Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hike 2014.053 -- Wildwood Canyon Park, Burbank

Not to be confused with Wildwood Canyon State Park, blogged here. Hiked Tuesday, October 15. Got to do a rare weekday hike, because I had a training day in Burbank that ended at 3pm. So the day before, I googled around and and also checked out Tom Harrison's Verdugo Hills map. Found a likely candidate and doubled checked on directions to the trailhead.

The trailhead was at Wildwood Canyon Park, in Burbank. From the Golden State Freeway (I-5), I took the Olive Avenue east, to Sunset Canyon Drive. I made at left at Sunset, and traveled to Harvard Road. I took Harvard to the end of the road and parked there.
At the end of the road, there's a gate. I walked past the gate and began my ascent. After a brief walk, the trail doubled back over itself and gave me nice views both up and down canyon. As I reached a bit of a pass, a small, steep trail headed back into the hills. Having not been here before, I wrongly assumed that was the trail.
In real-life, I should have continued over the crest a bit, to the actual trail, with a sign showing the trails in the area. That would have been slightly longer, but obviously less steep.

I was now pretty much running along another ridge, and the actual trail here is quite steep.

About a half-mile in front of you, you can see some radio towers that dot the crest of the Verdugo Hills.

I have only hiked in the Verdugos once before, but I also reached the crest then, too. It would have been in the winter, so it was greener. But, no matter what, this area is never too green.
It's chaparral, so it pretty much looks like Griffith Park or the lower altitudes of the San Gabriel Mountains. It's smaller than Griffith Park however, and, as far as I know, there is no permanent natural surface water. The drainage is too small to support any perennial water. I assume, then, that what ever wildlife resides in these hills must come down to the developed parks and homes for water.

It's a steep roughly one mile from the park to the crest of the Verdugo Hills. Once at the top, there's a wide dirt road that links the various peaks, many with small clusters of radio towers.
The view from up top can be nice, depending on the clarity. To the north and east are the San Gabriel Mountains. Deukmejian Park is also visible across the way. Parts of Glendale sit between you and those mountains.
There is also at least one of these nifty-looking reclining seats to relax on here at the ridge.
Looking the other way, it's Burbank and Glendale (again). The LA River is also visible, as is Silver Lake and Griffith Park.
From the crest of the Verdugos, I headed southeast a bit (1/2 mile or so), to reach Verdugo Peak. At 3126', it's the highest point in the range. It doesn't look much taller from the other peaks along the way, but, once on Verdugo Peak, you do know you're higher than everyone else.

I then backtracked my steps, covering about three miles for the day. It was a nice bonus: A weekday hike. I enjoyed the break from my workday. Even more of a bonus, it was a trail I had never covered before. Yes, even after nearly five years of at least moderately frequent hiking based in the San Gabriel Valley, I am still covering a number of new trails this year.

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