10 Best Hikes at Griffith Park

Griffith Park may be one of the biggest parks in the US. With over 4,300 acres, it is about 5 times the size of New York’s Central Park, and 4 time the size of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park!

With that amount of land right in the middle of a bustling city like Los Angeles, it offers many hikes and attractions like the LA Zoo, Observatory, and the Auburn Museum.

In this article, I’ll cover the top 10 best hikes at Griffith Park for those without a car.

Plus, for dog owners, these trails are pet friendly!

Just keep your dog/pet on a leash while on the hike.

Unlike many of the hikes in Los Angeles, Griffith Park is also easily accessible by public transportation!

This is a huge perk for those who want to experience nature, but don’t want to drive a car or don’t have a car.

Parking at Griffith Park

Like many places in Los Angeles, parking at Griffith Park can challenging to find especially if there’s a concert happening at the Greek Theatre.

When there is no concert, however, visitors can park at the Greek theatre parking lot for free. Parking in Lot 9 is also completely free and available year around.

It does close at sunset.

Paid parking is also available on the West Observatory road and Observatory parking lot.

Paid and Free Parking at Griffith

Photo Credit: https://www.laparks.org/griffithpark

How to get to Griffith Park using Public Transportation

For quick and stress free trip to Griffith park without the worry of whether you’ll find parking or not, I highly recommend taking public transportation.

One of the easiest and fastest way to get to Griffith is take the Metro Red Line rail way to the Vermont/Sunset Station.

Once you’re at this station, take the Dash bus for the Observatory/Los Feliz loop to the Greek Theatre or Griffith Observatory to get to the hiking trails.

You can find all 10 hikes and their trails in this map:

1. Bronson Caves (due to Covid, the caves are currently closed off)

Hike leading to entrance of Bronson Cave

  • Distance: 0.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

More of a walk than a typical hike. This popular and short hike is actually more of a walk up a hill on a very wide road, up to the caves.

Many call these the “Batman Caves” since it were used as the entrance to Batman bat-cave in the 1960s TV Series, called Batman.

This hike is treat for families with kids.

Everyone in the family will enjoy exploring around. 

2. Amir’s Garden trail

Hike to Amir's Garden at Griffith Park

  • Distance: 1.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The trail to Amir’s Garden can be found on the right of a wooden sign that says, “Griffith Park Camp.”

It may be flat at the start of the trail, quickly decent into an incline up the hill until you reach the garden.

The garden has native succulent plants and numerous trees.

The entire lot is dry with native plants well adapted to Southern California’s hot and dry weather.

There are both dirt roads and stairs on the trail that are easy to follow.

Keep going past the garden to get some great views of the ocean on a clear day.

3. Riverside Trail to Vista Viewpoint

  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This is a well trafficked trail with an incline to Mt Hollywood with a bit of shade.

Bring some water and a hat since most of the trail is unshaded and dry.

This is a fun 3 mile hike leading to Dante’s view area, which overlook the city and the iconic Griffith Observatory.

4. Griffith Park Old Zoo Loop

Hike to Old Zoo at Griffith Park

  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

The original house of the Los Angeles zoo from 1912-1966, this zoo has long been abandoned, when the zoo moved a few miles south of the park.

Many of the original buildings of the zoo are gone, but there are few structures still remains, making this hike a fun way to explore the old structures.

This is a fairly easy hike with easy elevation gains. Families with kids will enjoy an afternoon of exploration and a look into Los Angeles’s past.

5. Ferndell to the West Observatory Loop

Trailhead to Ferndell Hike at Griffith Park

  • Distance: 2.5 Miles loop
  • Difficulty: Easy

This short hike is great for families with young children.

There is a bit of shade during the first 15 minutes of the hike, with a few shade here and there afterwards.

Expect an incline upward and steep incline downward.

Be sure to wear a shoe with strong grips as you come down short slippery slopes.

Since this hike overlooks the city, it is a great hike in the afternoon to catch the sunset.

6. Lower Beacon Trail

Hike to Lower Beacon Trail at Griffith Hike

  • Distance: 3.1 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy

Lower Beacon trail is a popular hike because of it’s proximity to the main street, Crystal Springs Drive.

It very convenient to get to since the trial head starts at the Merry Go Round parking lot.

It has very easy inclines with little shade so be sure to come early or during the late afternoon.

If you follow the path to the top, you will have a extraordinary view of the ocean and downtown LA on a clear day.

7. Glendale Peak Trail

Hike to Glendale Peak at Griffith Park

  • Distance: 3.6 Milles loop
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Glendale Peak trail is an unshaded trail with no big incline and wide roads.

This hike offers some of the most beautiful views in Griffith.

You can see the Hollywood sign, Downtown LA, and the Observatory at the peak.

When you reach the top, you will see Dante’s Peak and a bench surrounded by a nice little garden.

I highly recommend go here early in the morning to avoid the high heat later in the day.

8. Fern Canyon Trail

Hike to Fern Canyon Trail at Griffith Park

  • Distance: 3.3 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Like many trails at Griffith Park, this one doesn’t have many shades.

Do come early to avoid the sun and the heat, later on in the day.

You can take the regular trail on paved road for an easier hike or take the nature trail off the paved road for a more challenging hike.

The hike has a few nice  inclines with beautiful views of the Observatory and the Hollywood Sign.

This trail offers a good balance for those just beginning to hike, but want to get some good cardio exercise in.

9. Bee Rock

Hike to Bee Rock at Griffith Park

  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

The Bee Rock trailhead also starts at the Merry Go Round parking lot 1.

This is a fun hike with be quick or longer depending on which trail you follow.

Follow the trail in this article for a moderate 3.6 miles hike that is sure to give you a good workout.

The trail has gradual incline and a steeper incline toward the end.

The peak of the trail leads to Bee Rock where you will see nice views of the Valley and what looks to be an abandoned swimming pool.

10. Captain’s Roost via East Observatory Trail to Charlie Turner trail

Hike to Captain Roost at Griffith Park

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Difficulty: Moderate

This a well maintained trail with some steep inclines up to the peak.

This trail also offers some sweeping and beautiful views of the Hollywood Sign and Observatory.

It offers a great workout with benches for resting and admiring the views when you reached the top.

Come for the beautiful views and leave with pictures of Southern California’s iconic palm trees overlooking the city.

 

 

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