Route: Griffith Park Loop (Los Angeles, Ca)

Location
California, US
Description

Route designed by Christophe Stahl:

This route has been designed to maximize the distance on dirt roads, minimize the distance on concrete roads, and to offer the most interesting views on the cities and landmarks around the park. It is about 15.2 miles long and has about 2,984ft of elevation gain. It can be done clockwise or counter-clockwise, but is recommended counter-clockwise as some trails are more interesting to take downhill than uphill. There is also water available at mile 10 (bathroom) and 11.8 (Joe Klass water stop) if done counter-clockwise, which makes it easier when doing it unsupported since you need to carry more water at the start and less in the 3rd part. Water is also available at the start / finish bathroom.

It is recommended to use a navigation system for this route as the Griffith Park is a huge maze of trails. Here is a description, but a detailed map will be welcome. Parking is very easy at the trailhead. The best is to park at the north end of the Merry-Go-Round parking lot at 4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027. From the start take the Mineral Wells trail all the way to the Composting Facility. Cross the road and go up the trail to the left of the facility. Take the Skyline trail on the left and make sure to check Travel Town with its trains below. Once at the bottom turn left 90 degrees and go up the dirt road, then the single lane trail along Mount Sinai Memorial. Take the paved road for about half a mile and go back on the trail around the old Toyon Canyon landfill. Make a right on Mount Hollywood Trail and go all the way to the top taking a short piece of the paved Vista Del Valle Dr. From there take the single lane trail that goes around Mount Chapel towards Mount Lee Drive. Take the road to the top and make sure to take a few pictures above the Hollywood Sign and enjoy the 360-degree views of Hollywood lake, Downtown Los Angeles, the Griffith Observatory and the studios. At that point you will be at mile 6 of the trip. Turn around and go down the paved road you came from. Make a left on the Mulholland Trail. Once you hit the paved road make a left and go back on the trail shortly after on the right, until you reach the North Trail and the top of Mount Hollywood. Again, enjoy the 360-degree views before going down the very fun piece of single lane trail that ends at the top of the Greek Theater. This is where you can refill water at the bathroom. From there take the Riverside Trail all the way to the Griffith Helipad. You can enjoy the views again just before going down to the Joe Klass water stop and turn right on the Coolidge Trail, left on Cadman Trail, and again left on Lower Beacon Trail. After going for about 1 mile along the Golden State Freeway, stay on the trail, do not go down to the parking lot that is at the south end of the Merry-go-round area, and go all the way to the Old Los Angeles Zoo. Make sure to check the old freaky cages there, before going down on the right to where you started. The park has 5 other interesting places: Amir’s Garden, Bee Rock, Burbank Peak, the walk around the building of the Griffith Observatory, and the Bronson Caves. Those are all places you can access through trails and low car traffic paved roads, but could not be included in a loop that would make a good FKT route in the Griffith Park.