Despite Los Angeles’s car-centric reputation, plenty of people do, in fact, walk in L.A. Bicycling and hitting the trails in the surrounding hills are a great way to see the sights, as Bikes and Hikes LA tour guide Elizabeth Conway explains on the California Now Podcast.
Sealed up in a car, you remain more isolated from this dynamic metropolis. But by bicycling and hiking, Conway says residents and visitors can more intimately experience L.A. “You are right there. You’re seeing the city, you’re smelling the city…you’re riding alongside the ocean, you’ve got the salt and the sea breeze in your hair.”
Conway offers insights into four Bikes and Hikes LA tours, each with its own personality and focus.
1. Wake Up in Runyon Canyon
The early morning Hollywood Hills Hike explores Runyon Canyon, a natural area just blocks from the heart of Hollywood that’s popular with celebs and fitness buffs. The three-mile, 90-minute trek takes in panoramic views of the city and spectacular hillside homes—though you’ll work for it. “You’re definitely going to break a sweat,” says Conway. “You’re going to get a good workout and you’re going to feel it the next day.”
2. Head to the Hollywood Sign
Everyone wants that Instagram-worthy selfie with the Hollywood Sign. The company’s three-and-a-half mile roundtrip Hollywood Sign Hike starts in Griffith Park and climbs Mount Hollywood, where you’ll not only get a great perspective on the sign but views of such landmarks as the Griffith Observatory. (And, after the hike, you’ll go on a special observatory tour.) In addition to morning outings, the company also leads sunset hikes. “If you’ve seen La La Land or heard about the magic hour or golden hour, you’re going to get some of the prettiest, most breathtaking views you’ll ever see,” says Conway.
3. Tour de L.A.
The ambitious, six-hour L.A. in a Day Bike Tour covers 32 miles—everywhere from the Sunset Strip to estates in Bel-Air to the beach. “Your muscles feel that sort of wonderfully rewarding exhaustion afterward,” says Conway. “There’s a sense of accomplishment. And the pictures of course.” In addition to the great workout, guides bring L.A. alive as they point out historic locations and tell tales of the city. And if the distance seems daunting, pedal-assist electric bikes are available, plus there are plenty of breaks, including lunch at Venice Beach.
4. Star Search
The Celebrity Bike Tour travels past homes of major stars in Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, as well as an assortment of movie locations. There are no guarantees but you never know who you might spot while riding along posh Rodeo Drive. This 150-minute, 10-mile ride, says Conway, is “a great way to see up-close your favorite A-listers’ homes, scenes from many movies, and the real kind of red carpet experience of the most luxurious neighborhood in the U.S.”
To hear more of Conway’s insights into exploring Los Angeles without a car, listen to the latest episode of the California Now Podcast.