Week 158: Glendale Peak Griffith Park

December 30, 2018

Day Hiking in Los Angeles #43, Glendale Peak, 3.58 miles.

For our final hike of 2018, Barbara and I headed for Glendale Peak, a "little known" detour off Hogback Canyon Trail in Griffith Park. We began at the Riverside Trailhead on the east side of Vermont Canyon Road, a short walk north of the Greek Theater. As always, as we headed east up the trail, we looked up at the mountains ahead in the distance and bet we'd end up there—and did. Like true Californians, we had layered up for the chilly, 40-degree temps, then jammed our gloves, scarves, and hats into our pockets a quarter-mile in. Hiking the steep incline, the Vermont Canyon Tennis Courts below and a great perspective of the Observatory and Greek Theater behind us came into view. Cold weather means clear air, and as we climbed higher on Riverside trail to the Hogback Trail, the sky got bluer and the landscape got sharper. My only regret is that my trusty iPhone camera just couldn't capture the depth or breadth of our panorama view: DTLA, and farther south the faint outline of the Long Beach skyline. West up the coastline, Catalina Island so clear and big you'd think you could walk there, and, above it, a view from Santa Monica to Baldwin Hills. Always in sight, the white, Griffith Park Observatory crowning the city, and up and down Riverside Trail we were surrounded by hikers and deliriously happy, tongue-lolling dogs guiding their owners. A mile-and-a-half up on Hogback Trail, we took the "secret" detour onto Henry's Trail, a rugged, narrow trail named for Henry Shamma, writer, Sierra Club hike leader, and recipient of the 1989 Conservation Service Award by the Sierra Club Angeles Chapter. Barbara and I carefully edged up Henry's Trail to the big payoff at the top, a near 360-degree view from the Pacific as far south as Long Beach and circling E-NE-N to the San Gabriel Mountains framing the valleys, and birds serenading us from the trees below. When Barbara and I started hiking almost three years ago, we often didn't know the context of where the hell we were. Today we stood on Glendale Peak above Los Angeles, pointing out the places we've been—from mountain trails to Pasadena, the LA River, Silver Lake, DTLA, the ocean, all the neighborhoods—a scrapbook view of our adventures. We made our way back down Henry's Trail to the bridge on Hogback Trail (another hike for another day) and retraced our steps down the Riverside Trail and back to the car. The parking lot was so jammed we thought there must be a church service at the Greek. Nope, just like-minded hikers heading out on this glorious day for a killer, year-end trek. Happy 2019 everyone!

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