|Griffith Observatory and Downtown LA|
The air wasn't quite as clear as last weekend, but the peaklings still provided us with some impressive views of Los Angeles and the ocean to the south, the San Fernando Valley to the north, the baby mountains to the west, and our San Gabriel mountains to the northeast.
The trail is a runner-friendly fire road that starts out at the Observatory parking lot. Each peak requires you to leave the fire road and take a short but steep and slippery use trail to the summit, so it's possible to skip some of the peaks if five is too many. None of the trails are marked, so we ended up on an unnamed sixth peak (the one just west of Mt. Hollywood), thinking it was Mt. Bell. Some of the ascents were actually mildly strenuous, but it didn't really feel like a true peakbagging experience what with the film crew on top of Mt. Hollywood and the cars driving by on the road to Mt. Lee.
Mt. Lee and Cahuenga Peak were my favorite of the bunch. Even though the "hike" to Mt. Lee is on a paved road and most of the summit is fenced off to protect the radio towers, it's exciting to get so close to the Hollywood sign after seeing it from the city for so many years. Cahuenga Peak was the only one that really felt like a hike, as it was steeper, longer, more isolated, and about 100' higher than the other four.
|The Hollywood sign from Mt. Lee|
Even on such a hot day with plenty of water breaks, the entire hike only took us around three hours. If you really wanted to, you could knock out all of the peaks in and around Griffith Park in one day and you'd never have to go back, but I think the views are good enough that I'd go back on a cooler day in the winter when the haze is gone and the San Gabriels are snow-covered. Standing on the minipeaks, Downtown LA is right in front of you, a unique perspective that you don't get from any other hike. As much as I love hiking in the San Gabriels, they're also great to look at, and the Griffith Park peaks are the perfect place to go to admire them.
|San Gabriel Mountains|