Runyon Canyon Park is a 130 acre park two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard, just west of the 101 Hollywood Freeway extending north to Mulholland Drive. There are entrances on Fuller Avenue, Vista Street, and off Mulholland. Since 1983 when it was acquired by the City of Los Angeles with a grant from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, it has been managed by the City of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation as an 'Urban Wilderness.' It is a rare example of wild chaparral with its drought-resistant evergreen trees and shrubs only a stone's throw from the hustle and bustle of the Hollywood community.
The park has a wide fire road running up from the Vista entrance, as well as more demanding trails taking the walker up to a number of magnificent viewpoints: from these the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory can be seen to the east; downtown (7 miles away to the south east); Park La Brea and Wilshire Boulevard (3 miles) and the Baldwin Hills which obscure LAX 11 miles away, are all due south. The Pacific Ocean (12 miles) and Catalina Island can be seen on clear days to the south west. Nearer at hand, Sunset Strip and the Pacific Design Center can all be spotted with Century City behind them, as well as the Hollywood and Highland Mall with the white elephants on the roof, the Capital Records building, and the Chinese Theatre, all on Hollywood Boulevard.
Walks and Trails There are three ways to enter Runyon Canyon; two entrances at the bottom of the park in the South, and one at the top, in the North.
When entering at the bottom of the canyon the walker can choose to go round clockwise or counter-clockwise. Going clockwise involves gradually climbing up as one makes ones way towards the back of the canyon, swinging round to the east ridge to Clouds Rest and then coming down the steep slope and steps to Inspiration Point, before taking up the central fire road back down to the Fuller Ave entrance. Going counter-clockwise is a much more energetic climb up the steps and steep slopes between Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest, before the long and gentle road back down. Allow between 30-45 minutes for these routes.
Entering from Mulholland there are a couple of short hikes up Indian Rock to the highest point in the canyon with 360-degree views including the valley to the North. The alternative route follows the fire road round the rock and splits off towards the Western High Way or goes towards Clouds Rest and a choice of circuits.
There is the western trail which, from the southern approach at Vista, starts just inside the secondary gates (where dogs can be let off their leashes) and takes the hiker along the spine of the ridge to the second highest point in the canyon with magnificent views to the West and South. This is a considerably more taxing climb than the previous routes described and if followed by a descent via either the fire road or the eastern ridge route will take between 60-90 minutes. Taking in Indian Rock will add another 10-20 minutes.
There is another lesser-known route through the bottom of the canyon which starts by the sharp bend in the lower fire road. From here just follow the path past the ruins and over the foundation slab and then along what would once have been the river bed and eventually you will emerge at the bend at the back of the canyon before the final rise up to Clouds Rest. The last bit of this route is a bit of a scramble but most of the rest of it is less strenuous than the climb between Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest.
Directly opposite where the Lower Canyon Trail joins the fire road, there is another steep hike over the Middle Rock which comes out by the electricity pylon just south of Indian Rock, and to the right is another river bed walk which brings you out just north of the Lloyd Wright house.
Directions: South entrance -- Hollywod Fwy (101) to Highland Avenue. South to Franklin Ave. West on Franklin to Fuller, north on Fuller to dead end. Park on street. North Entrance -- 2.6 miles east of Laurel Canyon Blvd. on Mulholland Drive.
Franklin Ave to Palmero Road, Los Angeles
Phone: (213) 485-5572