Runyon Canyon stands out as the favorite hiking park in Hollywood. Social media comments rave about the trails, and because the southern entrances are only a couple of blocks from the commercial and residential streets of Hollywood many locals take advantage and just jog on over. Also, many Angelenos like the park because it offers trails with differing levels of difficulty: from a hard workout, or a medium effort, to an easy hike or finally (for the all the rest of us) a nice walk to an area where you can let Fido off leash.
I mentioned the dog area because my wife and I recently went for a stroll there with our two pug puppies. At first we were a little concerned because pugs by nature are clowns and tend to dash around willy-nilly. Our concern was that they might disappear into the brush and encounter a snake or misstep and go tumbling a couple hundred feet down a cliff. Fortunately they were distracted by a lot of pooches frolicking along with their human companions. The pugs, being very social animals, ran to each pet and sniffed and did all the necessary doggie things to say hi and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the park.
We chose a cool fall day for our hike and weather turned out to be perfect. We both loved the sweeping view of all the iconic sights: the Hollywood sign to the east, then Griffith Observatory, Hollywood in the foreground and the downtown skyline in the distance, then the Wilshire Corridor skyline and the Pacific Ocean far off in the southwest. The view alone makes the park a destination for a lot of tourists.
Now if you’re a hard-core outdoor person seeking peace and solitude in the thick woods-this isn’t it. This park has hiking trails cut through chaparral in a steep canyon-typical for this end of the Santa Monica Mountain Range. It’s so popular, Runyon Canyon gets good size crowds nearly every day. On the day we went the trails had a lots of hikers. That said, my wife and I met some very nice people, including regulars who gladly shared helpful facts with us. Everyone we met seemed to be in a talkative mood. We had a great time.
Another reason for the park’s popularity comes from being so close to Hollywood. You see, the park has a reputation as a place where you’ll probably see someone famous. But-We didn’t.
If you’ve never been to Runyon Canyon but not sure what to expect, here’s what you can choose from: The paved Runyon Canyon Road, the easy path, leads from Mulholland Drive at the north end of the park up and down through the middle to Fuller Ave at the south end. If you want a challenging trail take the perimeter paths on western-most side (stay on the trail to the north end close to Mulholland entrance) then loop back down on the eastern-most trail (you can go either way). Overall, it’s about three mile loop and very steep. For medium level trails there are shorter loops in the middle of the park. There the hiking routes aren’t nearly as long or steep as that big loop.
I’m sure by now you understand that the park happens to be quintessential LA: Lots of sunshine, lots of athletic young people working out, beautiful views, and a chance to see and be seen. But before you head out to Runyon Canyon click on this website: lamountains.com. Then check out the hiking and safety tips-especially if you’re a newbie hiker. In spite of being close to Hollywood and the crowds of hikers, the Runyon Canyon happens to be in a wilderness area. (See the map below). That said, go have a good time. Be sure to take your camera.
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Looking for more hiking and biking ideas? Check out my earlier posts for favorite trails:
Looking for hiking and biking trails close to your home?
Get out and treat yourself and the kids to a pleasant Morning, afternoon or even a day. To find trails in your neighborhood, for you as well as the family, go to my page: The Ultimate Guide to Los Angeles Hiking Trails!