California Hiking Los Angeles

A virtual hike in “my” Griffith Park

I moved to L.A. exactly 2 years ago today. It’s been a fun ride so far.

From my apartment I have a view of Griffith Park, so naturally, 2 years ago when I moved here, my first exploration was into Griffith Park. I remember driving up to the Griffith Observatory and just being in awe. In awe of the marvelous view over sprawling Los Angeles. The weather was crisp and clear that day and I could see all the way to the ocean – no marine layer or smog was clouding the view. As I turned around I saw the Hollywood sign greeting me as if it was welcoming me to the city. I vowed that day to make Griffith Park “my” park and come up here to run and hike regularly.

During the past 2 years I have come up here a number of times. I showed my parents the Griffith Observatory, hiked all the way to the Hollywood sign, took a number of friends up her for shorter or longer hikes. But I failed to make it “my” park.

Griffith Park hasn’t become my go-to destination as I originally anticipated and that makes me sad. I look out of the window and there it is. What’s been keeping me?

But luckily I found my way back. I have been up here for 2 short hikes over the past 2 weekends and I am loving it. I even found a 3-mile loop that really should become my after-work hike. Waiting for the evenings to get longer…

So let me show you around “my” Griffith Park

Depending on where you start, the Griffith Observatory is kind of always in your view specifically when coming from the south side and the Loz Feliz neighborhood. What a magnificent building!

The Griffith Observatory

The Observatory has events throughout each month. There is a monthly star gazing party, lectures and astronomy talks, and special viewing events. Check out their calendar. It’s amazing.

The view over Los Angeles

On a clear day you can see all the way to the ocean. On a hazy day, you wonder if there really is an ocean.

It looks so peaceful.

The Hollywood sign

As you make your way up Mt Hollywood Trail, you get closer to the Hollywood sign. Did you read the crazy news recently that they wanted to built another Hollywood sign so tourists can visit it more easily? What’s the fun in “easy”? It such a great hike to the Hollywood sign which actually lands you right behind the sign. Please don’t ruin it for us locals just to please tourists…

I can never really get enough of this view. There is something so wildly calm about this view for me. A clash of the wild and fairly untamed park with the buzz and fake world of entertainment.

My favorite spot to sit and enjoy this view is from the Berlin Forest, which marks the friendship between Los Angeles and its twin or sister city Berlin in Germany.

Berlin Forest is a small grove of pine trees that doesn’t seem much like a forest, but has the beautiful smell of pineΒ  trees that I miss sometimes. I can smell them as I type.

Hiking up Mt Hollywood Trail

As you continue to hike up the trail, the observatory becomes smaller and smaller. And the Los Angeles skyline just remains in its background.

Then a few hundred feet further:

And as you continue to hike up, more and more of the park becomes visible.

Not much can top this view for me. Griffith Park is one of the largest urban parks in North America. It is much larger than Central Park in New York and much more wild. I think at this time one or two mountain lions are known to live in Griffith Park. There are warning signs for rattlesnakes all around. And much more tame, there is plenty of bird watching opportunity.

Winding back down

As I slowly walk back down I contemplate my good fortune of being able to live right here.

Of course I could have taken you on a lesser known route through Griffith Park. There are 53 miles of hiking trails in the park. But there is something about this more touristy side to it that has such a raw beauty in the middle of this huge metropolitan area that just calms me down.

I hope you enjoyed this virtual hike.

Drop me a line in the comments below and share where your most favorite local hike is.Β 

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