Runyon Canyon is the Disneyland of Los Angeles’ nature parks. The parks proximity to Hollywood, relatively moderate terrain, and views make it a popular destination for tourist who want to take in the area and locals who are looking to bathe in the LA sun. The trails are great for running and hiking, as well as dog walking.
What Makes It Great
Runyon is a canyon in the Hollywood Hills on the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains. The mouth of the canyon, and trailheads, begin in the heart of Hollywood and then the trails lead up the ridge, terminating at Los Angeles’ most famous road- Mulholland Drive. To be more exact, the trailheads start a block from Franklin Avenue and two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard; this is in the center of Hollywood. The location is great for any dreamers who want to imagine them living in one of the mansions that are in the adjacent hills.
The trails are variable – from wide-open, manicured fire roads to steep single-track. Runyon Canyon Park is only approximately 1.5 miles long, so if you are training for any type of racing this is an ideal spot to go and do some interval training on the short, steep hills.
The best single-track climb goes along the western flank of the canyon. From Franklin Avenue, drive up North Vista Street and park in a safe residential spot before the street terminates at the hillside. Walk up Vista Street towards the hill and take the only available right turn at Runyon Canyon Road (where Vista ends at the hill, Runyon starts on the right). Pass the two or three residences, then enter through the gate – now you’re in the park. After 50 feet or so, there will be a trail that crosses Runyon Canyon Road. You can either stay on this main fire road that takes you all the way to the top or turn left onto the single-track trail, which also goes through the top. It is advisable to climb the single-track and descend the fire road. This unnamed single-track trail is generally a straight shot to the top, but with a few small intersections that only lead back down. Whenever you are at one of these small intersections, simply keep climbing. Both the fire road and single-track are approximately 1.4 miles long and both have wonderful views throughout the climb.
Who is Going to Love It
If you are a transplant to Los Angeles, this area is a great spot to stop and look at perspective. The views of downtown and Hollywood make you remember the uniqueness of this place. Locals love this place because of its ease of access, making it a great spot to meet with friends and catch up.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From the CA-101 Freeway, exit at Cahuenga Boulevard and head south on Cahuenga. After 0.2 miles, turn right onto Franklin Avenune. After a half mile, Franklin is interrupted by Highland Avenue: go left on Highland, then take the first right to get back onto Franklin Avenue. Stay on Franklin for another 0.8 miles, then turn right onto North Vista Street. Park in a unrestricted residential spot, then hike up Vista until it turns right at the hillside, this right turn is the beginning of Runyon Canyon Road – the park gate is just ahead.