Work It Out: Hiking

Here in LA it has been unseasonably warm, sorry rest of the country, so it’s perfect weather for hiking. For the past two weeks I have been on holiday break from work and so, have tried to get out and hike as much as possible before returning to my desk. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like dodging out of control dogs and their absentee owners, horse manure, and wannabe d-listers so the ever so trendy Runyon and Hollywood Sign hike are not for me. I like to find a little peace and quiet and actually enjoy the scenery. My favorites have to be:

Fryman Canyon: Trail Head at Laurel Canyon and Fryman Canyon. Parking is easy at the Willacre Park parking lot ($3) or a little tougher on the street (free). Follow the Betty B. Dearing trail up as you climb towards Mulholland and Coldwater. From there it’s all down hill, or you can take an educational adventure through the Tree People‘s trails. The Tree People is an environmental organization that plants trees in LA, and is also a field trip staple for anyone who grew up in LA, so I get a little sentimental every time I walk past. Added bonus: there is also free parking located here if you want to start and end at the top. From there, continue on the Betty B. Dearing trail until you hit Iredell Ln and that road will take you right back to Fryman Canyon/The Willacre Park lot. If you want to add a bit more of adventure, instead of continuing down Iredell, take the second half of the Betty B. Dearing Trail up and right. This trails is a bit more “unkept” especially though “the rainforest.” Continue on this trail as it twist and turns and you end up at the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook at Mulholland and Allenwood. There is also a parking lot (free) there too!

Nike Missile Station: This hike is one of my favorites because it’s the jumping off point for a whole system of trails. I like to park (free) at the trailhead at Mulholland and Encino Hills Drive. Many people like to drive the mile up to the Nike Missile Station where many other trails connect but the dirt road is riddled with potholes. Also, they miss the first hiking option in this choose your own adventure hike. The Upper and Lower Canyonback trail is a short flat hike that is great if you just have an hour or two. The trail for part of it is actually two trails that are side by side so you can choose to stay on the flat fire road or climb up and down some steep hills to get a better view. The trail leads right into the exclusive Mountaingate community (you can also park here for free too) and then back out south as you continue down towards Brentwood. The second hike option is to hike up to the Nike Missile Station and take the Mandeville Canyon Fire Road to the end and back. This approximately 7 mile hike is a bit harder than the Canyonback trail but the views are well worth it. Can’t decide? Take the Hollyhock Fire Road connector and do both to make a loop. But a caveat, this trail is all hill so it’s not easy. Next on my list are to try some of the other trails in this system: Sullivan Canyon Loop, Farmer Fire Road, Switchback Trail, Caballero Canyon Trail, Maryvale Trail, Temescal Fire Road, Topanga Fire Road etc…. Check out google maps and map your own trail. If you have a bike or extra stamina, there are trails that can even take you to the beach!

Safety tip: Watch out for snakes when it’s getting hot and coyotes when it’s getting dark. I can go for miles without seeing a person so be aware of your surroundings and maybe take a buddy with you—especially if you can run faster than they can… Happy hiking!

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