Myths busted! Alien landing site? Indian burial ground? Future rehab center? Or simply, a haunted house? The urban legends and tall tales about the big abandoned mansion at the north end of the park were all laid out in the New York Times today (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/16/us/16hollywood.html?_r=2&hp=&pagewanted=all).
The mansion and the 22 acres of canyonland it sits on -- including portions used by hikers -- is for sale, and the listing boasts, "This is the last big parcel in the Hollywood Hills so bring your developers/contractors and clients who want something rare and unique."
Yikes. . . let's hope no development plans interfere with the enjoyment of this heavily-visited park. But in the meantime, you can get a preview of the unbeatable views we'll enjoy by checking out the property's listing! (http://www.2450solardrive.com/)
We’ll start off with a steep climb up the Western High Way to High Point (~ 1,220 ft), where we can pause to take in views of where we've ventured before . . . to the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory, and Baldwin Hills, as well as downtown, all of Hollywood and Century City.
We’ll continue on to Indian Rock (~ 1,320 ft.) for the Valley views, pass the noted mansion, then take a side trip to the Mulholland parking lot (for future reference), before heading back via the East Ridge. We’ll stop at Cloud’s Rest, take some tall, wood-beamed steps down to Inspiration Point, and then stroll down along a fire road and back to our starting point.
The loop should take about two hours or so. After we return to the parking area, those who have time can peek in to see the grounds of Wattles Mansion. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattles_Mansion)
Total distance – about 3.5 to 4 miles; 1,300+ ft. elevation gain. Dogs on leashes are clearly welcome in the park, but note that the route we are taking is quite steep at the start.
This trail is entirely exposed, so bring a hat/sunscreen, water and snacks to share. Rain Friday night or Saturday morning (and it's in the forecast now) cancels; please check this site before you leave if you're unsure about the status.
From the South/East: 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.
From the North/West: Hollywood Fwy to Laurel Canyon Blvd. South; head East on Franklin Ave. to Sierra Bonita and turn North to park.
PARKING: Please read all parking signs carefully and carpool if possible. There is NO parking on Franklin Ave. before 8 am without a permit, but there is two-hour parking on Sierra Bonita from 6 am on. If parking on Sierra Bonita North of Hollywood is full, try Sierra Bonita South of Hollywood, or Hollywood Blvd.
We’ll meet at the entrance gate to Wattles Mansion/Gardens on the Northwest corner of Franklin Ave. and Sierra Bonita, and walk together from there a few blocks to the Vista St. entrance to the park. Here's a map. (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=North+Sierra+Bonita+and+Franklin+Ave.&sll=33.950177,-117.840853&sspn=0.520599,1.234589&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Franklin+Ave+%26+N+Sierra+Bonita+Ave,+Los+Angeles,+California+90046&ll=34.104911,-118.350992&spn=0.017128,0.038581&z=15)
Shawn’s mobile: 213/[masked]
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.