We are just stupid lucky to live in California. If ever you don’t realize that, I suggest a morning spent hiking Los Liones will result in a swift attitude adjustment. It’s a challenging hike, but it’s one of the best I’ve taken so far!
For once, there’s good news about parking and getting here. Getting there is a snap: Take the 10 to the 1 heading north, turn right on Sunset, left on Los Liones. You’re there.
There’s plenty of parking on the street outside the gates – that is, if you get there early. I arrived around 7:45 a.m. and had my pick; by the time I left around 10:15 a.m., the street was filled up.
This hike is gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. The farther you go, the better it gets.
For the first two miles of the hike, you’ll take a narrow, rocky trail that has some shade. It’s a moderate incline nearly the entire way.
You’ll know you’re done with this leg of the hike when you come to a large area where there’s a bench to take in the views, as well as a steep hill that takes you to the next leg of the hike. This leg does have some uphill parts that cumulatively will leave your butt sore that night, but there are breaks where the ground is flat or downhill.
Right after the first leg, your view will look like this:
Reaching the top
My favorite part of the hike was the last mile, where the trail meets a canyon, and you wind along through rolling hills until you can see the ocean and the canyon and it’s just too much.
And then, just like that, the air became very cool, crisp and refreshing, and I was at the top.
The photo at the very top is what your view will look like if the marine layer hasn’t already burned off.
By the way, this is the last photo I got before my phone died.
All told, the hike was 8.25 miles round trip.
Other stuff to know
Shade on the trail is spotty, so bring a hat and plenty of water.
Mountain bikers also use this trail, they go very fast and they apparently don’t alert anyone with a kind “on your left” or somesuch. I dealt with this by hugging the right side of the road. Don’t wander all over the trail in a drunken, zig-zaggy line. You will get mowed.
Mountain lions, rattlesnakes and other things I’d rather not run into frequent the area. Here are some survival tips. You know that scene in The Parent Trap where the dad’s girlfriend starts banging the sticks to make noise to keep the mountain lions away, and she looks like a completely paranoid idiot doing it? I did that. I also notice that’s not one of the tips.