Week 200: Sepulveda Pass

February 09, 2020

Hiking Los Angeles, Getty View Trail, 3 miles

The Sepulveda Pass was part of major SoCal landowner Francisco Sepulveda's 30,000-acre Rancho San Vincente y Santa Monica in the 1840s. A hundred years later, plans for the 405, now the busiest and most congested freeway in the U.S. were approved, and currently three hundred thirty-thousand cars travel daily through the Pass that connects the SF Valley and the LA Basin. We've all driven it; we've all seen the mountains bordering the both sides. Barren. Often dry. Not a soul in sight. When Barbara and I found the "Getty Center Trail" hike, we assumed we'd be taking a path to the famed 1997 museum on the west side of the 405. Not so! This hike winds along the East Sepulveda Fire Road hugging the top of the mountain ridge on the EAST side of the freeway. Serene, so pretty, and truly one of the most unique views in the city. About a mile below us, the freeway. To the West, killer views of the Getty, Bel-Air, and Brentwood, with Westwood in the distance. To the East, undeveloped Hoag Canyon—a remnant of pre-progess used to be. Following the fire road provided us with a clear path, but there are several dirt trails that branch off to even higher ground. Inevitably, when Barbara and I are on our way to a trailhead, there's an impossibly high spot in the distance. No matter how high and remote it looks, we say "bet we're going there," and, sure enough, we do. Today it was a lone tree standing impossibly high above the 405, and that's exactly where one of the dirt trail offshoots led us. Those little finds and accomplishments are always a treat. This hike isn't quiet—traffic below never lets you forget you're in the middle of the city. But the trail is basically unpopulated and the few people and dogs we did meet were friendly and informative. A hidden treasure convenient to find: from the North, exit the 405 at Getty Center Drive and head south on Sepulveda to Casiano Road. Turn east (the only option.) Casiano winds up into the hills and dead ends at the trail head. A fun and unusual alternative to Franklin and Fryman. Barbara and I celebrated our 200th hike with mochas in the valley. 200!!!

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