Runyon Canyon Park
Los Angeles CA 90046
- Mon: 12pm-1pm
- Tue: 12pm-1pm
- Wed: 12pm-1pm
- Thu: 12pm-1pm
- Fri: 12pm-1pm
- Sat: 12pm-1pm
With some of the best views in Los Angeles, Runyon Canyon Park is not only this sprawling city's premier urban hiking destination, but is also a dog, people and celeb-watching paradise. Hundreds of fast-moving hikers, selfie-taking hipsters, models in full makeup, serious dog walkers and personal trainers barking at their well-outfitted clients show up daily for a sweat-inducing workout. And while Runyon is a family-friendly place, babies and toddlers in strollers are not recommended as paths are rocky, narrow and steep. Dogs seem to own Runyon as their masters bring them along for both on- and off-leash activities. At the top, out-of-breath hikers are rewarded with sweeping views of the Hollywood sign, downtown L.A., Griffith Observatory, The Sunset Strip and even the Pacific Ocean (on clear days). Tip: Wear sneakers, bring water, slather on sunscreen and/or wear a hat and watch out for dog droppings.
How to get to Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park sprawls over 130 acres with five different entrances. The most popular entrance is at the very north end of L.A.'s Fuller Avenue with the nearby Vista Street gates as a secondary opening. With no parking lot per se, hikers are dependent on this quiet neighborhood's street parking, which is very limited and highly regulated (follow the signs to avoid tickets!). Smart tourists take Uber, Lyft or a taxi to either the Fuller or (the more remote) Mulholland Drive entrances. Taking the bus? Metro Bus 217 rides along Hollywood Boulevard with stops at Fuller and Gardner (for Vista entrance).
Best times to visit Runyon Canyon Park
Weekend mornings are the busiest times with hundreds of people flooding into Runyon, especially at the Fuller entrance, although weekday mornings can be just as congested. The best times to visit are at sunset when the crowds abate and the sun goes down. Runyon Canyon provides little shade, so be sure to be extra cautious on hot and sunny days when it comes to overheating.
Admission to Runyon Canyon Park
Runyon Canyon Park is a city park, so admission is free. Don't miss the honor-style snack cart just to the left of the Fuller Avenue gates.
Must see and do at Runyon Canyon Park
Five trails wind through Runyon Canyon and have varying degrees of difficulty with a three-mile full loop. The most popular trails start at the Fuller entrance including the most easy and paved "central fire road," the more difficult "inspiration point" and "clouds rest" and the most treacherous "western trail," which has the best views at the park's highest point, Indian Rock. Remnants of a house and pool built by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright can be seen on the lower canyon trail just south of Indian Rock.
Other places to visit near Runyon Canyon Park
Skip the expensive and snooty Aroma Café at the intersection of Fuller and Sunset Boulevard and head to local watering holes in L.A.'s 90046 such as El Compadre (Mexican), TOI (Thai), Cheebo (California casual), John Kelly Chocolates (a real chocolatier), Elderberries (vegan), Vintage Wine Bar (wines and apps), The Pikey (modern pub grub), Chipotle (corner of Stanley and Sunset) and Griddle Cafe (best pancakes in L.A.). Also don't miss the world-famous actor's book store, Samuel French Bookshop, and rocker's heaven, Guitar Center.
Worried about parking? Come right after noon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays (street sweeping days) at the Fuller and Vista entrances when spots are plentiful. Alternatively, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are the worst days and times for Vista and Fuller street parking.
Author's bio; Sheryll Alexander is loving life in the heart of L.A.'s 90046. She has been published in Travel+Leisure, AOL, and Gayot and runs a social media-based content and publicity business.