Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Hiking Mission Point
I have to admit something. I don't always feel like hiking. Gasp, I know right? Still on some Saturdays and/or Sundays I don't feel like getting up at the crack of dawn or spending a good part of my day tromping around the outdoors. Sometimes, I want to sleep in and eat pizza, ya know?
I was feeling this way this last Saturday when a couple hours came free in my midday schedule which seemed to set up perfectly for a hike. I was conflicted but I decided to quickly research a hike and do it anyway. I am totally glad I did and I highly suggest that if you are a fan of SoCal hiking, you do this short but sweet puppy.
Mission Point is part of the O'Melveny Park system in Granada Hills which is the second largest park in the LA area other than Griffith Park. I decided to do this hike as an out and back from Neon Way (which is an appropriate street name in LA). You could also do this as a loop hike from Bee Canyon but I read on a few sites that there is poison oak on the upper reaches of the Canyon so I decided not to go that way.
Neon Way is in a residential neighborhood and you step through the classic SoCal gate system that keeps out approximately no one. Then you start on the only flat part of the trail.
I ain't going to sugarcoat this puppy, it is uphill. There is elevation gain (Mission Point is at 2711 feet) but it is not severe as some of the mountain ranges in SoCal. Instead its the constancy of the uphill. It never stops, never gives up so just get used to it. There are benefits though.
First are the grassy hillside views.
And then you get to see LA and its mountains open up as you get higher
The trail itself was an old truck road which has been beaten down into a herdpath over the years.
There are also small kayak trails that crisscross through the park but I did not explore them. There is also a gas line that doubles as a herdpath that follows the main trail. It will shave off about a .5 mile from your overall hike but I am not sure if you can technically go on these paths. There are signs everywhere warning about the gas
and there are definitely areas that are off limits
so I am not sure if you should go on these things but no one is around to write you a ticket or taze you (which usually happens when you go off trail, right?)
Another great thing about the trail is the amount of natural beauty and man made items on this trail. The flowers were definitely out in force with great sun flowers
and these really cool purple flowers.
Humans also made their presence felt with numerous rock cairns.
After about 2 miles you come to a gate which signals the straight uphill portion of the hike.
If you are struggling with the uphill, the next section will be disheartening, SWITCHBACKS! I was hiking pretty strong this day so I wasn't too put out by switchbacks but man this trail packs some teeth!
The trail that you were on from Neon Way was technically the Sulfur Springs Trail and this switchback trail is technically the Three Trees Trail and at the crest you get the aforementioned trees and some nice shade. And also a box in a tree.
It is a knock knock box and you are supposed to knock or write on the paper they provide and ask for something and hopefully you will get it.
Then the final .10 mile push to the summit of Mission Point. There are 2 ways to go, the amble around and up to the summit on a wide, canoe trail or straight up on a rough and rumble kayak trail.
Guess which one I picked?
Yup, the rough and ready trail isn't too bad, just another nice workout for your calves. Its also a rather patriotic trail.
You get to the top and it is all worth it. All of LA County is laid out before you.
This is was really thrilling for me because after hiking around LA for the last year plus I was always wondering "what's that" when seeing far off peaks from the peak I was currently on. I love pouring over maps and of course when you are on a summit you can get a sense of other surrounding areas but this view from Mission Point really gives you an immediate sense of the topography of all of LA county and makes it clear where things fit in.
Also there were great views of my Verdugos.
It takes you 2.7 miles to get to the summit and surprisingly, its the same distance to get down. So a 5 mile hike awaits you but if you are a fan of hiking in LA you must do this hike if only to see what you have been hiking all these years from a great perspective.
If you are interested in doing the loop Nobody Hikes in LA has a good summary here:
Get out and enjoy this sucka!