Week 250: Fryman Canyon Park Studio City

September 12, 2021

 AllTrails Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook, 1.9 mile loop.

Barbara and I finally got around to exploring this short local hike, new to us, but what took so long? "Fryman" may be the busiest and well-known Studio City hiker go-to-location, but the Pohl Overlook has more personality—take it from the preservation expert who liked it the most. When the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority decided in 1998 to name a trail after the woman who worked tirelessly to preserve wilderness, they chose Nancy Hoover Pohl's favorite spot in Fryman Canyon Park. Nancy (1915–2001) and her husband Wadsworth moved to Studio City in 1951. A year later, concerned about the rampant hillside development in the mountain area south of Ventura Boulevard, Nancy began her sixty year mission to protect the Santa Monica Mountains from development. Her preservation efforts helped create thousands of acres of parkland: In the 50s, she was influential in persuading Los Angeles to regulate hillside construction. When the idea of a Laurel Canyon freeway was tossed around in the 1970s, Nancy aided in blocking the freeway by inviting Sacramento politicians down for a walk through the hills. Buh bye, freeway. Today Barbara and I followed Nancy's figurative "footprints" counterclockwise on the short and moderately easy trail. The entrance and parking lot on Mulholland Drive are about 3/4 of a mile west of Laurel Canyon Boulevard. We arrived around 8am to score a parking space in the small lot, found the quaint trailhead, and began hiking east. Great view of the Valley and mountains to the north, but today the trail and its surroundings captured our attention. Sometimes flat, often narrow, shady now and then. We followed the wide, easy trail curving down the side of the mountain for the first half of the hike. The trail ended at a dirt road that overlooked homes in "the Donnas"—named for the streets in the canyon neighborhood. Following the road west for a short distance, we found the trail for our climb back to the top. Trails like this one can turn a short hike into a cardio blast. Steep, tricky—yet shady. Blasts of effort, then stops to appreciate the stream or study the abandoned car wreck. This hike is moderately busy with dog walkers, their happy dogs, and friendly morning hikers of all ages. Move over Fryman, this terrific trail is an excellent local option. Loved it. 






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