The idea of getting out into nature on a solo hike to enjoy some peace and quiet is appealing but to some, perhaps a little intimidating. Indeed, while hiking is usually safer with a group or at least one other person, a solo hike, when planned and prepared for responsibly, can also be a very enjoyable experience. Here are ten hikes in the L.A. area picked as good choices for the first time solo hiker. They are all of easy to moderate difficulty with clear navigation, no rough terrain or other obstacles and likelihood (although not certainty) of cell phone reception. Yet they also are off the beaten path and offer solitude and scenic variety, making them nice, convenient getaways from the busy pace of L.A. life.
Canyon View Trail. Located in the western Santa Monica Mountains, this secluded trail provides some nice ocean and mountain views, with less foot traffic than the popular Grotto and Sandstone Peak trails nearby.
Buzzard Peak. The San Jose Hills aren't tall, but they provide some great views of the L.A. Basin. The route to Buzzard Peak follows the Schabarum Trail, one of L.A. County's best kept secrets.
Diemer Loop/Chino Hills State Park. This loop travels through a secluded canyon and along a ridge with panoramic views of north Orange County.
Forrestal Reserve. There are many lightly traveled trails on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, including those in the Forrestal Reserve, providing some great views of the ocean.
Hill Canyon. On the northwest edge of Thousand Oaks, Hill Canyon is an easy going hike through fields and woodlands with nice views of nearby Mount Clef.
Ritter Ranch. Just north of the Santa Clarita Valley in the lightly visited Liebre Mountains, this loop - nearly 5,000 feet above sea level - offers a panoramic view of the desert, the western San Gabriel Mountains and more.
Secret Trail to Calabasas Peak. Located in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains, Calabasas Peak has panoramic views and interesting geological formations that make it a popular hiking destination. The so-called "Secret Trail" is an attractive, less crowded alternative to the more popular route via the motorway.
Stough Canyon. This steep but easy to follow loop features great views of the L.A. Basin and San Gabriel Mountains.
Upper Marshall Canyon. In the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains above La Verne, Marshall Canyon provides oak woodlands, nice views of the San Gabriel Valley and a good chance of spotting wildlife.
Weir Canyon. This moderately challenging loop in northeast Orange County provides nice mountain views and on clear days, the ocean is visible. The isolation and quiet of the trail belies the the fact that it is located next to a residential neighborhood.
These hikes are all great introductions to So Cal's varied outdoor landscape. If you're not feeling up for a solo attempt at Mt. Baldy, try finding what you seek on one of these trails.