Runyon Canyon - Los Angeles, CA
Chances are, if you live in Los Angeles you've heard about Runyon Canyon. This is one of the most popular canyons in Hollywood, and with good reason; the trails offer great workouts, incredible panoramic views and some of the best people watching you could hope for!
If you live in the Hollywood area I definitely recommend these trails as an alternative to working out indoors. Runyon offers a number of different routes with different levels of difficulty - perfect for just about everyone (and their four legged friends). Whether you're looking to take a leisurely stroll or really work up a sweat - you will definitely be satisfied.
There are a couple different ways to get into the park - this is sacred information because parking can get seriously competitive up there depending on where you decide to begin your hike.
Fuller Street Entrance - Personally, I think this is the most popular area to enter the park, and by no coincidence, the most difficult area to snag a parking spot. If you find yourself circling the blocks with no luck, my advice would be to head down closer to Hollywood Blvd. on one of the side streets - but READ THE PARKING SIGNS - there is nothing worse than coming back to your car after an excellent hike to find a $75 dollar ticket.
The Fuller entrance is closest to the Yoga area and you'll find a nice little vendor with water and snacks that are priced based on the honor system.
N. Vista Street Entrance - Parking in this area is a little less stressful - but as mentioned before, keep your eye on the parking signs. Vista, Gardener and Sierra Bonita have some restricted areas.
To enter the park from here, just take Vista all the way up the hill until it dead ends and you're forced to hang a right - you can't miss it. This entrance drops you at the base of the both the easier and most difficult of the three main trails.
Runyon Canyon Road Entrance - Okay, I'll be honest. Never been to this entrance, mainly because it's just not convenient for me from where I live, but also because I like to make my way up to the top from the bottom. However, I can imagine it's great for those of you who are looking to experience Runyon as more of a scenic / leisurely trip rather than a workout.
I pulled the below map from the Runyon Canyon website. It offers some really great insight on all three of the main trails and also has some great tid-bits about other areas of the park. If you haven't been to the Runyon Canyon website it's definitely worth a visit - they have great information on other activities in the park like yoga, group work outs etc. and also offer some great health and wellness tips and even an area to shop!
View Runyon Canyon Park in a larger map
While Runyon is a great workout spot and place to unwind after a long day at the office, if you're looking for a more serene, secluded hike, these probably aren't the trails for you. You will almost never find yourself alone on these trails - and it only gets worse on the weekends. You often find yourself caught between dog walkers and tourists (which leads to some great people watching and eaves dropping) - still I find myself on these hills on a regular basis, and I hold a fond place for this park in my heart. It's a must if you're new to LA or just haven't gotten around to doing it.
Let me know what you think and feel free to leave your own insider tips and tricks on this Hollywood staple.