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Skip the Black Friday shopping and hike in one of these 8 places instead

Skip the Black Friday shopping and hike in one of these 8 places instead
Leave the shopping frenzy behind on Black Friday. Take a ranger-led walk in Griffith Park (shown here) and other places in Southern California on Friday. (Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will flee the craziness of frantic shopping and do something pretty simple: spend a day outside.

That's the thinking behind REI's campaign to #optoutside. The outdoor retailer for a second year is closing its stores nationwide and challenging America to make a connection with the outdoors instead of indoor malls.

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Take a hike or bike ride, go paddling or surfing, explore a garden, whatever, it all counts. You can upload your photos and experiences at REI's "Tell the World" page — and see where others are going too.

Need some inspiration? REI has a handy Get Outside page that recommends trails in your area when you pop in your ZIP Code.

The Modern Hiker website also is a good resource for crafting an adventure with lists of best trails to try in Los Angeles and the surrounding area.

If you don't want to go it alone, take advantage of free ranger-led hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains on Friday.

You can bring the whole family for a workout on the trails from 10 a.m. to noon. Choices include:

A 2-mile hike in Griffith Park, on the eastern end of the mountains near Hollywood;  a 3½-mile hike starting at Circle X Ranch in the mountains above Malibu in Ventura County; and a 3½-mile hike at the more urban Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook in Culver City.

Get more adventure ideas at the Things to Do section of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area's website.

The local Angeles Chapter Sierra Club also sponsors free volunteer-led hikes on Friday that are open to all.

For a daylong workout, consider a slow to moderately paced 10-mile Post Pumpkin Pie hike to Mt. Lukens, the highest point (5,075 feet in elevation) within the city of L.A.

Or take a 5-mile evening hike in Topanga State Park that climbs uphill to catch views of Santa Monica Bay. It starts at 6:45 p.m.

For a more flowery experience, check out trails at the Huntington gardens in San Marino ($23 for adults), Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge ($9 for adults) and the L.A. County Arboretum & Botanic Garden (also $9 for adults) in Arcadia.

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