Hopefully some of you who read the “Black Friday” article about hikes near shopping malls got out and experienced a little nature to go along with your holiday errands. That list applies to last-minute Christmas shopping and post-Christmas returns as well, but just to give you some more ideas, here are ten more hikes that are near big Southern California shopping malls. As with the previous ten, all of these hikes have free parking and require no permits, and are within ten miles of the mall in question. Fluorescent lights, canned music and check-out lines are all well and good, but if you’re looking to get some fresh air, nature and some exercise, try these out for size.
Simi Valley Town Center: Mt. McCoy. Located only four miles from the Simi Valley Town Center, Mt. McCoy (on the grounds of the Reagan Presidential Library), offers a quick workout with great views of the surrounding area.
Westfield Topanga: Rocky Peak. Burn off some of those chili cheese fries at Yankee Doodle’s with this 5-mile hike, located only 8 miles away, with some great geological scenery and panoramic views of the Valley.
Valencia Town Center: Weldon Motorway. Barely a stone’s throw from I-5, and only 8 miles from the Valencia Town Center, the Weldon Motorway offers a steep climb that quickly gets you into peace and quiet.
The Grove/Farmer’s Market: Wilacre Park. This is a short, enjoyable loop in the Hollywood Hills, only six miles from the popular Farifax farmer’s market and the adjacent Grove shopping center.
Universal City Walk: Bee Rock. Griffith Park isn’t exactly a secret among Los Angelenos, but not many people think of using it as a place to unwind after battling the crowds at the Universal City Walk (7 miles away) – or any other mall, for that matter.
South Bay Galleria: Three Sisters Reserve. From the busy intersection of Hawthorne Blvd. and Artesia, it may seem hard to believe that only ten miles away is a place where one can get phenomenal views of the ocean and Catalina Island – and quite a good workout in the bargain. (For more information on trails in the South Bay, visit the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy’s site, here.)
Westfield Santa Anita: Echo Mountain. Just 10 miles from the Santa Anita mall, Echo Mountain is a steep climb with great views of the San Gabriel Valley, and on clear days, much more, plus some interestin. It’s also very close to the old town Pasadena shopping area.
Brea Mall: Gilman Peak. This short, but steep hike offers great views of north Orange County, only 8 miles away from the Brea Mall. There are several other possible routes to take from the Rim Crest entrance to Chino Hills State Park in Yorba Linda, but check with the park for update on trail conditions (see here for more information); the park often is closed after periods of rain.
Block at Orange: El Modena Open Space. Located eight miles from the Block, this short loop takes in views of the San Gabriels, the Santa Anas and the ocean.
Carlsbad Mall: Calavera Preserve. Only three miles from the Carlsbad Mall, Cerro Calavera is a great place to watch the sunset aftera long day of shopping and eating.
Once again – proof positive that no matter where in the South Land you find yourself this holiday season, there’s always a place to get fresh air and exercise. Merry Christmas and be safe on the roads and the trails!