Monday, July 22, 2013
Hike 2013.040 -- Griffith Observatory to Ferndell to Bat Caves and Back
I started my hike from the Griffith Observatory. Getting there is pretty straightforward, and you can google those directions easily. Also, on weekends, there's a 50-cent DASH bus you can catch from the Sunset and Vermont Red Line station up to the Observatory
As you approach the Observatory from the north, you may notice a trail comes up from the left.
In the upper reaches of Ferndell, you've got a dry "stream" bed, flanked by trees. I'll have to come back again in the winter/spring to see if any water flows up here then. Because of the small watershed, I'm assuming not.
Earlier in the season, the water flowed nicely and the waterfalls fell. Now, it pretty much stays a trickle, and the smell of wet mud is strong.
Despite the low water, it was still a relaxing walk down here. A scattering of golden leaves on the water, coupled with the atypical (for July) clouds (which even dropped some water on my head on this segment of the hike), made it feel almost fall-like.
There's a cafe down near Ferndell, in the Park, but just a bit north of the watered portion of the trail, I think. I haven't explicitly gone to look for it, but maybe one of these days.
My first hike in Griffith Park actually started right here, in Camp Hollywoodland. That was an amazing three years ago.
Someone was exploring the caves (or, actually, just standing by the entrance, staring at the wall), so I just snapped a few pictures from a distance and walked on to the north. There's a pretty serious ridge that way, and I was thinking maybe there'd be a shortcut from there back to the Observatory.
At Mulholland Trail, a left turn there would take you towards Mt. Lee and the Hollywood Sign. A right, on the other hand, would take me back to the Observatory. I went right. A 1/4 mile later, I reached Mt. Hollywood Drive.
Today, I decided to stay on Mt. Hollywood Drive. It's paved, which means bicyclist can come flying by you at 30 mph or more. It's also tougher on the hiking boots. But I took the "high road" the last few times this way, so it was time for a change of pace.
About six miles for the day. Skip the little adventure up the ridge near Bronson Caves, and everything else is on wide dirt- or paved-road. No reason why a youngster who's able to walk significant distances couldn't do this trail. Also, dogs are allowed, though they should be leashed and picked up after. The leashed part is particularly important if you come across equestrians.