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Best hikes in LA, Reseda Blvd hike

One of my favorite things to do is hiking. If you follow me on Instagram, you will notice that I go on a lot of hikes, even when I’m traveling. I try to go once a week and love checking out different hikes. There are a few that I go on quite often, suggest to fellow hikers, and take friends on when they visit. Here are my favorite hikes in L.A..

Caballero Canyon Trail – I hike this 3.4 mile {out and back} trail most often. There isn’t any shade, so it’s best to go in the morning or on a foggy day, plus it’s uphill all the way to the lookout point. At the top of the hike, on Dirt Mulholland Drive, there’s a bench with beautiful views of the valley.

Caballero Canyon trail

Fryman Canyon -This 3 mile loop in Studio City is pretty popular among hikers, so if you don’t know the way, you can follow the crowd. It’s a fairly easy trail and is also dog friendly. That’s something to keep in mind when hiking in LA, check to make sure it’s dog friendly and if they can be off leash.

Fryman Canyon hike, hike Los Angeles

Topanga State Park – There are so many hikes in Topanga State Park, it was hard to narrow it down to just one. Some of the hikes on this list {Los Liones and Caballero Canyon}, lead into Topanga State Park. There’s a large parking lot with a day fee to park, but if you want to avoid paying, you can park outside the entrance on the road. Here you can hike all day deep into the Santa Monica Mountains.

Topanga State Park hike

Malibu Creek State Park – Another location with tons of trails. You really feel like you are out of the city when you are here. The Santa Monica Mountains surround the park, filled with rolling hills, oak trees, and tall grass. If you want to do more than just hiking, you can also camp, go rock climbing, and horseback riding. It’s a nature getaway without having to leave the city.

Malibu Creek State Park hike

Los Liones Trail – The hike can either be 2.6 miles out and back or if you really want to go for it, 7.8 miles round trip. If you go for the longer stretch you end up at Parker Mesa Overlook, which offers a higher elevation view of the ocean. If you decide you don’t want to make the higher arduous hike, Los Liones ends at a clearing on the ridge with a bench and views of Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, and the ocean.

Parker Mesa Overlook, Los Liones hike

Griffith Park – This is an extremely popular place to hike, especially for tourists and out of town guests. There are lots of hikes in the park. My favorite is Mount Hollywood, which is the star of Griffith Park. It can be reached from the Observatory and offers 360-degree views of the city. I love looking over the ridge and seeing Griffith Observatory with the downtown skyline in the background.

Griffith Park hike, best hikes in LA

Paramount Ranch – A 4 mile loop that ends at a Western town that serves as a filming location. Most recently HBO’s Westworld was filmed at Paramount Ranch. Paramount Pictures used to own the land, but it’s now preserved by the National Parks Services. The old prop town was built in the 1950’s and can be explored after a moderate hike.

Paramount Ranch filming location

Note: It was hard to narrow down the best hikes in LA, there are so many to choose from.

Ojai Spa, Ojai Valley Inn

When your friend tells you that she’s staying at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa and wants you to come visit, you do it. This beautiful resort is located about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, so it makes for a relaxing weekend getaway from the city. There’s a peacefulness to the resort that you immediately feel as you coast up the long driveway. It pulled me in all day. Along with laughing with my dear friend, it was exactly what I needed.

We started the day with breakfast at The Oak Kitchen on the patio overlooking the golf course and huge oak trees {hence the name}. A quick bite turned into a few hours and we found ourselves catching up and calling an old friend. I’m sure the people next to us hated that we had her on speaker phone.

Ojai Valley Inn SpaOjai Valley Inn poolAfter breakfast she gave me a private tour of the property, starting with her Spanish-style room. I really felt like I was staying there. We checked out the spa, which only made me want to book a service and spend the rest of the day there. But we moved on and walked to the Artist’s Colony, a cute cottage with an artist in residence the leads painting classes. There are guest artists that lead other classes depending on the schedule. The room next door is an apothecary center where you can make and mix your own oils and scents.

We made our way around the walking path to the adults only pool. This is where we soaked up the sun for the rest of the day. We ordered drinks, which were delivered to us in the pool, and floated on one of the highly coveted pool loungers. Supposedly there are only 7 or 8, so you have to snag them early. We succeed in doing that. After a few hours in the pool we relaxed in the comfy lounge chairs and ordered some chips and guac. My go-to poolside snack.

Ojai Valley PoolOjai Valley Inn Spa

I was sad when it was time to say good-bye to my friend. It was the most fun I have had in a long time. A full day of laughs, relaxing in a gorgeous setting, good food and drinks. I’m looking forward to a full weekend at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. I might have to go book it now.

