I Heart Los Angeles: Runyan Canyon

LOCATION: Runyan Canyon (Hollywood Hills)
MPGS: 6.15
DRIVING TIME: 15 Minutes
COST OF PARKING: $0 (Free Street Parking)
COST TO HIKE CANYON: $0

TOTAL COST: $0

MEETING NEW PEOPLE WHILE ‘WALKING IT OUT’: PRICELESS

So, it’s been over a year and I’m still hiking just about every Sunday in Runyan Canyon and thanks to my short documentary “The Incredibly True Adventures of Sistas of the Canyon,” which recently screened in the Outfest Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, we’ve had some new hikers join us the past couple of Sundays.

Last Sunday, newbie Chris, and couple Kiana and Erica (pictured above) joined me on the hike. The Sunday before last we welcomed Christel on the hike, and prior to that it was Erica and Kiana’s first time out.

All in all, over the past year and some change, I’d say our group tripled the number of Black folks hiking in the canyon!

I credit Runyan Canyon for my thick but shapely legs. Those stairs are no joke! But hey—no pain, no gain. And trip—it doesn’t cost a dime to get your work out on by doing the hike. You already paid for the park with your tax dollars. Holla!

While the smell of dog shit (left behind by lazy ass dog owners who refuse to pick up behind their beloved pets) first thing in the morning is still offensive to my nostrils, if you can get past that, hiking Runyan Canyon is definitely a great way to start the day and begin the week. You can’t beat the views that overlook the City of Angels.

A shout out to my faithful hiking partner DJ Kristi Lomax for her consistency and big props to her for the weight that she’s lost. She thinks I haven’t noticed, but I have. You go girl!

Hiking Scrapbook

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Upcoming Screening of the ‘Incredibly True Adventures of Sistas of the Canyon’

6th Annual Oakland Black International LGBT Film Festival
Saturday, August 16, 2008
3 p.m.
Parkway Theater
1834 Park Blvd.
Oakland, California
Cost $10
(510) 814-2400
www.clubrimshot.com/filmfestival.html

About Runyan Canyon

Runyon Canyon Park is a 130 acre park two blocks from Hollywood Boulevard, just west of the 101 Hollywood Freeway extending north to Mulholland Drive. There are entrances on Fuller Avenue, Vista Street, and off Mulholland. Since 1983 when it was acquired by the City of Los Angeles with a grant from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, it has been managed by the City of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation as an ‘Urban Wilderness.’ It is a rare example of wild chaparral with its drought-resistant evergreen trees and shrubs only a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of the Hollywood community.

There are three ways to enter Runyon Canyon; two entrances at the bottom of the park in the South, and one at the top, in the North.

When entering at the bottom of the canyon the walker can choose to go round clockwise or counter-clockwise. Going clockwise involves gradually climbing up as one makes ones way towards the back of the canyon, swinging round to the east ridge to Clouds Rest and then coming down the steep slope and steps to Inspiration Point, before taking up the central fire road back down to the Fuller Ave entrance. Going counter-clockwise is a much more energetic climb up the steps and steep slopes between Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest, before the long and gentle road back down. Allow between 30-45 minutes for these routes.

Entering from Mulholland 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 the western trail which, from the southern approach at Vista, starts just inside the secondary gates (where dogs can be let off their leashes) and takes the hiker 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 if followed by a descent via either the fire road or the eastern ridge route will take between 60-90 minutes. Taking in Indian Rock will add another 10-20 minutes.
There is another lesser-known route through the bottom of the canyon which starts by the sharp bend in the lower fire road. From here just follow the path past the ruins and over the foundation slab and then along what would once have been the river bed and eventually you will emerge at the bend at the back of the canyon before the final rise up to Clouds Rest. The last bit of this route is a bit of a scramble but most of the rest of it is less strenuous than the climb between Inspiration Point and Clouds Rest.

Directly opposite where the Lower Canyon Trail joins the fire 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 you out just north of the Lloyd Wright house.

Joining The Hike

If you’re in Los Angeles, or planning to visit, join us on our weekly hike in Runyan Canyon. We meet up on Sundays at 8:00 a.m. on the corner of Fuller and Franklin Avenues in Hollywood.

The hike usually takes about an hour and then we head to the Hollywood Farmer’s Market. It’s a good idea to let me know if you’re planning on coming ahead of time in case anything changes.

And no worries if you’re crazy, or don’t know you’re crazy, I don’t hike alone and before I get pushed off of a cliff, you will.

Getting There Via Freeway

Hollywood Fwy (101) to Highland Avenue. South to Franklin Ave. West on Franklin to Fuller, north on Fuller to dead end. Say a prayer to the Parking Fairy that you find parking and park on street.

Getting There Via Surface Streets Coming From the South

Take LaBrea Blvd. north to Franklin Avenue (one block past Hollywood Blvd.)
Make a left and go West one block to Fuller Avenue. Say a prayer to the Parking Fairy that you find parking and park on street.

We meet on the northwest corner of Fuller and Franklin.

What to Wear

Clothes preferably.  If it’s hot, it’s hotter in the canyon. Dress light and wear tennis shoes with traction. If it’s cold, it’s colder in the canyon, but since you’re hiking your body heat will more than make up for it so wear layers that you can take off. Bring water but if you forget, the Water Fairy has water for sale at the gate.

The Court of Public Opinion