Week 221: Griffith Park—Glendale Peak

November 08, 2020

 Hike Griffith Park & Hollywood Hills, Glendale Peak—Riverside, Henry's Trails, 3.5 miles. 

Barbara and I can tell you that any day is a good day for hiking, but on the day after a light rain the air seems clearer, the sky seems bluer, and lingering clouds make the sky almost touchable. The best place in L.A. to enjoy this show is anywhere in the 53-mile network of trails, fire roads, and bridle paths of Griffith Park, so we headed there to hike McKinney's new-to-us route to an old acquaintance. Glendale Peak doesn't appear on most maps, but it's easy to get to and the payoff at the top is huge. We parked in the Vermont Canyon Tennis Courts parking lot on Commonwealth Canyon Drive and started up the trail between the staircases that separate the courts. That unmarked trail took us up to an intersection where a right turn set us east along winding Riverside Trail. Up, around, and up some more, bending south with incredible views of the Observatory, the Greek, the golf course below, dipping into Aberdeen Canyon, then rising to take us to our first trail marker—just south of paved Vista Del Valle Drive is a small green shack where Riverside Trail takes a sharp left hook to circle Glendale Peak. See? Easy to get to. Circling the peak clockwise, we reached our second trail marker—a small metal bridge over Aberdeen Canyon. Crossing the bridge takes hikers to East Ridge Trail (Hogback Ridge) and Dante's View on the shoulder of Mt. Hollywood. But that wasn't our goal today. Instead, we made a right turn at the well-put sign marking the start of Henry's Trail, named posthumously for award-winning, local Sierra Club hike leader Henry Shamma. We followed Henry's Trail's tricky but doable path up to the top of Glendale Peak for a soul-assuring, jaw-dropping view of LA and the Valley that punctuated a joyful weekend. For a 2.6-mile hike, retrace your steps back to the courts. Barbara and I opted to extend the hike by following Vista Del Valle Drive east to the Joe Klass Water Stop, named for former sign painter and Griffith Park Athletic Club President Joe Klass who spent years running along the trails of Griffith Park. We stopped for water and a breather, laughing as dogs bounded straight for the canine water station at the rest stop. Rejoining Vista Del Valle Drive walking west, we followed it down to Commonwealth Canyon Drive to complete our trek back to the car. It was a great day for hiking—the sun was shinier, hikers were "beautiful day" chattier, and, for one clear morning, the rain was gone and all was right with the world.





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