Sure, there is a super bloom in the deserts and open spaces around the Los Angeles area, but avoid the crowds and explore the loveliness of nature that’s right in your neighborhood by taking a family hike in Griffith Park.
Here are three trails that will take you out of the concrete jungle.
Fern Dell to Observatory
From Los Feliz Boulevard, turn onto Fern Dell Drive, right by the Griffith Park sign and bear cub statue.
Park along the road, and enter Fern Dell itself, a natural area that in the 1920s was augmented with imported ferns, pools, bridges and other faux bois elements. Visitors enjoy its green shade and quiet demeanor.
Follow the Fern Dell pathway and cross a bridge that parallels the road; walk pass a playground and the Trails Café. Here at the bottom of Western Canyon, it’s a 1.75 mile round trip to get to the Griffith Observatory. You can take the east or west trails that lead up to the iconic architectural gem. Once you’ve scaled that height, enjoy the views and maybe explore the observatory.
If you are feeling more adventurous, you can continue up the hill past the Berlin Forest (north side of the parking lot) on the Charlie Turner Trail to gain more elevation and closer views of the Hollywood Sign.
Above Travel Town
Skyline Trail to Oak Canyon Loop
An off-the-beaten-track location, this pleasant and easy walk is perfect to do before a trip to Travel Town’s trains. Use Travel Town’s parking lot off the 134 Freeway at Zoo Drive exit and find the trail entrance alongside Griffith Park Drive. This gentle ascent to the top is where Skyline meets Rattlesnake Trails. If you continue south along Skyline, you will dead-end above the L.A. Zoo. Head back and follow the Mineral Wells Trail which slopes downward and past the composting facility.
Cross the road and meet up with Oak Canyon Loop – particularly lush this time of year – which brings you back to Travel Town.
Park at the southeastern end of the Mineral Wells Picnic area parking lot, and facing the hill, you’ll see a fire road which will lead to this fabled garden (about a half mile up.)
As you ascend, you will pass Water Tank #73 which means you are half-way to the top right around the next major switchback. Once you are there, enjoy the picnic tables and views from this ornamental garden of pine, geraniums, oleander, yuccas and more that was hand-crafted by Amir Dialameh for three decades. Arrive early in the morning and you may hear the howls from the nearby monkeys in the L.A. Zoo.
For a more vigorous workout, park at the Harding Wilson Golf Course and search out, among the thickets, homemade stairs that lead up the steep hillside to the Garden. You can return via the fire road or back down the stairs.