The Angeles National Forest
The Angeles National Forest is located just north of Pasadena. Visitors to this arid mountain area can enjoy all types of activities, including swimming, horse riding, hiking, camping, fishing, biking and canoeing. Weather in the winter may result in snow storms and in mid-summer, the temperatures can easily reach the hundreds, so plan and pack accordingly.
Angeles National Forest:
701 N. Santa Anita Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91006
San Gabriel Mountains
Just to the east of the Angeles Forest lie the San Gabriel Mountains. These mountains are beautiful all year long, but they are particularly popular in the winter when visitors from across California head to Mountain High Resort, the most visited ski resort in Southern California.
During summer months, fewer travelers enter the area, but those who do enjoy an array of activities, including camping, backpacking and hiking.
Mountain High Resort:
24510 State Highway 2
Wrightwood, CA 92397
Saddleback Butte State Park
Located just within the east boundary of Los Angeles County and just on the west edge of the Mojave Desert lies the Saddleback Butte State Park. This granite mountain range towers above Antelope Valley and the area's Joshua tree forest and the desert wildlife inhabiting it. Visit in spring to fully appreciate the colors of the blooming desert plants and the many babies of the local animals. This is also the best time to visit as far as weather goes, as summer temperatures are often over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, winter temperatures are often below freezing and fall tends to waver in between the two extremes without any warning.
Saddleback Butte State Park:
E Ave. K At 172nd St. E
Lancaster, CA 93535
You don't have to leave the city to enjoy some time outdoors though. Los Angeles is blessed to have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. What better way to explore the waterways than on a bike ride with your bathing suit? Start at Marina Del Ray and ride down to Manhattan Beach and you'll get to explore the best beach biking the city has to offer.
L.A. Beach Bike Path:
62nd At Pacific Ave. To The Strand At Manhattan Beach Blvd.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve
The Antelope Valley is home to one of the largest natural California poppy meadows around. If you visit between February and May, you'll see a whole sea of orange flowers growing without any irrigation systems or other forms of artificial support. Removing flowers from the park is a crime, so make sure children are in the habit of looking without touching. There are over seven miles of trails through the flowers, so there's plenty of exercise to be had on this lovely walk in the park.
Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve:
15101 Lancaster Rd.
Lancaster, CA 93536