By Seth Smigelski
Trail Info: 1.65 miles / 2.7 kilometers; 45 minutes [pets allowed]
Begin this hike in Hollywood, where the Santa Monica Mountains are better known as the Hollywood Hills. The 130-acre Runyon Canyon Park is perfect for hikers with dogs and has off-leash areas where canines can run free. The dog-friendliness is one reason why Runyon Canyon Park seems to receive more foot (and paw) traffic than any other park in Los Angeles. Some other enticing attributes are scenic overlooks with views over Hollywood, steep tracks that allow you to get a workout in, and people watching that has been known to include a celebrity or two.
Driving directions: Drive one block west of La Brea Ave. on Hollywood Blvd. and turn north up Fuller Ave. Drive two blocks north to find the entrance to Runyon Canyon Park at the top of Fuller Ave. Park on the surrounding streets.
Hiking directions: Pass through the large gate at the top of Fuller Ave. and hike up the canyon to a junction at the beginning of the loop. The wide road heading to the left offers a gradual route up the canyon, so continue straight ahead for more of a workout. Proceed up the canyon through an off-leash area and follow the sharp bend to the right up the east side of the canyon. Reach the bench at Inspiration Point and continue up the ridge to the second viewpoint, Clouds Rest. The ridge trail meets Runyon Canyon Fire Road just above the viewpoint, about a mile from the start. Turn left and take the gradual trail down the other side of Runyon Canyon. Turn left on the road just before the Vista Street Gate to return to the first junction in Runyon Canyon. Turn right to exit the park through the Fuller Avenue Gate.