Ojai Valley Inn, Pool Note: This was the perfect daycation.


While I was on on my trip to Asheville I committed myself to taking videos and talking into the camera. It made me nervous at first, and still does, but I’m just rolling with it. This video of my stay and visit to the Biltmore Estate doesn’t even do it justice. I was able to capture the estate house, Antler Village, and the barn. But I left out the gardens, winery, and shops.

Now I know to take tons of more videos on my next trip. And, I’ve decided to invest in a better camera for my videos. I’m really getting into this. Would love to hear what you think!

Note: I’m taking my own advice and doing what scares me.

Asheville North Carolina

STAY

The Inn on Biltmore Estate – Located on the Biltmore Estate property, the inn sits atop a hill overlooking the mountains and the sprawling grounds. Whether you stay at the inn or the Village Hotel, both are on the grounds and allow you access to all of the activities and amenities. With plenty to do on the property, you can easily spend a few days there, depending on how adventurous you want to get. There are restaurants, shopping, wine tasting {free when you stay there}, the barn, and plenty of outdoor activities. There’s also live entertainment and festivities for the kids.

Biltmore Estate, Asheville

Omni Grove Park Inn – Another hotel with a magnificent view. For over 100 years it has remained a resort destination. It was built as a health spa where guests could enjoy the fresh mountain air in Asheville. They brought in the top spa officials and salon specialists from New York to attract world class travelers. Over the years presidents and celebrities have all stayed at the hotel, from Taft to Obama, as well as Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The Spa is amazing, but it books up fast, so make sure to make a reservation well in advance.

Omni Grove Park Inn Asheville

SEE

Biltmore Estate and Gardens – Definitely take a tour of the Biltmore Estate house. If you can call it a house. And get the guided tour. It may seem a little silly walking around with this phone looking thing around your neck, but not only are the majority of people doing it, but it will inform you about everything you’re seeing. I suggest doing the house tour first to avoid the crowds, then take a stroll through the lavish gardens and down to the pond. George Vanderbilt knew what he was doing when he built his home. It has all of the top amenities, even for that time.

Biltmore Estate North Carolina

Basilica of Saint Lawrence – This beautiful church is hard to miss when you’re walking downtown Asheville, which is also a must. Regardless of your religious preferences, it’s a beautiful building with gorgeous art work inside. The architect, Rafael Guastavino, originally came to Asheville to work on the Biltmore House. He liked the area and decided to stay and build the Basilica with the Catholic community and another fellow architect. Be sure to look up at the pattern on the dome ceiling. This is part of Guastavino’s patented tile work that he brought to the US from Spain.

Asheville North Carolina, Basilica

SHOP

East Fork Pottery – This well curated store offers classic, well-designed pottery all made entirely by hand. My dear friend Connie and her husband Alex Mattise established the company in 2010 and recently opened the retail shop. All of their objects are made from North Carolina clay, in a dirt-floored workshop in the mountains of Asheville. Their pieces are timeless, which I love, and are color glazed in beautiful muted tones. Not only can you stock up on pottery while you’re there, but you can also pick up fun gifts and items for the home.

East Fork Pottery Asheville

ScreenDoor – This antique shop was so lovely and inviting. The over 100 vendors, each added their own unique vibe to their station. It was easy to look through and see how the items would fit in your home. Some antique shops just pile everything in, leaving you to dig through the stuff. The organization made it more shopable and inspiring for my own home design. I especially loved the vendor below. It was very simple and chic, with lots of plants, but it made me want to hangout in the space all day.

ScreenDoor, Antiques, Asheville

Antique Tobacco Barn – This antique mall will take hours to go through, even if you don’t look at every little thing. There’s more than 70,000 square-feet, filled with lots of home decor and furniture. There aren’t too many vendors with clothes, if that’s what you’re looking for {like me}. If you’re traveling, you might want to stick to the smaller items, unless you’re driving and have a truck, which I wish I had. I ended up leaving with a small pitcher and an old book to add to the collection.

Note: You will love the lush green mountains that surround Asheville.

While I was in North Carolina I decided to take some videos of my trip. This is my very first vlog! I was a little nervous to do it at first, but it was such a fun trip I wanted to share more. I loved The Swag, which I mentioned before, and this video diary gives a little more feel of the place. The lush green forest surrounded the property, with nothing else around for miles.

I’m working on another video diary of The Biltmore and can’t wait to share it. I’ll be doing more travel diaries and videos, especially now that I feel a little more comfortable doing it.

Note: Would love to hear what you think!