While I had never heard of Ferndell Canyon prior to the hike Susan and I took up it at the beginning of the month, I am long acquainted with Bronson Canyon Park, having been visiting the place since I was a meek little Hollywood grade-schooler. The park not only has the always-popular, Panaflex-ready, yet ultimately not very spectacular cavern found tunneled through what was an old quarry (site of films such as “Star Trek VI,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” “The Searchers” and loads of ’50s sci-fi flicks and even more TV), there’s also the standard fire roads to trod up and away upon.
But the jewel of the place for me is a wonderful little overgrown backcountry-type hike that brings you deep into a narrowing canyon whose payoff is the 20-something foot waterfall pictured at right . It’s a trek made all the more fun when Griffith Park has some rainfall to roll out, which we just so happened to have had so much of recently. As such, Susan and I with dog Shadow made it our destination this morning. Heading north from Franklin Avenue on Canyon Drive (a block east of Bronson Avenue) to the end of the street and the park’s entrance, We parked in the small upper lot and first headed back to a gated service road leading to the flooded and muddy cavern (pic after the jump). From there we wandered uptrail beyond a flood basin and spillway to the hike’s unmarked and easy-to-miss trailhead situated across the fire road from a clearing.
This ain’t no quaint Ferndell stroll, folks. But my recommendation is to get it while it’s wet. With some downed trees and overgrowth forcing some improvised traversing, and several creek crossings with the flow running very nicely (but rarely more than ankle-deep), it takes a bit of work and willingness to get wet and dirty, but it’s all worth it when you get to the foot of the falls so close to civilization yet so far.
All in the hiking was short, just 1.8 miles in and out. And the elevation gained going in was only about 200 feet.
We weren’t surprised to find so much water inside the tunnel, probably a good 18″ at its deepest… and unless the city comes in and pumps it out, it’ll be there awhile.
This is part of the path that leads up to the trail to the waterfall.