Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hike 2012.062 -- Mt. Lee from Canyon Lake Drive

Hiked Monday, September 3. I was originally thinking of something very ambitious for my Labor Day hike. However, some errands developed that made taking a whole day to hike infeasible. Instead, I settled for a short little jaunt to Mt. Lee. This time, started from Canyon Lake Drive.

The directions to the trailhead are the same as for my Hollywood Reservoir hike, except that, when reaching Tahoe Drive, instead of parking, head on up that road less than 1/4 of a mile, then make a left at Canyon Lake Drive. In about 1/8 of a mile, Canyon Lake Drive will deadend, just after Innsdale Drive. Park near that intersection. Do not block the gate, obviously.

On the Tom LaBonge Griffith Park map, my hike began just to the right of the grey "Lake Hollywood" lettering that signifies the Lake Hollywood neighborhood (as opposed to the white lettering that indicates the actual reservoir). I walked the gold dotted line, then the short white road segment, then another gold dotted line, then the grey and white dashed segment of Mt. Lee Drive, on to the top of Mt. Lee.

On the ground, your hike begins when you cross the white swinging vehicle gate at the top of Canyon Lake Drive, and begin a walk on a dirt road. There are several fairly close views of the Hollywood Sign from near here. There are also "Restricted Entry" signs, which are there to remind you not to try to get too close to the Hollywood Sign. Walking on the dirt road is fine, however.

After about 1/4 of a mile, the trail dumps you on to Mulholland Drive. (Pay attention to the house you just came out from beside, because, on my return trip, I completely blew by the trail and headed down Mulholland several hundred yards before deciding that none of this looked familiar at all. Then I went a little bit further on purpose, to get a nice overview of Hollywood Reservoir Park). Continue up Mulholland as it bends and narrows and becomes partially dirt and weaves around some homes and private properties. Signs warn you to stay on the road or be guilty of trespassing. Views of the Hollywood Sign are good here, too.

Once past the weave and back on pavement, you soon run into a gate. A narrow (public) walkway bypasses the gate, on the left. It's not obvious if you're not looking for it.

Now back on pavement, you face another gate. This gate, which marks the boundary of Griffith Park, also has a narrow public walkway on its left. Ease around that walkway, and now you're in Griffith Park.

On my return trip, I actually forgot where the second walkway around the gate was, and headed down the hill a hundred yards or so, before realizing this clearly wasn't the way I had come. Obviously, I'm not a very good urban hiker, because things like gates, sidewalks and driveways confuse me.

Assuming you've found both gate bypasses and got into Griffith Park, you're now where I was near the end of one of my short hikes from the Observatory ended. From here, it was all trail I had covered before: Mt. Lee Drive on up to Mt. Lee (behind the Hollywood Sign). I'd estimate it/s 1.25 to 1.5 miles and about 500 feet up from here to the top of 1680' Mt. Lee.

I've been this way several times, including up to the top of the Hollywood Sign three times before. Here's my visit from early June. A few weeks later, I went right by here again, to get to Cahuenga and Burbank Peaks. And, of course, my first time up here was about two years previous.

One thing I haven't had a lot of luck with on these hikes is coming on a clear day. Today was no exception. Smoke from the Williams Fire obscured my view to the north. Typical marine layer haze, plus the smog and smoke, limited my view to the north. So, no need to post any additional pictures of the view from Mt. Lee.

Total walking time was only about 90 minutes. About four miles round trip, I'd estimate. Definitely my easiest route to the top of Mt. Lee so far.

One interesting view I got heading up Mt. Lee Road was the wonderful view of the setting moon. Still nearly full, it looked a lot nicer to my eyes than it photographed. Just not much contrast between the pale surface of the moon and the blue-white sky of the horizon.

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