Damoriae Graham, image courtesy of The Independence
Image courtesy of The Independence
Chantry Flat // Monsieur Crepe
Sierra Madre, $$
Damoriae Graham: This is my favorite trailhead to visit when I need to get out of the city. You feel as if you are a world away, but it only takes 30 minutes to get there outside of peak traffic hours. The trail is nice at all times of the year; as you make your way into the canyon, the tall trees provide plenty of shade on warmer days, and when it rains, the 50-foot waterfall and creek that runs along the trail become lively and even more beautiful. After driving down the mountain overlooking a large chunk of the San Gabriel Valley, I always stop at Monsieur Crepe, a petite French cafe in the town over. It's a small, quiet place with great variety of sweet and savory crepes, alongside daily pastries and quality coffee. The perfect addition to a relaxing morning in the Santa Anita Mountains
Sunken City // San Pedro Fish Market
San Pedro, $$
DG: I currently live in San Pedro; it's a nice, quiet neighborhood that is the home to a number of 'secret' gems. The Sunken City Landslide has been around for the last 89 years; it's one of those things that is fairly familiar to South Bay denizens, but is unknown by most of LA. The site is interesting as it is a snapshot of something that happened almost a century ago, but is filled with graffiti art, painted on slabs of concrete that once was a paved road. A five minute drive takes you down the road to the ports on the east side of the peninsula to the San Pedro Fish Market. If seafood is your thing, it's worthwhile to grab a shrimp tray and a couple pitchers beers with friends.
Murphy's Ranch // Milo & Olive
DG: Be prepared for a serious leg day when visiting Murphy Ranch as there is a staircase of 500+ steps that lead down into the canyon after the initial mile hike up from a neighborhood in the Pacific Palisades. This four mile loop trail has history behind it, and this is given away by the number of building ruins and abandoned stables in the valley. After making my way back up the seemingly eternal stairway, I'll usually crave carbs to refuel which will drive me to Milo & Olive for their Garlic Knot, which in itself, makes the trek earlier that morning/afternoon so worth it, and you can't go wrong with any of the pizzas there.
Escondido Falls // Duke's Malibu
DG: Escondido is a relatively easy hike, and the waterfall at the first part of the trail is worth it at 50 feet high. However, there is a secondary climb that is a bit more challenging which leads to a fall that is three time as high and is remarkable. After the hike, I'm met with a beautiful drive down PCH, but before I make it back home, I always have to stop at Duke's in Malibu. A great spot for quick lunch and gorgeous ocean view.
Old Los Angeles Zoo // Porto's Bakery
DG: I'm not sure how many Angelenos know of the Old LA Zoo located on the east side of Griffith Park, but it's definitely worth the visit. The hiking trail is relatively short, something under two miles, but it's worth checking out the abandoned animal exhibits and the city views are pretty great. After that, my go to in the area is Porto's Bakery, 10 minutes over into Glendale. Most of my days are perfectly-timed as I'm there after the lunch rush has subsided, and I've placed my regular order: Papa Rellena, Cubano, Iced Coffee with an order of Mariquitas (fried plantain chips) for the road.
Chantry Flat, image courtesy of @discoversierramadre
Monsieur Crepe, image courtesy of @fatviceeatsndrinks
Old L.A. Zoo, image courtesy of @richardharlandsmith
Porto's Bakery, image courtesy of @kevin.j.griffith
Header image courtesy of The Independence