Angeles National Forest#18 in Best Things To Do in Los Angeles
In about a half-hour, travelers can trade in busy downtown LA for the serenity of nature at the Angeles National Forest. The almost 700,000-acre forest is an easily accessible place for locals and visitors to hike, bike, ski, ride horses, swim, fish and even camp. Encompassing the San Gabriel Mountains, terrain ranges from desert to dense forest. Perhaps one of the most visited sites is Mount Baldy, which is the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains at 10,064 feet. The 28-mile Gabrielino National Recreation Trail offers a variety of hikes, from moderate to challenging. Recent visitors loved the views and found the range of trail options perfect for different types of hikers.
Visitors to the Angeles National Forest must purchase a National Forest Adventure Pass. It’s $5 for a daily pass or $30 for an annual pass; the pass is good at other national forests in the area. There are visitor and information centers in different areas of the forest, which offer general information, activities and education events. Visit the forest's website for specific hours and details.
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#1 Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park
Griffith Observatory sits on the south face of Mount Hollywood and overlooks the Los Angeles basin. Its location gives visitors impressive views of the surrounding area, which many rave about. But there's more than just a pretty photo-op here. The observatory hosts fascinating exhibitions and features a top-notch planetarium.
Most recent visitors cited the beautiful setting as Griffith Observatory's main draw, though the free entry was certainly a bonus. However, you will have to pay between $3 and $7 to see the planetarium shows. Griffith Observatory is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on weekends. Free but limited parking is available along the winding roads leading up to the property, or visitors can park in the small lot by the observatory for $10 per hour. A gift shop and cafe can be found on-site as well. For more information, check out Griffith Observatory's website.
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