We have hiked to Mission Peak twice already, but never yet on the weekend and this route is different from those other hikes. In particular, this hike is (a) SIGNIFICANTLY more beautiful, and (b) SIGNIFICANTLY more challenging due to the several short, but STEEP sections, both going up the O'Melveny Trail and coming down the Grotto Trail.
Because of this, I strongly advise you to wear hiking boots with lug soles, not walking/running shoes, or you may very well fall on your buttinsky. Thankfully, there are few loose stones on this hike, and trail conditions are excellent, but there is some loose dirt on a few of these really steep sections that I caution you about.
Sidebar: I encourage you to bring wine or other libations and/or snacks to share on this wonderful hike! It's Saturday night, and by the time we get back to our vehicles, the influence will be worn off. (If not, make sure you have a designated driver, ok????)
I include a few pictures below, and here is a link to a GPS track (http://alltrails.com/tracks/track-aug-24-455-pm) of the hike, where you can see for yourself the route, additional pictures and the elevation profile (which is curious).
This hike will be led by Alan Cueba, retired Captain of the UCLA Police Force, and a wonderful man. Regulars on our Tuesday hikes will recognize Alan as the man who brings a different dog every week! Click HERE (http://www.meetup.com/The-PM-Hikers/members/54054582/) to see Alan's profile, coincidentally with some of his canine hikers at the top of this very trail!
Alan will lead and I'll sweep, bringing up the rear and corralling in the strays so as not to make wrong turns at the few junctions.
At the top there is a stone and plaque memorial to one Mario A. DeCampos, MD. PMH leadership team member Leta (long "E") (http://www.meetup.com/The-PM-Hikers/members/8738571/) told me that the memorial was built by his friends shortly before he died, and they flew him up there in a helicopter so he could see it before he passed. Also at the same location, there is a beautiful stone and concrete "Widower's Bench Dedicated to the Women who Made us Better Men". Alan (remember Alan?) told me he saw the husbands carrying the materials up to this point where they built this beautiful testament to what surely were wonderful women.
Distance: 4.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1430'
Difficulty: Strong intermediate, several VERY STEEP sections both going up and coming down.
Dogs: Yes, but they damn well better be fit
Restrooms: Yes, at trail head
Water Fountain: Yes, at trail head
Parking: Free at park entrance
Trail: Single track and fire road, excellent condition
Sunset: 6:53 pm
Known Dangers: Rattlesnakes, slip-'n-fall, might be ticks on some vegetation. On a scouting pre-hike with Alan and Mark S, another one of my hiking buddies, we had some discussion on whether the bugs we saw were ticks or not. I was wearing shorts and got nary a flea, let alone a tick, but if you are concerned, then long pants would be advisable (light color so as to make the critters more visible so you can brush them off).
Directions: The easiest is to take the Balboa exit going north off the 118 in Grenada Hills and take it a couple miles until you reach Sesnon. Turn left onto Sesnon and take that (not too far, a half mile or so?) until you reach the entrance to O'Melveny Park on your right.
Our hike difficulty categories:
Beginner: No steep sections. Up to 4 miles in distance and no more than 750' elevation gain.
Intermediate: 4-10 miles, and/or up to 2000' elevation gain.
Advanced: More than 10 miles, and/or more than 2000' elevation gain.
Disclaimer / Release of Liability:
You must RSVP to attend this event, no exceptions. Hiking and other outdoor events are inherently dangerous and accidents can happen. By participating in any posted event, you're taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. This Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. You are responsible for you. If you choose to sign up for any events, you are releasing the Group and its organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgement and experience. This applies to any guests you may invite.
This is the park where we will start.. It's beautiful, and is the second largest park in LA, behind (of course) Griffith.
This is a typical view on the first part of the hike going up! The views only get better.
This is a view of the NE part of the SFV from the top, but you can see the entire Valley from here, and even beyond to the islands off the coast.