Week 232: Griffith Park Rattlesnake and Skyline Loop

February 21, 2021

 Discovering Griffith Park #27: Rattlesnake and Skyline Loop, 3.2 miles. 

Barbara's and my first hike from Casey Schreiner's new-to-us hiking book, Discovering Griffith Park: A Local's Guide, was a three-part winner. Starting out from the east end of the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum parking lot on Zoo Drive, we found the trailhead for Part One—cardio on the Rattlesnake Trail, an energetic half-mile climb 380 feet up to the Four Points intersection. The weather was mild, the sky was blue, and last week's winds had cleared the air to dazzle us on Part Two—the Skyline Trail. This one mile EW trail gifted us with a panoramic view from the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains across the San Fernando Valley and past the Verdugo and Glendale to the San Gabriels. Disney, Dreamworks, Glendale, and the biggest Ikea in North America. The 134, the 5, and a non-concrete section of the LA River. Though we met a few hikers, happy dogs, and their masters along the way, it's hard to believe that this trail wasn't crowded. The path is wide and clear, and the view defies description—city and mountains on one side, Griffith Park canyons and greenery on the other. Utterly gorgeous. Along the way a small snake made its way across our path, lizards scampered, birds sang, hawks flew overhead, and woodpeckers pecked on charred tree trunks from a 2018 brush fire. About a mile in, fences protecting the LA Zoo property blocked our southern view but a peek through the chain links gave us a glimpse of a huuuge King Vulture perched in the Zoo's Aviary. We followed the Zoo fence down to the parking lot at ground level for Part Three—history. Sure, it's just a parking lot today, but in 1912 the land was home to the Griffith Aviation Park, one of the first airfields in Los Angeles. William Boeing and Donald Douglas got their start here in a factory and flying school. Here, in 1913, Georgia "Tiny" Broadwick, pioneering parachutist and inventor of the ripcord, became the first woman to parachute from an airplane. From 1924 to 1942, the National Guard leased the land. And in 1946, the land was a small part of Rodger Young Village, temporary housing for WWII vets. We left Skyline Trail and joined an equestrian connector trail through a tunnel under Zoo Drive to Main Trail for our walk back to the car. Thanks to Schreiner for the great hike, the backstory, and 33 new GP hikes to explore! 






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