3 Lesser Known Ways to Experience LA’s Natural Beauty

Feb 3, 2017 · 5 min read

LA does not fall short when it comes to outdoor adventures. We can go surfing at the beach, spend a day fishing, and go skiing in the mountains all in the same weekend.

One reason that I love LA is because of its unique landscapes. I’m a sucker for landscape views that include natural water sources — beaches, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, etc. While the LA River is pretty much non-existent, LA has every other body of water open for exploration. So read on for a list of 3 lesser known ways to experience LA’s natural beauty.

Photo courtesy of Pinterest

1. Fly Into the Sunset

  • What: NYTS Trapeze School. Yep, hanging from a bar way above the ground, doing a flip mid-air on your own, and then allowing a professional to catch you. This is what was covered in the intro class and each stunt is optional — thank goodness!
  • Where: NYTS is based in New York but this location is at the Santa Monica Pier. Most people recognize the pier from the panoramic view on many TV shows or as the end of the Historic Route 66. What cooler way to experience this iconic area than from up above?
  • What’s cool about it: I consider myself fairly adventurous and I’m not afraid of heights. I love zip lining, hang gliding, etc. But this class really pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I had to learn to not only trust myself, but also trust the guide to catch me in the final (optional) stunt in the class. If you’re looking for something to push you to your limits in an unexpected way — even if you’re already a thrill seeker — I recommend this class.
Photo courtesy of Adventitious Paths
  • Insider Tip: Go at sunset! There is nothing quite like flying into the sunset — feeling the ocean breeze on your face while having a birds eye view of the beach as it blurs with the colors of the sunset. I’ve never experienced anything else like it.
Photo courtesy of Hikeology LA

2. Go Chasing Waterfalls

  • What: Eaton Canyon Falls. As the name suggests, this trail has a scenic view that includes waterfall visit.
  • Where: Eaton Canyon is on a nature preserve in Angeles National Forest, located in the San Gabriel Mountains.
  • What’s cool about it: Seeing as California is in a perpetual drought, you might not think that LA has waterfalls. Well on this trail, you’ll get to see a waterfall and you can even get in the water if you’d like. The water is about waist-deep, so it’s refreshing on a hot day, but not somewhere you want to dive into or swim in.
Photo courtesy of Reddit
  • Insider Tip: There are plenty of meetups, hiking groups, and even official guided tours that you can participate in if you don’t want to go alone. I’d never recommend hiking alone, even if it is a seemingly populated area.
Photo courtesy of SoCal Hiker

3. Take a Long Walk [to] the Beach

  • What: Portuguese Bend Reserve — Sacred Cove. This is a 3 hour intense hike to a beautiful hidden cove on the cliffside. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.
  • Where: Portuguese Bend is in Rancho Palos Verdes, the southernmost part of LA. It’s a very beautiful area with amazing coastal views. On a clear day you can even see Catalina Island from here.
Photo courtesy of Modern Hiker
  • What’s cool about it: The Sacred Cove hike is an intense adventure that leads you to gorgeous landscape views that you wouldn’t see otherwise. These views are truly amazing but keep in mind that the second half of this hike (getting back to the beginning of the trail from the beach) is an uphill hike. If you bring items for a picnic to eat in the cove, you’ll have a lighter load to carry back up after lunch. And if you’re up to it, bring snorkeling gear to the cove. This secluded part of the beach has tide pools where some people have gone snorkeling.
  • Insider Tip: Don’t get this trail confused with the regular Portuguese Bend Reserve Hike, which is about an hour, has an excellent view of the coast, but does not lead all the way to the cove. You can bring your dog for a run on this easier trail to get a great workout with a view.

This list is made up of three of my personal favorite LA adventures. Of course there are plenty of other options that aren’t listed here. From hang gliding to skydiving to cliff jumping to rock climbing, there are endless hidden gems for all the thrill seekers out there.

What’s your favorite type of outdoor adventure? Let us know! #BlueWonderAdventures

Taylor is the newest member of voyadi.com (formerly Blue Wonder Travel). She is a self proclaimed #Adventurer who looks for hidden gems throughout LA and in all 7 other cities in which she’s lived. Learn more about her at taylordmills.com and contact her at taylor@banianlabs.com.

© taylordmills 2017


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*Local tourist — one who is not an LA native and wants to experience LA like a local. This blog is for you.

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