This lede pretty well writes itself.
The category: “Generous Game Show Hosts.”
For $200, the answer: “Who donated 74 acres of prime space in the heart of Hollywood to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy 15 years ago?”
Ding, ding! The question: Who is Alex Trebek?
This two-parter begins with the more challenging hike in Runyan , so anyone who has to leave early and miss the stunningly-beautiful views from Trebek can do so.
We’ll take the road less traveled up Western High Way to High Point (~ 1,220 ft.), where we’ll see the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and the downtown, Hollywood, Century City and Santa Monica skylines. We’ll continue on to Indian Rock (~ 1,320 ft.) for the Valley views, take a side trip to the Mulholland parking lot and head back via the East Ridge. We’ll stop at Cloud’s Rest, take some tall, wood-beamed steps to Inspiration Point, and then a fire road back to our starting point. For those game for Trebek, we’ll divide up and carpool to the trailhead.
Except for one short section, Trebek is a more gradual ascent than Runyan. We’ll start on the Bantam Trail and take a sharp left up to Astral Drive for its panoramic views of the Valley, then double back to our turning point, taking in views of rustic Nichols Canyon and its not-so-rustic mansions, and more urban skylines and possibly Palos Verdes and Catalina if it’s clear. We’ll continue straight on Bantam, with its great view of the Western High Way at Runyan and the mountains further east.
We’ll continue on a use trail to connect with Castair. This section, about 1/5 mile long, is slippery and steep, so may require some fun butt-surfing, but there are no drop-offs on either side of it. You may want to bring gloves to help you “spider walk” down. Once we’re down, we’ll continue west and down into the Canyon, then turn around at a gate and return the way we came. Thanks to ModernHiker.com for the heads up about this trail.
After we return to Runyan, you may want to take a short walk around the pretty grounds of Wattles Mansion
and its community gardens. There are free yoga classes for all levels daily at Runyan Canyon, including at 10:30 am, 2 pm and 6 pm on Saturdays. Bring a mat and a donation, and walk back to the Fuller Ave. entrance to the park (about three blocks east of Wattles), where the classes are taught on the lawn just inside on the left.
Note: due to some scrambling in part one and carpooling for part two, we’ll be limiting this to 20 hikers. Please don’t sign up just to hold a space unless you’re sure you can make it. If you’ve signed up and your plans change, remember to change your RSVP by Thursday night at the latest so those on the waitlist can be cleared.
Level: Moderate/Advanced Beginner
Gain: 700+/ 400+
Distance: ~ 3.5/~3.25
Time: 2 hrs./1.5 hrs.
Type: Loop, single track and fire road/Two out-and-back trails, single and wide-track.
Both trails are completely exposed.
Dogs: Permitted on leash (but note parts of Runyan are quite steep)
Water: Available at the Runyan trailhead, top and bottom, but not at the Trebek trail.
Restrooms: Not available at trailheads (there is a gas station on the southwest corner of Highland and Franklin)
Parking: Free street parking with restrictions that vary by block. Details below; read posted street signs carefully to avoid being ticketed.
Bring: Hat, sunscreen, water, snacks to share. You also may want poles for some portions of the Runyan route and gloves for the steep section in Trebek.
For GPS purposes, the address for Wattles Park where we’ll be meeting is 1824 N. Curson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046. From the Hollywood Fwy (101), exit Highland Ave. and go South to Franklin Ave. Go West on Franklin until it ends on Sierra Bonita. Turn South on Sierra Bonita and look for parking per the directions below.
Please read all parking signs carefully and carpool if possible. This is a centrally-located and popular hiking spot and nearby, unrestricted parking is limited. This info is correct to my knowledge, but you’re responsible to
confirm the spot you choose is available and unrestricted for the period of the hike.
• Choice #1:the east side of Sierra Bonita, north of Hollywood Hollywood Blvd. (no parking restrictions).
• #2: Hollywood Blvd. (also no restrictions on Saturdays)
• #3: For those not going to Trebek, there are also plenty of diagonal parking spaces with two-hour limits on Franklin between N. Vista and N. Fuller (east of Sierra Bonita. These are posted as 9 am – 6 pm, but I spoke to a parking officer and we’re fine to park before 8 am (and we’ll be done by 11:00 am at Runyan).
Here’s a map.
When we return, we’ll carpool to the Trebek trailhead, which is less than 1.5 miles away (but parking at the trailhead is limited).
Trebek carpool drivers: take Hollywood Blvd. west four blocks and turn R (north) on Nichols Canyon. Drive 1.3 miles (turning R at the stop sign about 1.1 miles in to continue on Nichols Canyon). At a point where the road turns sharply left (there will be a house with a redwood fence on the left), turn R into the free parking area at the entrance to the Bantam Trail. There is a green, “Mountains Recreations and Conservation Authority FIRE PREVENTION” sign in the lot. This is a blind curve, so when leaving, you’ll want to turn R out of the parking area and continue up the Canyon to any of several turnaround spots before heading down.
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The Organizer, Assistant Organizers and event hosts in this group are not professional guides. The function of the organizer is only to organize the trip. Each person who signs up for a trip/meetup/ or outing is responsible for his or her own safety and the safety of his or her guests. By signing up for a hike, or any other event organized by this group, you are acknowledging that you are aware and have made your guests aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with any outdoor activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the Organizer, Assistant Organizers and event hosts of this Meetup Group from and against any and all liability arising from your and your guest's participation in the group activities.