It's not your fault. You've read "Trails of the Angeles", "Afoot and Afield", "Easy Hiking in Southern California" and all of the others. You peruse all of So Cal's leading hiking blogs regularly. But no one's perfect. Even veteran hikers let a trail or two slip under the radar now and then. If you feel as if you've seen it all when it comes to L.A. area hiking, try one of these trails. You may have done or two, but how many reading this have done all ten? (Just in case you have, two more lists of ten are included following this one!)
Acorn Trail - This steep, high-altitude trail demands a lot of the hiker - but provides outstanding views, including the high desert and Pine Mountain, a 9,600-foot summit rarely seen because from the south, it's blocked by Mt. Baldy. The trail starts in a residential neighborhood and has thus been the source of some controversy, but if you are respectful of the nearby home owners, odds are you will not be bothered.
Altadena Crest Loop - This one might not be an essential hike but for those who live in the Pasadena area and the San Gabriel Valley, it's enjoyable. Using both single-track trails and residential streets, this loop offers a good workout with nice views of downtown L.A. and the San Gabriel foothills.
Challenger Park - This small park in Simi Valley is a gateway to a wide network of trails. The short but steep loop described here explores the foothills and wooded canyons, providing good views of the area.
Dominguez Gap Wetlands - Long Beach might not be known for having much in the way of outdoor activities, but residents will find this small pocket of land near the Bixby Knolls neighborhood an enjoyable place to get some peace and quiet, perhaps also to observe hawks, egrets, herons and other waterfowl.
Guadalasaca Trail - Popular with mountain bikers, this long, moderately graded trail is located in the back country of Point Mugu State Park. It can be incorporated into a 10-mile day hike from the Ray Miller Trail Head. Highlights include views of the ocean and Boney Mountain, La Jolla Valley and Wood Canyon.
Idyllwild County Park - This park is perhaps best known for its nature center but it also features a variety of rambling trails that climb to vista points yielding excellent views of the San Jacintos, Palomars, Santa Rosas and more.
Mentally Sensitive Trail - One of the newer trails in Aliso & Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, this short but steep single-track provides excellent views of Old Saddleback and the coastal plains of Orange County. It's unusual name comes from a sign that read "Environmentally Sensitive" that once cautioned hikers from exploring the area.
Metate Trail - This short but enjoyable trail is located northwest of Lake Arrowhead. Keep an eye out for the Indian Mortreros
Sycamore Canyon - This Claremont park recently opened following the Grand Prix Fire of 2003. It features a short but steep trail that offers a workout convenient to the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire cities, providing great views of them.
Tin Mine Canyon - Starting from a residential Corona neighborhood, this hike explores a pleasantly secluded and rugged canyon just beyond the fringes of suburbia.