Along the way, your tour guide will show you a video presentation featuring scenes from blockbuster films and hit television shows at the exact locations where they were filmed. Afterwards, use flashlights to reach the iconic Greek Theatre. 310-457-7247
Comfort Inn Santa Monica – West Los Angeles (Photo: booking.com)
After exiting, but exhausting Hollywood Hills Sunset Hikes, it’s probably best to stay at Comfort Inn Santa Monica. The hotel is located 3.2 km from Bikes and Hikes, LA, and offers free WiFi in all rooms.
Perfectly located and fully equipped: Comfort Inn Santa Monica features an outdoor pool and a fitness center. A complimentary continental breakfast is available every morning. This hotel is within close proximity of Santa Monica Pier and Santa Monica College. Los Angeles International Airport is about 25 minutes drive away.
All-around convenience: Irons, ironing boards, microwaves, safes, and hair dryers are available in every room. In our elegant patio area with its matched furniture and umbrellas, you can feel the seaside air. Travelers on business will like the fax services and other contemporary amenities.
The George F Canyon Nature Center
Held on or near a full moon evening, this two-mile round-trip Full Moon Hike leads to the top of the canyon for fantastic city views. Children must be at least nine-years-old. $10 per person. Reservations required. 27305 Palos Verdes Drive East, Rolling Hills Estates; 310-547-0862
Best Western Plus Redondo Beach Inn (Photo: booking.com)
While you and your family or friends are enjoying Full Moon Hike, you can greatly benefit from a stay at Best Western Plus Redondo Beach Inn – a 10-minute drive from The George F Canyon Nature Center, featuring hot tub and sauna, an outdoor pool, a gym, and just close to the Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach Marina.