Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hike 8- Griffith Park Backcountry

I have been looking to hike to the Hollywood sign for some time and having spent several days chillin out at the Griffith Park Observatory over the last few months, I thought I had some good hikes lined up starting from the Charlie Turner Hollywood Trail that intersects with the GPO parking lot.

I also did this hike solo, which I haven't done in awhile. I was looking forward to a day alone on the trail, but like many trails in LA City proper, the trails were wide and already teeming with people at 9:25 in the morning. It quickly became clear to me I could either choose the "canoe route" (wide trails lots o' people)

or the "kayak the rapids" route.

This picture sums up the choice nicely.

So what did I decide to do? Of course the kayak route! One tip for kayak routes in the Griffith Park backcountry, if you see a drainage pipe sticking up weirdly from the ground, follow that trail.

I started my ascent to the observation outlook via a pretty steep trail and was really pushing myself.

Of course, as I am huffing and puffing my way to the top, I see a lot of other people not even breaking a sweat taking the canoe route. Still, the views were pretty killer.

Being on a very high hill/mountain, it affords you a bird's eye view of the backcountry of Griffith Park which really peaked my interest. There are 3 smaller hills/mountains that are decidedly on the kayaker trail side of things and follow a sorta ridge-line to the Hollywood sign so I paused for 2 seconds

and started down into the backcountry. As soon as I got onto the first trail for the first hill/mountain, I was all by self by lone. It was amazing, you went from tons of people to just you. I made pretty good time on two of the hills/mountains but climbing up the third, I was struggling.

It had been awhile since I hiked at a fast clip and I overexerted myself. I went too fast instead of at my own rhythm. This was a good reminder to me to only push when necessary, otherwise, enjoy the solitude!

Another interesting part of this hike and the main reason I recommend it, is the variety of terrains amongst the three mountains (yes, I have now decided, sitting on my couch and writing this, that they were mountains) was so varried. One was typical SoCal canyon cave-in on the middle of the trail, one was a lush Texas-like grassland with tight trees and one was rock central.

On several summits there are cool little survey stones from the 50s. which may have been part of a US Coast and Geodetic Survey, but I have absolutely nothing to back that up.

Then it was continuing on the backcountry trail ridge to the Hollywood sign. I was definitely surprised when I got onto this ridgeline trail that there were so many hikers on it. It felt kinda like this.

Eventually the trail widens to the final Hollywood sign ascent.

The Hollywood sign is one of my favorite bon mots about LA since it was originally "Hollywoodland" and an advertisement for a housing development underneath the sign. So did I make it? Here's a hint.

The sign overlooks the Hollywood Reservoir which many people don't get the chance to see.

I then hiked back on a looooong canoe trail back (poorly signed btw- I was glad I had a compass) since my dogs were tired. Still, the views were pretty kicking.

Overall, if you are looking for a walk with beautiful LA vistas, go on the canoe hike. If you are looking for a sometime challenging hike with very few people around you, check out the kayak trails.

Some info in case you go:

Overview of the Charlie Turner Trail:

A great look at the Reservoir:

And I already have my next hike lined up!


  1. Nice pix - sure was a good day for a hike at Griffith!

  2. It was! Maybe I saw you on a trail there at some point (squint at my pics- maybe you are there! :)).


Design by BlogSpotDesign | Ngetik Dot Com