An accessible, just-under four mile loop in Griffith Park to the peak of Mount Hollywood. On a clear day, this hike will give you tremendous views of the L.A. basin and nearby Griffith Observatory, and its short length belies some genuinely sweat-inducing stretches of incline. A great little hike in the heart of Griffith Park.
Griffith Park is a great resource for L.A. hikers – both for training hikes and for quick escapes when you don’t have time to make it out for a longer trek. This route up to Mount Hollywood is short and can be done in around 90 minutes if you’re making good time – but features enough of an incline that you’ll feel like you got a good workout along the way.
This hike starts on Vermont Avenue, right near the Greek Theater. Park and walk along the east side of Vermont until you see a broad path heading up from the street. Look for a trash can and a large sign warning you about rattlesnakes (they like to sun out on the fire roads, especially on hot summer days).
For now, ignore the use trail and continue straight for about another 0.5 miles, where you will reach yet another north-south route through Aberdeen Canyon. Once again, ignore the use trails and keep on the main trail, which you’ll be able to recognize because it’s the only one that has a steep incline.
Now … get ready for the workout portion of the hike – for the next 0.72 miles, you’ll be ascending nearly 400 feet along a completely shadeless ridge, making your way toward Mount Hollywood.
It’s not technically difficult, but on a hot, sunny day this stretch could definitely make you winded. Just take it easy and enjoy your workout and views.
At the 2.2 mile mark, the ridge-walking Bridle Trail comes to a junction with a north-south fire road near a small, shaded garden called Dante’s View. The Garden here is named for Dante Orgolini, an Italian artist and journalist who moved to the United States in 1926. He attended Boston University, received a degree in art, and was planning on heading to Brazil after finishing a few murals for the Santa Barbara Courthouse but instead settled in Los Angeles to cover the entertainment industry for the Brazilian newspaper A Noite. Living in Los Feliz, he took to exploring Griffith Park in his spare time, and with the help of fellow hikers and park rangers, he carved out this garden that now carries his name. Dante maintained the garden for years as a volunteer, succeeded by a fellow longtime volunteer named Charlie Parker (the Charlie Parker Trailhead near the Observatory and Berlin Forest is named in Parker’s honor).
Enjoy a bit of rare shade or some water from the nearby fountain (there’s a little dog dish for four-legged hikers, too).
Once you’re done enjoying the views (or the haze), return to Dante’s View the way you came up. If you’re feeling adventurous, there is also a use-trail shortcut near the southernmost point of Mount Hollywood’s summit on the eastern side of the promontory.
Either way you decide to descend, once you get to the trail just below the summit of Mount Hollywood, when you reach the five-way junction it may seem a bit confusing. When you’re looking south from this junction, you’ll see this:
Hike south back along Vermont Avenue to the trailhead and you’re good to go!
He has also been featured on Good Morning America, NPR, and the Associated Press, as well as in documentaries for Columbia Sportswear and the OTIS College of Art and Design.
Casey is currently writing a book on day hikes in Los Angeles for Mountaineers Books.
This post was written by Casey Schreiner on May 17, 2012