January 12, 2008

Hike Report: Verdugo Mountains

For many residents of Burbank and the San Fernando Valley, the Verdugo Hills are just a pretty backdrop at best, or, at worst, an annoying obstacle that one must drive around in order to reach the Crescenta Valley. However, for those who enjoy hiking or mountain biking, they present a wonderful opportunity to experience a little bit of nature right in the middle of the L.A. megalopolis.

My friend Dave and I hiked to the top of these 3,000 foot mountains today. We began our hike at Wildwood Canyon, and headed up the steep trail which, for the most part, follows a ridge all the way to the top. It was perfect weather; Dave and I both wore shorts and t-shirts. The area we hiked through was burned by a brush fire about two years ago, but is starting to recover.

Upon reaching the top, we had a commanding view of not only the San Fernando Valley, but the entire L.A. basin. In the picture below, you can see downtown L.A., about 12 miles away. The L.A. Zoo is in the hills to the lower right; Burbank is even more to the right, beyond the edge of the photo. The smoke to the left was from a major accident that took place this morning where several L.A. freeways meet, involving a truck carrying tires that caught on fire. I'm glad I was above, and not in, that mess!

There are several nice view spots along the way. Here's Dave at one of them:

There is also the remains of what everyone refers to as the "Old Youth Camp," but about which no one seems to know anything. I learned that several different groups, including some boy scouts from L.A., have claimed that it was "their" camp, but no one has any documentation or photos showing this place in use, or even proving what it was used for.

Dave told me that a number of people run these trails instead of merely hiking them. Well, my legs are used to running on flat land, so I'll pass on the running. At least for now.

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