WALKING TO WELLNESS IN LA LA LAND.
Vacations aren’t always about relaxing on a beach sipping margaritas (THOUGH WE’RE ALWAYS UP FOR THAT!) If you’re looking for a different kind of trip — one that nourishes your body, mind and soul -consider a healthy holiday in Los Angeles to jump start your wellness regimen.
You already know this, but good old-fashioned walking is arguably the simplest way to kick-start weight loss and healthier living. Not only can it work wonders for you physically, it’s a huge help when it comes to mental health — walking can alleviates stress and improve your mood. And when you pack your sneakers and fitness gear and make walking a priority, you’ve hit on one of the hottest travel trends these days — get-fit getaways.
A 2018 survey commissioned by Booking.com found 56 percent of travellers reported being interested in a walking or hiking tour, and nearly everyone surveyed said they’d be interested in health and wellbeing trips. Walking to wellness isn’t a new trend (lacing up runners and heading onto the trails is a longtime passion for Canadians) but turning a trip into a wellness jaunt is definitely an idea that’s been gaining traction, especially as more women are travelling solo and taking time away for themselves to disconnect and reconnect. It’s definitely an idea we can get behind.
Walking in Los Angeles extends beyond window shopping on Rodeo Drive and scoping out Sunset Boulevard, though these spots are must-sees when in the area. Read on for our favourite places to get physical when in La La Land.
Seeing the Hollywood sign is one of those bucket-list items you have to do when you’re in LA, and Griffith Park offers an unobstructed view. Griffith Park is one of the biggest urban parks in the United States, with more than 4,000 acres of paths and trails. The Mount Lee trail is one of the most popular hikes — it’s more than six miles but takes you to the Griffith Observatory, where you can get that Instagram-worthy shot of you standing in front of the iconic sign. (You’re not actually near the sign when you’re up there — it’s just a great vista for a photo op.) The West Griffith Observatory trail is a good one to take if you’re a beginner or looking for something a bit more low-impact — it’s about two miles and is known as one of the easiest official hikes to see the sign. Locals suggest doing the hike as early in the day as possible — it’s open 24 hours (be sure to check their website before you go) and gets crowded (and hot, depending on the weather) later in the day. Be prepared to bump into wildlife on your trek — foxes, deer and rattlesnakes have been spotted on the trails. When you’re in the Griffith Observatory parking lot, check out the bust of James Dean — the observatory is where the final scenes of Rebel Without a Cause were filmed. Epic Hollywood history. (If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path trail that tourists aren’t super savvy about, try the Glendale Peak trail. It’s pretty steep but you’ll get unbelievable views of the downtown LA, the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Gabriel Valley.)
MARSHALL CANYON TRAIL
This moderate hike is tucked into LA and, for those of us who aren’t sun worshippers, it offers plenty of shade along Marshall Creek. The walk takes you to the foothills of Marshall Canyon Regional Park, where you’ll see great views (and feel accomplished!) before heading down along the creek. It can a fair distance (more than seven miles) but it also offers opportunities to cut the trek, making it easier for beginners. There’s some climbing (though it isn’t all uphill; the southern part of the trail is flat and urban) and plenty of scenery to take in. Besides walking, mountain biking and horseback riding are allowed on the trails.
HOLLYWOOD FOREVER CEMETERY
If you’re a big fan of celebs of yesteryear and you’re up for a guided tour, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard offers tours every Saturday morning. The two-and-a-half-hour walk is $20 per person and you’ll see the final resting places of some of entertainment’s biggest stars, politicians and notorious folks of the first half of the 1900s, including Judy Garland, Cecil B. DeMille and Bugsy Siegel. You can also see the Hollywood sign from inside the cemetery gates.
If you’re planning an easy, relaxing walk between bus tours and sightseeing, the three-and-a-half-mile loop around the Hollywood Reservoir (an artificial lake in the Hollywood Hills) is a good choice for those who want to get in some exercise on mostly flat terrain. Going earlier in the day is ideal — there isn’t too much shade along this path. Your walk starts with a walk across Mulholland Dam, then around the reservoir.
This is without a doubt one of the most popular spots for a walk in LA. Be prepared for plenty of pampered pups with their owners — there’s an off-leash park so this isn’t the place for you if you’re not a dog person. Not only will you get an amazing workout (it’s about three miles but the terrain is easy), you’ll see spectacular panoramic views of the city. If you want a faster hike, there’s a nearly two-mile loop, or you can start from Mulholland Drive for a nearly one-mile hike to the top of the park. This isn’t the park where you’re going to be able to get your Zen on (it’s too crowded for serene meditation) but the people-watching is prime and you might even spot a celebrity or two.
Find hundreds of great walking and hiking vacations at Booking.com, and go to DiscoverLosAngeles.com to plan your trip to LA.
WORDS LISA VAN DE GEYN