POSTED: July 17th 2017

[BRENDA DURAN] Off the Beaten Path: Hiking and Biking in Olympic bid city LA 2024

Point Mugu State Park near Malibu where the mountains meet the Pacific Ocean © Bigstock
Point Mugu State Park near Malibu where the mountains meet the Pacific Ocean © Bigstock

Runyon Canyon near Hollywood is very popular © Bigstock
Runyon Canyon near Hollywood is very popular © Bigstock

Griffith Park is up near the famouc Griffith Observatory overlooking the city © Bigstock
Griffith Park is up near the famouc Griffith Observatory overlooking the city © Bigstock

BRENDA DURAN (USA) / Sports Features Communications

(SFC) Beyond the bright lights of the big city, a trove of natural and outdoor experiences awaits visitors to 2024 bid city Los Angeles (LA).

Los Angeles is running against Paris to host the 2024 summer Olympics and the IOC has just agreed for the double awarding of the 2024 and 2028 Games after the Extraordinary session in Lausanne last week. LA is expected to host either the 2024 or the 2028 Games and the city offers a mountains to the sea experience for Olympic fans.

The area boasts hiking trails with phenomenal views for all skill levels, as well as bike paths in the hills and mountains and along beaches and rivers.

Easily accessible hiking options include Runyon Canyon, a popular route near Hollywood that ascends hills with fantastic views of the city, and Griffith Park, also at the northern end of Los Angeles and encompassing 53 miles of trails that include a route to the Griffith Observatory.

For people who want more than a morning hike, L.A. is surrounded by state and federal parks and forests, including half a dozen state parks up the coast and the 650,000-acre Angeles National Forest an hour's drive away, with challenges for experienced hikers such as climbing Mount Baldy to its 10,064-foot summit. Prepare for stunning waterfalls, mountain views and nature scenes that will make you forget you're in one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the United States.

Head up the coast toward Malibu to Point Mugu State Park, which has 60 miles of hiking trails on its 14,000 acres. The park's views include rocky bluffs, sand dunes and river canyons.

River bike paths - City and county leaders throughout Los Angeles County have put millions of dollars into developing bicycle paths along the Los Angeles and San Gabriel rivers that flow to the southern coast.

The 51-mile L.A. River has a series of bike paths that are still a bit disjointed, offering some natural vistas but also urban stretches in need of some upkeep.

Further east, the San Gabriel River bike path is more cohesive and can be ridden from the green San Gabriel Valley all the way to the river's mouth in Seal Beach opening up to the Pacific Ocean. There, you can grab a well-deserved meal at the River's End Café and enjoy the waterfront view.

To get an ocean view, many of the area's numerous coastal cities offer beach bike paths that are easy rides for most.

The Marvin Braude Bike Trail runs from Will Rogers State Beach down to Torrance along the western coastline. The route passes the iconic Santa Monica Pier, the artsy and eccentric Venice Beach, quaint beachfront communities, and other sights.

Along the southern coastline, Long Beach has an easy bike path that offers access to its unique neighborhoods. The bike path offers views of the historic Queen Mary ship and is a short detour away for those who wish to visit. It also goes past the Aquarium of the Pacific, shopping districts, restaurants, and wide open beaches.

Beyond the region's waterways, the mountains offer recourse for those who like their biking especially rough. Many of these routes overlap hiking corridors, such as Point Mugu State Park, where many trails are open to both activities. In the Angeles National Forest, one of the best-known and also most difficult trails is the Ken Burton Loop, a roughly 15-mile trail of switchbacks down the side of a mountain - not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.

Closer to Los Angeles, there are many other trails that are more appropriate for the casual mountain biker. The Portugese Bend Reserve Loop features gorgeous ocean views on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Across the county near Whittier, Turnbull Canyon offers mostly wide fire roads and varied climbs and descents along rolling hills.

The region has hundreds of other hiking and biking trails, too numerous to name. But discovering unexpected vistas, rarely explored pathways and L.A.'s outdoor culture is part of the adventure.

**BRENDA DURAN has Over 10 years of documented success in writing within media and communication for leading publications, including: The North County Times, The Denver Post, PEOPLE, The Long Beach Press-Telegram, Us Weekly and Long Beach Magazine. Winner of more than a dozen national and regional writing awards for feature stories and breaking news. Expertise in strategic communications, social media and marketing.

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