To the trailhead
Go to the intersection of Los Feliz Boulevard and Crystal Springs Drive in Hollywood in the southeast area of Griffith Park. (To arrive at this intersection from the Golden State Freeway/I-5, take the Los Feliz Boulevard exit. Drive west a short distance to Crystal Springs Drive.) Drive 1.3 miles north on Crystal Springs Drive to the merry-go-round turnoff on the left.
5 Best Sacramento to Do in Sacramento Photo Gallery
Turn left and park in the first parking lot.
From Highway 134/Ventura Freeway in Burbank, take the Victory Boulevard exit. Drive south to a T-junction with Zoo Drive. Turn left on Zoo Drive and continue 2.1 miles to the merry-go-round turnoff on the right. (En route, Zoo Drive becomes Crystal Springs Drive.) Turn right and park in the first parking lot.
From the parking lot, walk back to the entrance road and the vehicle gate.
The Lower Beacon Trail is directly across the road. Walk 75 yards to the right on the paved road to the Fern Canyon Nature Trail on the left. Continue on the paved road for 55 yards (straight ahead) to a second junction. Leave the paved road and veer left on the Fern Canyon Trail, a dirt road. Walk 80 yards to a Y-fork. Begin the loop to the left, staying on the Fern Canyon Trail for 60 yards to a junction with the Old Zoo Trail. The left fork (straight ahead) leads to Beacon Hill (Hike 28). Instead, veer right on the Old Zoo Trail and head uphill into the trees. Skirt the back (west) side of the Old Zoo as prominent Bee Rock comes into view at a half mile. Gently descend into the shade of pines and oaks. On a horseshoe right bend is seasonal Spring Creek and a rock grotto. Cross over the stream to an unsigned trail on the right, our return route.
For now, continue straight ahead and descend to a 4-way junction at 0.7 miles. The right fork descends to the Old Zoo Picnic Area. The Mineral Wells Trail continues straight ahead, then curves right. For this hike, take the Bee Rock Trail to the left, and traverse the south canyon slope with scattered oaks. The road/trail curves left and ends by a footpath. Bear left on the path and weave uphill at a steeper grade. Head generally south on the steep, narrow trail. Concrete steps lead up to the perch atop Bee Rock. From the fenced 1,056-foot summit are great vistas of the San Gabriel Mountains and the San Fernando Valley.
Return to the unsigned path at Spring Canyon. Descend to the left along the left side of the waterway to a paved path, part of the Old Zoo pathway.
Go to the right, passing old cell-like cages built in the 1930s that once housed the animals. On the left are expansive lawns. At 100 yards is a junction. The main trail (straight head) weaves downhill, passing abandoned rock animal habitats and returning to the parking lots by the merry-go-round. Take the narrower paved path to the right. Wind along the contours of the hillside, passing more animal cages. Parallel the Old Zoo Trail, completing the loop at the Fern Canyon Trail. Retrace your steps back to the trailhead parking lot. I
Amir’s Garden is a beautifully landscaped garden with rock-lined paths, benches, and picnic tables on layered terraces in Griffith Park. The nearly five-acre oasis contains several species of trees (including pines, palm, eucalyptus, jacaranda, and pepper), ferns, ice plants, geraniums, rose bushes, yucca, and a wide variety of succulents. A network of trails and stairways lead through the lush, shaded grove. The garden was once a barren hillside. Amir Dialameh, a Persian immigrant, created, designed, planted, nurtured, and maintained this idyllic landscape as a labor of love from 1971 until his death in 2003. The garden is currently cared for by volunteers. This hike begins at the Mineral Wells Picnic Area and climbs the hillside to the tranquil garden.
To the trailhead
Go to the intersection of Los Feliz Boulevard and Crystal Springs Drive in Hollywood in the southeast area of Griffith Park. (To arrive at this intersection from the Golden State Freeway/I-5, take the Los Feliz Boulevard exit. Drive west a short distance to Crystal Springs Drive.) Drive 1.5 miles north on Crystal Springs Drive to Griffith Park Drive just past the merry- go-round and turn left. Drive 1.3 miles to the Mineral Wells Picnic Area and park alongside the road.
From Highway 134/Ventura Freeway in Burbank, take the Victory Boulevard exit. Drive south to a T-junction with Zoo Drive. Turn right and drive 2.3 miles to the Mineral Wells Picnic Area. (En route, Zoo Drive becomes Griffith Park Drive.) Park along the road.
At the trailhead is a 3-way junction. The Mineral Wells Trail heads left and right, connecting the Bill Eckert Trail by the Old Zoo with Mount Hollywood
Drive. For this hike, bear right and immediately go left onto the unsigned North Trail. Switchback to the left and curve around a water tank to views of Burbank, Glendale, the Verdugo Mountains, and the majestic San Gabriel Mountains. At a half mile is a trail split. The North Trail continues to the right. Bear left into Amir’s Garden, the lush oasis on the southeast mountain slope. Explore along your own route as the garden paths zigzag across the hillside. Stroll to overlooks and benches among the landscaped grounds. Return along the same route.
To extend the hike, continue up the hill on the North Trail, leading to Mount Bell and Mount Hollywood (Hike 31).
Mount Bell sits in the geographic center of Griffith Park at an elevation of 1,582 feet. It is less than a half mile north of Mount Hollywood, the highest peak in the park. This hike begins at the Mineral Wells Picnic Area and climbs high into the park’s backcountry to Mount Bell. The trail circles the summit, offering spectacular vistas in every direction. En route, the trail visits Amir’s Garden, a 5-acre hillside oasis.