I had hoped that this hike through Big Santa Anita Canyon would have been more "fall color"-ful than it was, but that might be the only complaint about this absolutely beautiful hike (do the trees EVER turn in Southern California?). Since I had worked out near the beach that morning, I had one of those California moments: I can say, "I was on the beach in the morning and in the mountains the same afternoon."
I really love how hiking is so popular and available in Southern California. I've been on a few trails so far--one in Malibu, Topanga Forest, and Santa Anita Canyon--and all are different but gorgeous in their own way. Big Santa Anita Canyon feels like a world away from the hustle of LA, with mountain views, cool riverbeds, and isolated campgrounds.
This is not an easy hike by any means--crossing the river on logs and boulders, steep climbs, narrow trails around the edge of the mountain--and to top it all off, the shortest hike option is 5 miles. I would love to camp at the campground by this old hearth (this may be the only time I've ever used that word), a 3.5 mile hike from the pack station. No trailers, campers, or RVs here.
I'd love to visit more hiking trails, so if you know the area & have any suggestions, let me hear them!