Griffith Park was founded and grew in notoriety under peculiar circumstances. Colonel Griffith J. Griffith purchased the property and started an ostrich farm with the hopes enticing development, as the public perception was that the previous owner haunted the land. After shooting his wife and getting released from prison, Griffith J. Griffith set to establishing the park by building an observatory, amphitheater, and a series of camps, but his money was refused due to his felonious behavior. Eventually these dreams did come to fruition, but it happened after D.W. Griffith (no relation) began filming in the location and Griffith J. Griffith died. It’s an ugly story, but the park is quite lovely!
What Makes It Great
Mt. Hollywood in Griffith Park is the consistent presence to many local cyclists’ routine. This closed off road is where local racers go to do interval training or a space for new riders to start climbing for the first time. The road is a short 700’ climb with no vehicle traffic brings you to the peak adjacent to the famous Hollywood sign.
Mount Hollywood is so heavily trafficked by cyclist because it a through way that connects two parts of the park. A lot of cyclists enter the park via the bike path along the LA River on its northern margin. Once in the park, the most enjoyable route to the southern section is through Mt. Hollywood. The climb starts at the corner of Griffith Park Drive and Mt. Hollywood Drive. Once you pass the gate blocking off cars, you begin to snake around the mountainside. There are three sections to this climb: a moderate bottom, followed by a rolling middle section, while the final phase is a twisty climb that gets steeper as you ascend. Without auto traffic the city does not maintain the road surface meticulously, which makes for some interesting ride line choices and a few gravelly sections, but overall the surface is pleasant.
Once you summit, the road descends down towards the observatory. If you want to climb more, descend the 1.7 miles to the Observatory Road, then turn right onto Western Canyon Road. This will take you down another fun descent, but, unlike Mt Hollywood, this road is pristine and has views of downtown with the observatory in the foreground.
Who is Going to Love It
If you love short, punchy climbs that take you to international landmarks, then this is for you. The views of the Hollywood sign, the Griffith Observatory, downtown, and the Pacific Ocean are endless. This is a great spot to go and ride without the stress of auto traffic so you can really focus on the experience and act of riding.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the 5 Freeway, exit at Los Feliz Boulevard, and head southwest. Take the first right onto Crystal Springs Drive; there is a parking lot on the right. Ride up Crystal Springs for 1.5 miles, turn left onto Griffith Park drive (3rd stop sign). Ride for 1.9 miles on Griffith park drive then turn onto Mt. Hollywood Drive(also the 3rd stop sign); this is a short climb that is known as Trash Truck Hill.