Week 193: Wildwood Canyon Park

November 17, 2019

Great L.A. Walks: This short, steep hike takes you high above Burbank, 2.5 miles

This hike was hard, but it's local and the views of the San Fernando Valley, DTLA, the L.A. River, and the Verdugos made the challenge worthwhile. Charles Fleming's Wildwood Canyon Hike, from the December 9, 2016 edition of the L.A. Times, is a 4.5 on his 5-pt. scale. So, wear your sturdy hiking shoes and bring water and snacks—but do go. Wildwood Canyon Park in the Verdugo Mountains is a sneeze and a blow above Burbank. Follow Magnolia Blvd. to its eastern termination, turn left on Sunset Canyon then right on Harvard, and look for the park entrance on the right, parallel to the De Bell Golf Course. Inside the park, the Wildwood Canyon Trail is the first on the left, just beyond the restrooms near the park entrance. This hike doesn't kid around—it starts steep and continues up, up, up with switches, turns, and RR-tie-steps for help. Yet, it's simple to follow and rewards with amazing views at every level. Today was bright and cloudless, giving Barbara and me a clear view of the L.A. River winding south toward DTLA in the distance; the golf course and the Castaway Restaurant below us; and planes taking off from the nearly Burbank Airport. Plenty of hikers and happy dogs kept us company, and a big cheer to the mystery hiker who hung festive holiday ornaments on the rest stop tree at our halfway-ish mark. Wildwood Canyon Park has several trails, including the Vital Link Trail up to the peak, but this one was just the right length (so said my lungs) for today. I swore between "oooh, the views" most of the way up, but the calmness and sheer beauty of the canyon on the way down lowered my heartbeat and lifted my spirit. If you're a Fryman or Runyan fan, you've got to add Wildwood to your hiking list. 

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