5 Long Beach area hikes to get your New Year off on the right foot

New Year’s Day is a perfect occasion to get outside and explore nature.

One bit of advice: Get out early, as it’s a popular hiking day.

Here’s 5 hikes in or within 30 minutes of Long Beach to start off 2022:

Dominguez Gap Wetlands 

286 W. Del Amo Blvd., Long Beach

This is an easy hike through a 37-acre flood control basin, which, thanks to millions in upgrades, now sustains year-round habitat for plants and wildlife. There’s plenty to do for various forms of transportation: an equestrian trail, bike paths and walkways, all along the Los Angeles River.

For more information, click here.

The Dominguez Gap Wetlands, hidden on the eastern edge of the LA River Bike Path, shoved between Wardlow on the south and Del Amo at the north. Photo by Brian Addison.

The Dominguez Gap Wetlands, hidden on the eastern edge of the LA River Bike Path. Photo by Brian Addison.

Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve 

18000 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach 

You could spend an entire day here strolling along wetlands and bird-watching on the rolling (but mostly flat) trails in this reserve, just south of Long Beach in Orange County. This 1,300-acre coastal estuary includes a number of seabird nesting islands; more than 200 bird species have been identified here. Bring your camera.

For directions and more complete description of various hiking trails, visit here.

The entrance to Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Courtesy photo.

 El Dorado Nature Center

7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach 

The Nature Center is huge, with 105 acres of forest, two lakes, a stream and a ton of wildlife. Park at the main entrance and you’ll find 2 miles of dirt trails and a quarter-mile paved trail through the East Long Beach sanctuary.  It’s an easy, peaceful walk that’s suitable for kids, too.

Trails are open Tuesday to Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, including parking fees, click here.

Hiking trail at El Dorado Nature Center. Courtesy photo.

Hilltop Park 

2351 Dawson Ave., Signal Hill  

If you’re feeling a bit lazy, you can drive to the top of Signal Hill and park along residential streets near Hilltop Park and stroll around the paved “trail” and take in the view: Facing south, see the panoramic view of the Port of Long Beach, the THUMS Islands and even Catalina Island on a clear day. To the northwest, see Los Angeles skyline and snow-capped San Bernardino mountains.

If you want a more challenging workout, park at Signal Hill Park (2175 Cherry Ave.) and hike your way up to the top. The full Signal Hill Trail is about 1.7 miles. See a map here.  

File photo of Signal Hill after a recent rain storm. Photo by Stephen Carr.

File photo of Signal Hill’s Hilltop Park after a rain storm. Photo by Stephen Carr.

White Point Nature Preserve

1801 W. Paseo Del Mar, San Pedro 

Take the Vista Trail (just under a mile long) for a peek at Catalina Island on a clear day, and see restored wildflower grasslands (beautiful in the spring, too) and thousands of plants used to restore the property. At the top of the trail you’ll also find two 16-inch gun stations built in 1942 during World War II as part of the U.S. coastal defense system.

For a complete guide and description of the trails, click here.

White Point Nature Preserve. Courtesy photo.

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Melissa has been a journalist for over two decades, starting her career as a reporter covering health and religion and moving into local news. She has worked as an editor for eight years, including seven years at the Press Telegram before joining the Long Beach Post in June 2018. She also serves as a part-time lecturer at Cal State Long Beach where she teaches multimedia journalism and writing.
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