Take A Hike (First In An Occasional Series)

Being an L.A. native, I pride myself on knowing my fair share of the city’s nooks and crannies. So it was with shock and awe that I explored the oasis that is Fern Dell Canyon in Griffith Park for the first time this morning ó shocked that I’d never ever even heard of it and awed at how picturesque and serene a place it is ó and literally little more than a stone’s throw north of Los Feliz Boulevard just east of where it collides with Western Avenue. For a better view, click the image at right.

From Fern Dell Drive, the entrance is clearly marked and includes an historical marker indicating the area was once the site of a Gabrielino Indian village. The first part of the hike is a stroll through a lush and beautiful grotto, with a flowing brook coursing down the center and crossed by several short footbridges. Once beyond that you’ll cross a picnic/play area and soon find yourself climbing up the West Observatory Trail, which offers an awesome vista of the city just below the still-under-construction observatory. All told the elevation gained from the grotto to the top is about 500 feet and roundtrip distance is 2.59 miles. But if you just need a quick getaway, only a few steps into the grotto and you’ll have one.

There’s a couple more pictures after the jump.

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8 Replies to “Take A Hike (First In An Occasional Series)”

  1. Yes, the coming rain should fill up the stream in Fern Dell nicely, and thanks for the link to your excellent movie. In case you were wondering, your costar is a darkling beetle, aka stink bug.

    And if you’ve got four minutes to spare, check out a mountain bike ride of mine in the Verdugos that I shot lost April. That’s not me on the guitar, though. Some guy named Andres. :)

    http://www.wildbell.com/media/verdugo2.mov

  2. “Darklking beetle”. That’s good to know. I knew it was a stink bug but didn’t know the more accurate name. They are some of my most favored trail mates while hiking in the park. Your video was quite nice. Where is the trail head? Also I liked the rotting carcass…..an overly exhuberant mountain biker possibly? I shot some footage of the L.A. River at Hyperion and Fletcher over the past couple days. I’ll post the link here for that when I finish putting it up in a couple days.

  3. Thanks for watching my vid, Shannon. The trailhead for the ride you saw in the Verdugos is Beaudry Drive in Glendale west of the 2 Freeway (Thomas Guide p. 534, F5). Very similar fire-road terrain as that of Griffith Park, with higher elevations, plenty of darkling beetles, fence lizards, and even the occasional coast horned lizard, not to mention coyotes, bobcats, mule deer, and red-tailed hawks.

    Not quite sure what the bones were that I stumbled upon. Looks like some kind of canine… perhaps some unfortunate stray dog or pet or just an old coyote.

    Look forward to visiting your site and checking out the river footage.

  4. That is absolutely gorgeous! When the rain lets up, I’m going to have to make my way there since I live within a stone’s throw of it.

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