Los Angeles Hikes

5 Shaded Canyon Hikes in LA

– 3 min read – Above photo: Gabrielino Trail

Los Angeles is notoriously hot, but there are some nice canyons to hike which keep shaded all year round. These are shaded hikes completely covered with a dense layer of canopy at the canyon floor. As a bonus, these canyons have some seasonal waterfalls and creeks. These are 5 of the most shaded canyons of Los Angeles. Complete guides from clicking the photos or blue links.

Santa Ynez Canyon – Topanga State Park


The Santa Ynez Canyon hike immediately begins very shaded after leaving the gated community at the trailhead. The beginning of the hike has these huge old planters and a concrete ground which connects to the wash to the right; a small, muddy stream may have to rock hopped across at the start. After the concrete grounding disappears look for a dirt path to the left of the wash, this easy path opens up and heads deeper into the canyon. If you’re feeling a longer hike, you can take this trail and the Eagle Springs Fire Road all the way to Eagle Rock. The canyon bottom also boasts a seasonal waterfall you can find on the trail.

Hike Stats:

Shaded Distance of Hike: About 1 mile

Parking/Trailhead address and (coordinates): 17399 Vereda De La Montura, Pacific Palisades (34.07820, -118.5675)

(Santa Ynez Canyon Hike Write-up Starts from Topanga State Park)

Newton Canyon – Malibu


Newton Canyon is part of The Backbone Trail, a 67-mile trail which extends across the whole Santa Monica Mountain Range. The entire Newton Canyon hike is just 2.5 miles long (5 miles out-and-back). The hike begins very exposed to the sun, but as the trail winds down to the canyon floor, more and more shade begins to appear. Late or early in the day, the canyon floor is dark and very ominous looking. Huge oaks line the canyon and keep it completely covered at the bottom. But, as the hike leaves the canyon floor and hikes on the ridge again, the sun will beat down on the trail.

Hike Stats:

Shaded distance of Hike: About 1.5 miles

Parking/Trailhead address and (coordinates): 1689 Kanan Dume Road, Malibu (34.075858, -118.815319)

Dixie Canyon Park – Sherman Oaks


This almost completely shaded hike is a nice little retreat in the heart of Sherman Oaks. Small 20 acre Dixie Canyon Park is not a lot to boast about, but the 0.6 mile loop is a quick escape from suburbia. A footbridge in the middle of the canyon covers a seasonal stream that may make some parts of the hike muddy (something you can hop across), but it’s this seasonal stream and shade which keeps much of this canyon floor lush.

Hike Stats:

Shaded distance of Hike: 0.6 mile loop

Parking/Trailhead address and (coordinates): 3510 Dixie Canyon Pl, Sherman Oaks (34.13399, -118.4234)

Rustic Canyon – Pacific Palisades


Rustic Canyon in Pacific Palisades is anything but a comfortable stroll, it has a bit of bush whacking and four stream crossings through some murky areas. It is also unmaintained, which means that some of the trail is overgrown, making this a more adventurous hike. Don’t let that scare you away though, Rustic Canyon follows Rustic creek to a man-made waterfall, dam and some abandoned buildings. Additionally, this trail can be taken all the way to the Murphy Ranch complex and even as far as the barn. Although this trail is completely shaded, avoid the hottest hours of the day since this small canyon becomes quite humid.

Hike Stats:

Shaded Distance of Hike: About 3 miles

Parking address and (coordinates): 1047 Will Rogers State Park Road (34.05060, -118.5130)

Trailhead Directions: Getting to the trailhead can be tricky, please read the write-up here for a clear explanation.

Millard Canyon – Altadena


Deep in Millard Canyon

Millard Canyon in Altadena holds quite a few secrets among the large rocky canyon bottom and huge canyon walls. This area was affected by the 2009 Station Fire and has been recuperating since; the hike was reopened in 2014. You can take this mostly shaded canyon all the way to the Dawn Mine, an abandoned mine that operated until the 1950’s. But if you’re only looking to do an easy 1-mile hike, you can take the canyon to the waterfall and call it a day. But also be careful for bears in the area, recently (June 2016) a man was attacked in his tent at Millard Campground. Sadly, after authorities found the bear, the bear was put down.

Hike Stats (adventure pass required):

Fees: Adventure Pass Required for Parking

Shaded Distance of hike: 3 miles, with exposed ridgelines.

Parking/Trailhead address and (coordinates): 40434 Chaney Trail, Altadena (34.216369,-118.146260)

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