Runyon Canyon is a hike in Central Hollywood that often gets a bad rap from the hiking community due to the trendy outfits and “Instagram celebrities” that often use it. Looking past that though it is actually a great hiking spot in the middle of Los Angeles, and it is excellent for people watching as well (I even saw Gerard Butler last time I was there). Here is all the information so you can experience it for yourself.
- Hikes range from 1 mile to 3 miles but plan on 3 miles if you want to experience the park fully.
- 500 – 700 feet of elevation depending on what trail you take.
- Parking: It can be tough to find it, but the best street parking is on Fuller Ave. and make sure to abide by all signs.
If you are in Los Angeles and hiking on the weekend then get there early or consider taking an Uber so that you can avoid having to try and find a parking spot. During the week though you can often find a spot if it is not early in the morning or after work. I recommend parking on Fuller Ave if you can find a spot as that is the best place to enter the park.
Here is a map of the park trails, I recommend heading up the right side to clouds rest and if you are tired you can head down the paved road (middle path in the above photo) or if you want to push yourself more you can connect with the West Trail.
From the entrance, you will walk through the gate and continue on a paved road for a tenth of a mile.
From here the road becomes dirt and bends to the right to start the uphill to Inspiration Point.
Along the way, you will pass the old tennis court from when this area was a planned development.
As you round the bend, you will be at inspiration point, with a nice bench to sit at and enjoy the view.
If you want to continue on from here, it will be a good amount of uphill to the next stop.
The trail is rugged, and there are not any switchbacks to ease the incline, just rough wooden steps.
I liked this cause it feels like you were really on a hike and not just a walk.
When you reach the top of the stairs, you will be walking along a fence to the right.
At the end of the fence, there is an area where people put locks.
From here there is one more section of uphill to get to Clouds Rest.
At Clouds Rest there are a few more benches, and the views are pretty epic.
Heading down the backside of the hill, you will connect with the paved road that you can use to get back to where the hike started.
If you want to continue on, then you will want to head up on the paved road instead of down.
From here the road winds around until you eventually see a large power line tower and there is a dirt road that heads off to the left.
Take this and continue uphill till you reach a single track that leads down to the stairs next to the mansion sitting on the hill.
These stairs will help you navigate the uneven trail and pass by the large house.
From here it is more uphill to get to the top of the ridgeline. When you arrive to the top, you will be greeted with the best view in the park.
You have Hollywood and Downtown LA on one side and the Hollywood Sign on the other.
It is also a great spot for sunset, just make sure you have a flashlight for the way down.
After you have taken in the views, you will start the steep trail down. Watch your footing as the loose rock and sand can be tough to navigate (this is why I do the path clockwise, so I don’t have to go up this way).
The trail continues downhill, passes a few more viewpoints then eventually gets back to the paved road that you can follow down to where you entered the park.
I was hesitant about visiting Runyon Canyon because I figured it would be lame but it actually was a great hike that I recommend in the city. If you can find parking, then you should check it out.