One of the best and most convenient hiking trails in Los Angeles is Fryman Canyon. The three mile trail is located off of Laurel Canyon on the Northern side of the Santa Monica mountains just south of Ventura Boulevard. The U shaped trail features a climb on both legs of the U with a plateau top at the summit. The opening of the U faces east, which means that one has to approach the summit from the west and climb eastward.
If one starts off at the Northern end of the U, one is immediately met with a curved and moderately sloped climb. After about a half a mile, the slope is still curved but eases a bit (this is a great feature of the trail because it allows for the hiker to catch his or her breath). After about 1.2 miles one reaches the first summit. It is a relatively jagged summit with no special markings. The second summit at around 1.6 miles (where one can find water, access to benches, and another trail) is flat. This is a great place to relax before the descent.
The descent is pretty steep for around another mile. The trail then proceeds in its descent through a quiet and upscale residential neighborhood with beautiful houses and gardens. One can then come full circle back to the start of the trail through this neighborhood of Studio City.
The trail is great for people and dogs. There are specific water fountains for dogs at the second summit and there are plenty of trash cans for their waste.
There is a small parking fee if one wants to use the parking lot. Free Parking can be found on Laurel Canyon Blvd.
So if you want to get in shape and experience a little nature that is close to home, come to Fryman Canyon.