Nature Attractions in Los Angeles

Outdoor activities very close-by or even in Los Angeles are listed in this Hiking Guide and this Garden Guide. The destinations here on this list are major natural areas located here in the Southland. While the Los Angeles basin is a major population center, the immediately surrounding area is full of vast stretches of mountain and desert.

The major mountain ranges are included on this list. Topanga State Park is located in the Santa Monica Mountains, a range which stretches from Hollywood to the coast. More natural areas in these mountains are found both in city parks like Griffith Park and Franklin Canyon, as well as Malibu parks like Malibu Creek State Park (once owned and used by 20th Century Fox for filming movies) and Rancho Sierra Vista.

Farther to the east, much of the San Gabriel Mountains are located in the expansive Angeles National Forest. Destinations located in this huge national forest listed here include: the Los Angeles River Ranger District, the San Gabriel Wilderness, Cucamonga Wilderness. Farther east near Big Bear is the San Gorgonio Wilderness.

Inside the National Forest you will need an Adventure Pass if you want to park your vehicle; these passes are widely available at many convenience stores in the area.

Further inland, there are a lot of desert natural areas to explore. Some sites near Palm Springs included: Big Morongo Canyon Scenic Area, Coachella Valley Scenic Area, and the beautiful and famous Joshua Tree National Park.

Other desert destinations include Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the Cleveland National Forest, and (right on the weird man-made Salton Sea) the Dos Palmas Scenic Area.

Topanga State Park

20825 Entrada Road

Great hiking trails... read more

Los Angeles River Ranger District

12371 N. Little Tujunga Canyon

The Los Angeles River Ranger District encompasses the mountainous area to the north of the San Fernando Valley and the cities of Arcadia, Pasadena, Altadena, and San Fernando... read more

San Gabriel Wilderness

user rating

Horseback riding, hiking and backpacking... read more

Big Morongo Canyon Scenic Area

Nestled among the Little San Bernardino Mountains, the desert oasis at Big Morongo Canyon is one of the 10 largest cottonwood and willow riparian habitats in California... read more

Coachella Valley Scenic Area

Coachella Valley Preserve is a 20,000-acre sanctuary that is home to several species of increasingly rare wildlife... read more

Cleveland National Forest

The Cleveland National Forest lies in Southern California stretching from the San Diego area, northward to the Orange and Riverside County urban areas. Visitors can find solitude and escape from the busy life of the nearby cities... read more

Dos Palmas Scenic Area

Dos Palmas Scenic Area, with its hundreds of swaying fan palms, offers sanctuary in the midst of the dry Colorado Desert... read more

Santa Clara/Mojave Rivers Ranger District

The scenic Santa Clara / Mohave Rivers Ranger District appeals to a wide spectrum of outdoor users. Trailblazers, campers, picnickers, anglers, and wildlife enthusiasts find this district a satiable destination... read more

Cucamonga Wilderness

Numerous hiking and backpacking trails... read more

San Gorgonio Wilderness

The San Gorgonio Wilderness encompasses 37,980 acres and is a part of the eastern slope of the San Bernardino Mountains... read more
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