California is known for its nature and breathtaking views. It’s also world renowned for its weed.
The Golden State will soon compete with Colorado, Oregon, and other legal states for ganja tourists taking advantage of adult use marijuana laws for those 21 and over. Now with Los Angeles having recently passed a measure to regulate cannabis businesses, the industry is gearing up for LA to become the capital of weed.
You may complain about LA’s urban sprawl — sure, it takes over an hour to get from one end of the city to another — but that sprawl trails the Santa Monica mountain range, which extends inland from the ocean. Countless hidden spots and trails are nestled within the city’s majestic hills, everywhere from Topanga to Hollywood and beyond. While these spots may not be as popular as everyone’s favorite Instagram destination, Runyon Canyon, you’ll be sure to escape the crowds and find some space where nobody will mind the smell if you bring an herbal pick-me-up for your hike.
So whether you’re a local or you’re visiting LA for the first time, here are some tips about where you can smoke a J when you’re way up high upon some of the city’s most beautiful lookout points.
This hike is basic, in a good way. Also known as Coldwater Canyon, the hiking trails will have you work up a sweat, but won’t wear you out too much. While fellow hikers mutter friendly greetings as they pass by, there are plenty of solitary spots in the shade or in the sunshine to sneak a toke. With scenes of mountains and greenery overlooking the San Fernando Valley, this hike offers some of the same views that people look for when cruising along Mulholland Drive nearby. Toward the top, the trail’s topography gets more dynamic, with plenty of small offshoots where you can meander grassy fields, hang out on low-hanging tree branches, or rest on wooden benches near the park’s several water fountains in case you get cottonmouth.
This is probably one of LA’s most challenging hikes. It’s a total of 67 miles long, starting above the polo field at Will Rogers State Park in the Pacific Palisades and ending near Point Mugu in Ventura County. Few people try to tackle the whole thing, or even half of it, but should you start the trail, you’ll be greeted by friendly hikers here and there, and various stopping points to admire the view. Close is the coast, where you’ll get to see the ocean glittering if the sun’s out. And if you’re like most people who attempt the Backbone, you’ll likely turn around at some point before finishing the trail. Unwind at the bottom, roll around in the grass, watch horses trot by, or satisfy your munchies with a picnic in the park surrounding the house owned by old western actor Will Rogers.
Alright tourists, this one’s for you. The trail will take you up close to the Hollywood sign as you ascend the mountain. Once you get to the top, you’ll get to look down on it below. Sure it may not say “Hollyweed” anymore, but you know what to do. Meanwhile, you’ll also get to look out on the ocean, downtown LA, the Santa Ana Mountains, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. We told you the city’s ginormous, but here you can take it in all at once.
Save this one for a lazy afternoon. It’s only a mile round-trip and won’t have you panting your way up a mountain to see the view. Rather, the scenes are right in front of you. Also called the “Discovery Trail,” Franklin Canyon is the perfect place to meditate by the reservoir, stroll around the duck pond, and pick some sage as you ramble through the sparsely populated park. You’ll be sure to see more birds than people here, so this trail’s a great place for anyone looking to smoke in solitude.
Not into nature? No problem. This residential road will take you to a lookout point known to every teenager in Los Angeles who’s gone joyriding through the Hollywood Hills, trying to sneak out, make out, and smoke out of a DIY apple pipe. Unlike all other hikes, you technically don’t need to leave your car for this one — and you can do it at night, whereas in the public parks, you’d otherwise be worrying about coyotes or having the rangers kick you out. Whether you drive up the windy road, or jog the sidewalk and admire the real estate along the way, you’ll end up at a lookout, peering south down at the city’s glowing boulevards, spanning all directions downtown to the beach.
Bonus: “Top Of The World”
This one is hard to find, and is more of a stair incline than a hike. Way up Lachman Lane in the Pacific Palisades, this is every native’s favorite spot. Few, if any, city guides will list “Top of the World” as an official place, but if you’re lucky enough to stumble upon this gem, it may already smell a little skunky. Plop down on the ledge, toke up, and take in the view of Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, and beyond. Nevermind that hazy layer of grey suspended above the city — sadly, it’s not weed haze, but this spot will still have you falling for LA despite the smog.