It’s nice to be reminded that Los Angeles isn’t just a traffic-ridden smoggy city. It’s also full of nature, hikes, and preserved parks. This hike starts at Beachwood Canyon and takes you to the base of the Hollywood sign, and it’s a great quick walk for experiencing some quiet nature in the city of LA.
The hike is equal parts residential and wilderness. Parking in the area of Beachwood Canyon, you begin the hike walking through the eclectic array of fancy Hollywood homes. I always wonder if it would be lovely to live in those unique homes – great views, quietly looking over the city—or inconvenient because of the tight roads and the distance to the nearest store. But they are fun to look at nonetheless!
My dad suggested we take this hike that he found in the LA Times from stair-hiker Charles Fleming. The hike begins in Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks, and is about 3 miles roundtrip. Popular on a weekend, this hike starts at the parking lot and begins to curve down into the valley.
We were lucky it was an overcast day because a hike like this, with a lot of it being in open air, would be harsh if it were sunny. Though once we got down into the canyon, the lush overgrowth shaded our dusty walk.
Located right behind campus, up Potrero Road into Thousand Oaks, is Rancho Sierra Vista, a great local hiking place that served as a site for the Chumash as well as Spanish ranching. It is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and includes Boney Mountain, the highest peak there. You can bike along the paved road, hike through the brush and plains, or visit the cultural center to learn more about the history of the Native Americans at this site.
The gate to the former Nazi camp
Within Rustic Canyon in the Santa Monica mountains lies an abandoned bunker called Murphy Ranch that was built in the 1930s to serve as a Nazi camp for when Hitler planned to take over the US. This place is very well hidden and a really interesting hike to take. I went with my dad, sister, and boyfriend and we began the hike by parking in a residential area at the edge of the canyon. A couple twists and turns took us to a trail where we saw many bikers and dog walkers. This trail gave us a great view all the way to the ocean! We eventually came across a fence with barbed wire that served as the edge of the camp. Further down was the deteriorating entrance gate that can be seen in the photo below.