Naturalist and explorer John Muir once said, “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity…” The Wilderness. It’s a place where many men find themselves rejuvenated by the sense of adventure, the risk-taking, and the physical fitness! But you don’t have to be a man to enjoy the wild. After all, in our Internet-driven culture, it’s important for everyone to disconnect and really begin experiencing a life before computers. That means heading to nature, going through rocks and dirt (and sometimes creeks and water), and even seeing wildlife.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you might think it’s difficult to find the wilderness. But there are a lot of great hiking spots. Here are some suggestions:
Chantry Flats/Sturtevant Falls
If you’re looking for a quick and easy hike to go on with friends (or a nice date idea), one that has a nice 50 foot waterfall, consider going to Sturtevant Falls. Located in the San Gabriel Mountains, the trail is a mix between paved and unpaved road, crossing streams, and plenty of shade. The 3.7 mile winding hike can take you between one to three hours to complete round trip. Be warned, that the return hike is 0.6 mile uphill.
To get to the trail, from the 210 freeway, exit Santa Anita Ave and head north to the mountain where you’ll eventually reach Chantry Flats. It’s a popular destination, so be aware of the parking situation. There are two small parking lots at Chantry Flats, but you need a National Adventure Parking Pass ($5.00 Mon – Thurs, $10.00 Fri – Sun) which can be bought at any local sporting goods store such as Big 5 or Sports Chalet. Overflow parking is any space you can find on the side of the road.
Sure, you can view the Hollywood Sign from afar. But how about visiting this landmark from up close and personal? The trail starts at Bronson Canyon right by Griffith Park. Simply take Franklin Ave. to Canyon Dr. and head north into Griffith Park until you reach the parking lot at end of road. You don’t need to have a parking pass, although you should arrive early to claim a parking spot.
The 3-mile trail itself isn’t that difficult as many people use the trail as a cardiovascular workout or to walk their dog due to its uphill nature. You’ll be hitting a mix of paved and unpaved roads. Be warned that there isn’t much shade, so pack sunscreen or go during the morning. The entire hike can take up to two hours there and back as you get a great view of Los Angeles.
Note: Another nearby trail can lead you to the “Bronson Cave,” a 50-foot tunnel, which was used as the front entrance of the Bat Cave in the 1950 Batman TV series.
Escondido Canyon Waterfall Hike
A great spring and summer hike awaits you in Malibu! The 4.2 mile round-trip hike leads to the Escondido 50 foot moss-covered waterfall. Head north on PCH from Santa Monica and take the East Winding way turnoff (27200 Winding Way,
Malibu, CA 90265). The trail crosses a creek and after about a mile, you’ll reach the waterfall.
If you’ve ever watched the opening credits to The Andy Griffith Show you’ll recognize the Franklin Canyon landscape. Take the Discovery Trail and you’ll reach Franklin Canyon Lake. The one mile round-trip hike is easy and a simple getaway.
You can park at the Ranch Area, which is next to Doheny House (2600 Franklin Canyon Drive, Beverly Hills)