Lets go Runyon

Runyon Canyon 2001 N. Fuller Ave.

  • Runyon Canyon Park is a 160-acre park in Los Angeles, California, at the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, managed by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks.

    Walks and trails

    View towards Downtown Los Angeles from Inspiration Point

    There are five ways to enter Runyon Canyon: two gates at the bottom of the park in the south at Fuller and Vista Streets; a gate at the top of Runyon Canyon Road at Mulholland Drive, in the north; one at the northwest at Solar Drive; and a spine-ridge footpath from the top of Wattles Garden.

    There are three routes to hike Runyon Canyon from the Fuller Gate—Runyon Canyon Road (easy), the Star Trail (medium), and the Hero Trail (difficult). Runyon Canyon Road is a gradual climb on a passably paved road, as one heads South to North towards the back of the Canyon. The Road swings around to the east ridge to the panoramic Clouds Rest and then comes down the medium-steep slope and famed railroad-tie steps of the Star Trail to the mid-level Inspiration Point, before taking the fire road past the run-down tennis court back down to the Fuller Gate. Doing this route in reverse back up Star Trail is a much more energetic climb up the steps and steep slopes between Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest. These loops take about 30–45 minutes.

    The difficult route is the western-most Hero’s Trail which starts either just inside the secondary gates on Runyon Canyon Road (where dogs can be let off their leashes) or immediately to the left inside the Vista gate, and takes the hiker up an 18 degree slope and then along the spine of the ridge to the second highest point in the canyon with magnificent views to the West and South. This is a considerably more taxing climb than the previous routes described and is followed by a descent via either Runyon Canyon Road or the Star Trail, and will take between 45–60 minutes. Taking in Indian Rock will add another 10–20 minutes.

    Entering from Mulholland Drive, there are a couple of short hikes up Indian Rock to the highest point in the canyon with 360-degree views including the valley to the North. The alternative route follows the fire road round the rock and splits off towards the Western High Way or goes towards Clouds Rest and a choice of circuits.

    There is another lesser-known route through the bottom of the canyon which starts by the sharp bend in the lower fire road before you reach the tennis court. From here the walker can follow the path past the ruins and over the foundation slab (which is often used as a “ground canvas” for mosaic stone patterns or worded messages spelled out in arranged rocks) and then along what would once have been the river bed, and eventually emerge at the bend at the back of the canyon on Runyon Canyon Road before the final rise up to Clouds Rest. The last bit of this route is a bit of a scramble, and be prepared for cactus, overgrown bushes, insects, and possible snake encounters, but most of the rest of it is less strenuous than the climb between Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest.

    Directly opposite where this Lower Canyon Trail joins Runyon Canyon Road, there is another steep hike over the Middle Rock which comes out by the electricity pylon just south of Indian Rock, and to the right is another river bed walk, which brings the walker out just north of the Lloyd Wright house.

    The upper canyon trail is home to a variety of wildlife including birds, owls and hawks; snakes and lizards; and deer and coyote. Additionally, there are several hundred plant species throughout Runyon Canyon including black sage, elderberry, California sagebrush, wild buckwheat, golden yarrow, laurel sumac, scrub oak, sugar bush and toyon. Coyotes are often seen in the canyon at early morning and dusk, and have been known to take small animals.

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