Friday, May 21, 2010

Hike 10: Camp Hollywoodland to Mt Lee

I hiked this back in January, but never did a writeup. However, I saw that Modern Hiker wrote this up recently, so that finally got me off the dime to write it up myself. Actually, it made it easier, because now I can just link to his post and stick in some of my own pictures!

The trailhead is at the top of Canyon Drive, which is a bit west of Vermont. I had a heck of a time finding Canyon and wound up driving by it several times. Once you do find it, you just drive as far as you can, then find someplace to park. If it's not too crowded, you can get relatively close to the gate. Otherwise, it's a bit of a walk.

Bronson Caves ("The Batcave") is accessible via a short detour--rather than heading "up canyon," in the direction of the road you just drove in on, cross the small bridge across a stream (it was a stream in January--it may be dry in the summer), pass through the gate that blocks this road, and walk about 1/4 mile until you see a large clearing on your left. The caves (actually, tunnels) are on the right side of this opening. If you pass through the tunnel (or walk around the mountain into which the tunnels were blasted), you can get a pretty good view of the Hollywood sign from here. Modern Hiker suggests being on the lookout for snakes in the cave. When I went, in January, you had to beware of the water that almost covered the tunnel floor.

The hike to the Hollywood sign is mostly along a dirt road. The description I had sent me off the road, but if I were to do it again, I'd just stay on the road. My way was probably longer and definitely slower than sticking on the road.

As is described on the linked post, this is a crowded hike. But nobody walks to the Hollywood sign with the hope of being alone. Nonetheless, there were times when you could be alone with your thoughts.

It's been so long, I don't remember if I had to take a detour to get the best views of the front of the sign. It's possible I had to walk past where you would turn up the paved hill and continued along the dirt road to get a view of the front of the sign.

Meanwhile, the trail to the top does loop around the back of Mt. Lee. On the last stretch, you've got a pretty good view of Burbank, Glendale, and Forest Lawn Cemetery.

From the top, you're looking at the sign from the back. Hollywood Reservoir is to your right. The Griffith Observatory is to your left. Beyond Griffith Observatory is Downtown L.A. Of course, the odds are pretty good that the haze will make Downtown a little tough to see (top picture in this post).

Modern Hiker gives a distance of about 6.5 miles roundtrip. Sounds about right. He also notes that there's not a lot of shade on this hike. Right, again. In the winter time, you're shaded on the final stretch up the paved road because it's on the north side of Mt. Lee. And if you're out early or late, the hills will shade parts of your hike. Otherwise, you're pretty exposed the whole way. On the bright side, it's a relatively level walk, except for the last bit, up the paved road to near the summit.

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME!!! ***I really need to get out more and hike some REAL trails to some cool places like this. I appreciate your comment on my blog and when I do come back here, i will follow your lead :)