5 Best Oakland to Do in Oakland

To the trailhead

From Hollywood, take Highland Avenue north past the Hollywood Bowl, curving left onto Cahuenga Boulevard West. Continue one mile to Barham Boulevard. Turn right and cross over the Hollywood Freeway. Drive 0.2 miles to Lake Hollywood Drive and turn right. Follow the winding Lake Hollywood Drive through a residential neighborhood for 0.8 miles to the Hollywood Reservoir entrance gate on the right. Park alongside the road.

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From the Hollywood Freeway/Highway 101, take the Barham Boulevard Exit, and head north 0.2 miles to Lake Hollywood Drive. Turn right and drive 0.8 miles to the Hollywood Reservoir entrance gate on the right.

Runyon Canyon Park is a sprawling 130-acre preserve minutes from the heart of Hollywood. The popular preserve was purchased by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the city of Los Angeles in the mid 1980s. The off-leash dog park is among the most popular and heavily used open spaces in the Santa Monica Mountains. This hike begins from the lower trailhead at the north end of Fuller Ave, just two blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard. The trail loops around the chaparral-clad hillsides of Runyon Canyon and crosses a broad gorge overlooking the urban canyon wilderness and Hollywood. The loop passes the ruins of a pool house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and occupied by Errol Flynn in the late 1950s. Remnants of the old foundation, tennis courts, and exotic landscaping are all that remain of the ruined oasis.

To the trailhead

At the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Highland Avenue in Hollywood, drive 0.3 miles west on Franklin to Fuller Avenue. Turn right (north) and continue 0.5 miles to The Pines gate at the end of the road. Park along the street where a space is available.

The hike

Walk through The Pines entrance gate at the north end of Fuller Avenue into Runyon Canyon Park. A short distance past the entrance is a trail junction. Begin the loop to the left, hiking clockwise. Curve along the south end of the park to a second trail split. The left fork, straight ahead, climbs the west ridge of Runyon Canyon (Hike 40). Instead, veer right and traverse the west canyon slope, parallel to the canyon floor on the paved path. Follow the chaparral-covered hillside with drought-resistant evergreens on a gentle uphill grade. Make a horseshoe right bend to the east side of the canyon and a posted junction. The left fork climbs to the upper trailhead at Mulholland Drive. For this hike, veer right to Cloud’s Rest, an overlook on the right with benches and 360-degree panoramas. The main trail continues along the east canyon ridge, descending to Inspiration Point, a level area with a bench that overlooks Hollywood. Pass the Wright/Flynn pool house ruins, and descend to the canyon floor, completing the loop. Return to the trailhead on the left. I

Runyon Canyon Park is a gorgeous mountain park in the Hollywood Hills. The 130-acre park stretches from the base of the mountains at the congested edge of Hollywood to Mulholland Drive atop the scenic mountain ridge. A vehicle-restricted fire road runs through the center of the park. The park is an extremely popular hiking, jogging, and off-leash dog-walking park. (It is especially crowded on weekends.) This hike begins from the upper reaches of the park, with spectacular views of the surrounding hills, the “HOLLYWOOD” sign, Griffith Park Observatory, the San Gabriel Mountains, and the Los Angeles basin. The hike forms a loop along the west ridge of Runyon Canyon and returns up the canyon floor.

From the Hollywood Freeway/Highway 101 in Hollywood, take the Barham Boulevard exit. Turn left on Cahuenga Boulevard and drive a half mile to Mulholland Drive. Turn right and an immediate left onto Mulholland Drive. Continue 1.5 miles on the winding road to the trailhead parking lot on the left at Runyon Canyon Road.

The hike

Pass through the trailhead gate and descend on the paved path. Skirt around Indian Rock to a trail split at 300 yards. Begin the loop to the right, and head uphill on the dirt road. Pass a park access trail from Solar Drive, which leads to the Trebec Open Space on the right. Gain elevation while enjoying views across Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. Bend right as vistas open up to the coast. Cross the ridge between Runyon Canyon and Nichols Canyon, and weave over a rock formation. Continue south atop the ridge to Middle Rock, a spectacular overlook with 360-degree vistas. Using careful footing, sharply descend the knoll on a loose gravel and sand path. Steadily descend along the spine to a flat area near the bottom. Veer left and walk through a eucalyptus forest along the south face of the hill to a junction. The right fork leads to the Fuller Avenue Trailhead at the south end of the park (Hike 39).

Bear left on the paved path, and follow the west wall of Runyon Canyon on a gentle uphill grade. Wind up the canyon wall, and make a horseshoe right bend to the east side of the canyon and a posted junction. The right fork follows the lower loop, leading to Cloud’s Rest and Inspiration Point. For this hike, curve left, staying on the paved path and completing the loop. Return to the trailhead 300 yards straight ahead.

The 26-acre park stretches 1.6 miles between Ocean Avenue and the sandstone cliffs. The gorgeous landscaped grounds are filled with palm, oak, and eucalyptus trees lining the paved and natural paths. Throughout the park are gardens with exotic and native plants, benches, and a few gazebos. A pedestrian bridge and stairway connect the park to the wide, sandy beach. The south end of the park has direct access onto the Santa Monica Pier.

To the trailhead

Palisades Park is on the oceanfront bluffs in Santa Monica. The 1.6-mile-long park is located at the west end of Colorado Avenue, Santa Monica Boulevard, Wilshire Boulevard, Montana Avenue, and San Vicente Boulevard. Park along the oceanfront park in an available metered parking space. Parking may also be available on the Santa Monica Pier at the end of Colorado Avenue.

The hike

Begin the hike by strolling along the bluffs on the parallel paths, enjoying the vistas, people, and landscaping. From the south end of the park at Colorado Avenue bear right and head out onto the Santa Monica Pier.

To return, descend steps on the north side of the pier, and follow the paved boardwalk 400 yards to the bridge crossing over the PCH. Cross the bridge and climb the eroding cliffs on brick steps, re-entering Palisades Park by the historic cannon.

To continue along the coast from the Santa Monica Pier, hike south on the Santa Monica Beach Promenade (Hike 42).

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