Week 234: Griffith Park's Beacon Hill via Cadman Trailhead

March 21, 2021

 Discovering Griffith Park #17: Beacon Hill via Cadman Trailhead, 3 miles.  

The LA landscape shines in the spring, so Barbara and I headed for the best place in the heart of the city to take in SoCal's natural wonders and urban beauty all in one hike—Griffith Park. The park's 53 miles of trails allows hikers to revisit familiar places taking new routes, and today Casey Schreiber's Discovering Griffith Park provided a new-to-us path to an old favorite. We met our friend Adam at the trailhead at the end of Cadman Drive off Griffith Park Boulevard, and the three of us headed north on Cadman Trail into the park. Cadman took us to the Coolidge Trail then up to the 5-Points junction where we hung a right on Upper Beacon Trail to the summit. Along the way, Adam, Executive Director of the CCC Foundation (translate: the man knows his mountains and trails), shared geological tidbits and pointed out spots we wouldn't know, like Strawberry Peak in the San Gabriels. This hike, from the first trailhead to the summit, doesn't disappoint—good cardio, great views, and a feeling of accomplishment at the top. Long before LAX opened in 1960, air travelers and aviation superstars of the 1920s and 30s like Lindbergh, Earhart, and Hughes, flew out of Glendale's Grand Central Airport north of the LA River. To prevent crashing into the nearby Santa Monica Mountains west of the airport, pilots could only take off if they could see the beacon at the top of the summit we hiked to today. The beacon is gone without a trace, but the view from the top gave us a good idea of the incredible view those old-time pilots saw from their cockpits from the San Gabriels to the Verdugos to Glendale, Silver Lake, Elysian Park, and DTLA. Instead of retracing our steps, Adam easily talked us into venturing down a steep narrow path to Lower Beacon Trail that connected with Cadman Trail. Easy to think of LA as Hollywood, etc., but we were also badass in aviation a hundred years ago and Beacon Hill lit the way. 





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