Monday, January 23, 2012

Hiking Elysian Park And Coyotes

The last few weekends have been a little trying on my patience because schedules have caused me to hike less and not do some blowouts that I wanted to start the year with (up soon- Sandstone Peak and Sunset Peak). I eventually will get myself up and going on these bigger peaks but today's schedule only allowed for another amble around LA and this time it was Elysian Park which is right next to Dodger Stadium.

This hike was done a few weeks ago by LA Hiking Blogger Buddy Casey and he offers a full trip report here. What impressed me in his description of the hike and what I found on the trail is that despite being surrounded by urban areas and the 5 freeway, this trail is basically in the middle of nowhere and it feels it.

There is no direct trailhead sign so set your car GPS's to Stadium Way and Angels Point Road. You can leave your car across the street and then dodge traffic to the official start of the trail which looks like this:

The trail is pretty narrow, no canoe-fire road here. It starts to wind its way around the hillside

opening up the mountains to the North

(and the 5 freeway which makes sure that you know you aren't far from civilization).

What is amazing is despite the noise from humanity, you really see some cool shots of nature.

I entitle this piece of art "Civilization/Nature/Juxtaposition"

The trail is very remote. So remote that after heavy rains on Saturday morning and hiking on a Sunday, I did not see any human footprints in the mud. However, signs of humanity were everywhere, no more apparent than cut-around-herdpaths where the trail was still usable but partially washed out.

The trail is so desolate that as I rounded a corner, bam in the middle of the trail about 600 yards away was a coyote. Usually my rule of thumb is when there is one coyote, there are bound to be more around. I was in a quandary, here I was, 1/2 through the trip on this trail, did I really want to turn around and go back?

I retreated around the corner of the trail and gave a good 10 minutes of thought what to do. If it were a rattler or a bear no question, I am turning the other way. But a coyote? So, I picked up a big stick, that certainly wouldn't do anything if he actually started trouble but I always heard, make yourself bigger so that is what I was trying to do. I rounded the corner and he wasn't there but I knew he knew that I was there.

So I started down the trail saying, "hey coyote, hey coyote". I caught a glimpse of him through the trees above me. He was perched on a ridgeline above me looking at me through the trees. I kept my eye on him the whole way and as I got further away and had more perspective, it was clear he was just hanging out, sitting down and watching this crazy sounding rabbit with a stick stumble its way over its trail. A humbling experience.

What do you guys do when encountering wildlife on the trail? Would you keep hiking on that trail? Thoughts in the comments!

After my encounter with the coyote, I kinda rushed through the rest of the trail but it still is an awesome mix of trees, grass and a rugged little trail.

There were sadly other signs of humanity on the trail and you have to accept this type of thing while experiencing the rest of the trail.

Eventually you get to a large wall with a little herdpath up it. The trail continues on from this wall but at Modern Hiker's suggestion, I climbed up and over the wall. The way back to the trailhead is sadly walking over concrete as the road winds its way to Angel Point and down the other side of the hill to the trailhead.

My suggestion, if you climb over the wall, you come out on a road. Immediately head right and up and you will be heading in the right way. Eventually you see this gate on the left

This will be a cut through on a nice little path up the hill so you are not always on the concrete. To keep the loop going though, just follow the road. There are some nice little shots of nature along the way though.

There are also two other upsides of doing this part of the hike. The first is absolute amazing views of LA.

This is a great city and gives us outdoor folks a great base of operations but the city itself can be beautiful and this hike will get you right up in it.

Also, as you go along the roadway, you get to the turnoff for this neat little art installation that is a neat little resting place before ambling back to the trailhead.

Eventually you make your way down to street level. One suggestion on this part is to stay on the dirt side path because the road is windy and with cars going in both directions, you are better off on the side of the road rather than walking in the road.

When you see this, you are close to home.

The hike is about 2+ miles overall. If you want a little hike in the city but with a wild feel to it, do yourself a favor and check out this bad boy. Just make sure to bring your coyote stick.


  1. Elysian Park looks like a great place for a hiking trip indeed. I love to do this kind of adventure. The vandalism on those rocks is just disappointing.

  2. It's been a long, long journey. I just wanted to see whether I could get a nomination. And I've got one, I'm happy now and my work is done.

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