This may be the most popular hike of the dozens in Griffith Park, and it's easy to see why: Drive 10 minutes from Hollywood Boulevard to enjoy massive mountain, city and even ocean views for the duration of this moderately challenging trail. Bring water and expect to share the trail with runners, hikers and horses.
1. Park as near as you can to the Griffith Observatory, or take a 50-cent weekend shuttle bus from stops at the Greek Theatre or on Hillhurst Avenue or Los Feliz Boulevard. Leave the parking lot with the observatory building directly behind you, climbing a slope shaded by pine and oak trees and dotted with benches and picnic tables.
2. Stay on the main trail as it descends slightly and bends left. You'll get increasingly dramatic views of the Hollywood sign and the hillsides west of Griffith Path.
3. Pause at the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Overlook to catch your breath and capture some selfies, then press on as the climb gets steeper and the northern views improve.
4. At a plateau, turn left and stay on the main trail as it rises along a line of burnt pines and eucalyptus and bends right past a green water tank. That big city down there – it's Glendale.
5. At the T-intersection, turn right and finish the climb to the top of Mt. Hollywood – said to be 1,625 feet above sea level. On a clear day, you'll have views of the entire L.A. basin from city to sea.
6. For the return walk, stay right at that T-intersection, then bend hard right at the memorial sign for a fallen LAPD officer. Turn right at the drinking fountain and check out Dante's View, a community garden with shady benches that overlook the city. Continue downhill from here, then go straight and stay on the wide trail downhill at the next intersection to find your way back to the observatory.
Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and "Secret Walks: A Walking Guide to the Hidden Trails of Los Angeles." Each month, he leads a walk at one of his favorite spots in and around L.A. Find out more at his Facebook page: Secret Stairs.
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: 3.5, on a scale of 1 to 5
Duration: 1 1/2 hours
Details: Ample free parking. Park open sunrise to sunset. Dogs on a leash are OK.
KEEP ON WALKING…