If you’ve ever Googled hiking trails in L.A., you’ve probably heard of Runyon Canyon. It’s one of the most popular hikes in the city.
Even if you don’t live in L.A. or don’t have much of an interest in hiking but follow celebrity news, chances are you’ve heard of Runyon Canyon. (A couple of years ago, The Hollywood Reporter published an article titled “Why Hiking Runyon Canyon Is the Best Way to See the Stars.” And on a side note, my friend said she spotted Kirsten Dunst during one of our hikes there.)
Over the last couple of months, I’ve found myself at Runyon more times than I’ve ever gone in the 10+ years I’ve lived here. Prior to this last half of the year, the last time I’d gone on that trail was probably in 2009, and that was only because a friend insisted. I was up for it since I’d never been at the time. But I never really felt gung-ho about hiking there again, mostly because it was such a popular trail and I’m typically more excited about finding less trafficked places.
Fast forward to a decade later when in August one of my friends pitched the idea of doing a sunrise hike at Runyon. I agreed because I hadn’t been there in a decade and had only a vague memory of what it looked like in 2009.
I was pleasantly surprised and quickly fell in love with the trail. A big part of the reason for that is because I didn’t really have any expectations of it when I first revisited it in August. I was only aware that it was still really popular, but I didn’t go online to see what the views were. I’m still a big fan of winging things (as long as the thing is not too crazy) and not always doing extensive research on places (like looking at all the photos everyone has taken) so that my experience is fresh and free from expectations.
Applying that approach to Runyon Canyon paid off because even though it’s popular, my experience of it is barely – if at all – shaped by that of others.
It provides a decent workout – I’d rate it as moderate because there’s some incline that does get your blood pumping and a sweat going.
There are a couple of trails at Runyon Canyon (check out Hikespeak for more info!) but I’ve always gone on the 3-ish-mile loop that has an elevation change of about 800 feet and takes about an hour to complete.
Probably half of the trail is concrete, while the other half is dirt. Hiking boots help if you have them, but regular tennis shoes work fine.
I also ventured off to another really short trail at the north entrance of Runyon Canyon Park on my most recent visit with this view:
Apart from the workout, I love the views of the city from Runyon and the fence with locks scattered across.
I’ve been back to Runyon Canyon four times in the last four months and plan to come back again. I admit I sometimes have a tendency to be skeptical about popular places (especially in my own backyard) because, again, I’m more fond of discovering hidden gems. Revisiting Runyon Canyon was a reminder that I shouldn’t so quickly dismiss experiences and places just because everyone else loves them.
For more information about Runyon Canyon Park, click here.
The park is located at:
2000 N. Fuller Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Whenever I’ve gone, I’ve always parked at the north entrance where there’s a dirt parking lot:
7317 Mulholland Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90046
I recommend arriving between 6 to 6:30 a.m. if you go on a weekend because the lot is small and fills up fast. I’ve seen people park on Mulholland Drive (facing in the direction of the lot) when the lot does get full, though I’ve never had to do that because I’ve always arrived early and snagged a parking spot.