Hiking Hollywood

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Three days in L.A.! Barely enough time to explore the city where our daughter will be attending college in the fall. Usually when we spend time on the West Coast, we make a bee-line for the beaches and don’t stray too far until its time to head back to the airport. Determined to master the intimidating freeways, we ventured into the city, enjoying the landmarks that are so familiar from years of watching television sitcoms and movies. Surprisingly, the most enjoyable part of our trip was a sweaty three and a half mile work-out on the Hollywood Hills. We literally stumbled upon the trail when we were searching for the best way to view the iconic Hollywood sign, and decided to return the next morning instead of facing the claustrophobic hotel gym. It’s not too challenging a hike, and the views were well worth the breathless moments and aching muscles.

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Looking as though he’s about to enter a fantasy, the youngest hiker on the trail was still trucking when we passed him on our way down.

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A beautiful valley of textures and colors.

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It’s a rare moment to turn and find one of the athletes in the family trailing behind me.

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There were plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the landcape.

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The horse tours were unexpected, but we were glad to share the trail.

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It wasn’t until we were near the top that we discovered the horse source.

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On top of planet earth.

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We didn’t have time to make it to the tippy top, where there are 360 degree views of the city and the Hollywood reservoir.  If you’re interested in a great hike when you’re in Los Angeles, enter 3000 Canyon Lake Drive  on Map Quest or google maps to get driving directions.  Canyon Lake eventually dead ends into a playground area where there is a large parking lot, with extra parking along the street.  This hike is challenging enough to call it a workout and can be accomplished in a couple of hours in the morning, leaving plenty of time to get into a little L.A. mischief after lunch.

63 comments

  • The best TV show about California – lots of episodes on YouTube – is California’s Gold with Huell Howser. He did an entire half hour show about the Hollywood sign. It is such an interesting story. Episodes are also available on DVD on his website online. Your daughter will have an incredible time!

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    • I know a teeny bit about the Hollywood sign. Installed by developers and years later, left in disrepair and almost razed. I’m intrigued by the area’s history and would love to check out Howser DVDs. Thanks for the tip!

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  • Elisa! These photographs are wonderful. You’ve mastered the “new look” that isn’t quite HDR, but it’s sophisticated and fresh. I like the processing and especially your choice of subject, framing, and “vistas” here. We get a real feel for the topography, but we get details too. This is really well done. You’ll hike many of the trails while baby cheeks is in school, I suspect. Why didn’t Kelli go somewhere interesting to school? Rats! πŸ™‚

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    • Thanks for always checking out the details, George. It really was a beautiful spot with interesting terrain. So beautiful that it would have been difficult to take a bad shot! And yes, rather than feeling abandoned by my daughter attending school in California, I’m so thrilled for her that my head is spinning. Poor kid will be tired of me planning constant visits!

      Take care,
      Elisa

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  • I have been trying to find a hike to see the Hollywood sign, I even went to Griffith Park which is supposed to get there, but there were so many trails I got confused and left! I will head over to Canyon Lake Drive, thanks!

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    • It was a good workout, still a little sore to be honest. Unexpected is the perfect description, I usually don’t think of LA as a hikers paradise, but it turns out that it is!

      Have a wonderful day, Meg.

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  • Spectacular views from the top. Trailing behind, the athletes in the family are like that. πŸ™‚

    It must be an exciting time to have a young one ready to start college, and clear across the country.

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  • I grew up in that mess, and left it as soon as I could. Moved east, where I stayed for 34 years. Loved it.
    So I’m always surprised when somebody shows me LA in a way I really never saw it. I appreciate that.
    And when I return to visit my family there, I zip along the freeways like always. Guess you had to grow up there to NOT be intimidated by them! Now the tangled streets of Boston? There’s some frightening stuff, especially on a bike πŸ˜‰

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    • It’s funny, I’ve been prepared to dislike LA, but the more I visit, the more I fall in love. What surprises me most are the people. I was expecting a city of cold, shallow people on the take, yet I’m constantly overwhelmed by everyone’s warmth and kindness. Now the freeways and traffic? Forget about it! Awful, and I used to live in D.C.

      Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to wear your helmet.
      πŸ˜‰

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  • How lovely to be able to hike up there, Elisa. I’ve been down at the bottom, and photographed the sign, but never gave a thought to the fact that one could actually climb up there. Well done to you. πŸ™‚

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    • Evidently the Hollywood Hills are heavy with hiking trails. I like getting the exercise while we vacation, it gives me a chance to work off the calories from eating out so much!

      I hope you had a great day,
      Elisa

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  • Your photos make it look like a beautiful place! I grew up there, left just after high school. Funny, I hiked and rode my bike everywhere but never made that particular hike, didn’t even know it was there! Maybe if I am ever forced at gunpoint to go back to the valley I will make a point of doing the hike πŸ˜‰ Get your daughter some pepper spray. xoxo

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    • Funny! You’re the fourth person who’s told me they grew up in LA and had never heard of this hike, but you are the first one who has told me to get my daughter some pepper spray! Probably wise advise. Although living in Atlanta, we probably should have owned a canister by now…

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  • Great photos!
    Are you okay with your daughter being so far away?? It’s gonna be tough on you, you know. My son went to Princeton in NJ and that was just too far. After that, we didn’t give our daughter much of a choice….nothing further than 4 hours. She chose UGA which worked out well…in state tuition. πŸ˜‰
    Let me know if you need a shoulder to cry on after she leaves. I’m serious!

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    • You’re becoming my number one supporter of life crises! But to be honest, I am okay with her attending school all the way on the west coast, and do you know why? Because I intend to visit her regularly, and get to know Southern California while I’m doing it! Our son goes to school at Indiana University, and really it hasn’t been so bad. Actually, his first year of school was much harder on my husband….maybe that’s why I have to be the strong one! There are so many non-stop flights everywhere from the giant Harstfield, that it’s made it kind of easy. Talk to me in six months and you’ll know if I need the giant box of tissues. πŸ™‚

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  • What a wonderful look at Hollywood for someone who’s never likely to go… and what an unlikely look too. Amazing vistas and scenery… lovely post, Elisa thank you-

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    • Isn’t that an interesting aspect of blogging. To have the opportunity to see places that one wouldn’t ordinarily have the time to visit. Sometimes I sigh when I visit the travel blogs!

      Take care,
      Elisa

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  • Lovely post and it did bring back memories of the time we were in LA and went on a conducted tour of Hollywood and the Rich & the Famous. Sadly we couldn’t manage to get a great glimpse of the Hollyhood sign so really enjoyed the description of your trek.We had a ball though when our coach driver would lower his glass at street junctions and loudly ask folks on the pavements whether they were famous.

    Cheers

    Shakti

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    • Oh, that sounds like a fun moment. It sounds like your drive knew how to have a great time with everybody. I hope you’re able to return to see the iconic sign, it sounds silly, but its exciting when you get your first glimpse!

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  • Glad to see that you enjoyed my neck of the woods. I love that hiking trail, and Hollywood Lake is a great place to run. But you are right about the one in Malibu and Pacific Palisades … they have awesome views. Your daughter is going to love it out here … well love everything except the traffic. If she’s going to UCLA watch out that 405 is killer. I try to avoid it whenever possible, if she’s a Trojan she’ll have better luck. Wherever she goes the beach is always 20-30 minutes away πŸ™‚

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    • I never expected to love LA so much. The beaches and the hiking are a plus, but I’ve found most people to be very open and friendly. My daughter will be attending USC this fall, and I’ve already figured out that taking I-10 to Vermont Avenue is the fastest route from Santa Monica. Who knows, maybe I’ll pass you along a hiking trail in the next four years! Thanks for visiting.

      Take care,
      Elisa

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