Runyon canyon is an infamous hiking track located in the hills of West hollywood. I had always wanted to go to but was slightly intimidated at the same time. I was worried I wouldn’t be fit enough to actually make it to the top!! The first time I went I noticed that there wasn’t very clear signs or directions on where you are meant to go. So I ended up just walking up the road until I got to the top and realised that the dirt track was where I actually wanted to come up!
To break it down simply there are two entrances to Runyon, one on North fuller avenue and one on North Vista street. I always take the North fuller entrance as it has just become habit and was less confusing in the beginning. As you walk through the North fuller gates you can either go straight or turn left onto a large dirt track after you pass gated the park area on the left.
Straight= The shorter dirt stairs hike, to me this is what I would call the Runyon track (its actual name is called the east ridge track). You head straight up the concrete path which turns into a dirt road this curves right up the hill, once you are at the lookout the track starts to the left. You really cant miss this one as there is no where else to go. Trust me, if I can find it then it must be pretty straight forward!! This is a shorter hike, with wooden beams and a winding staircase that really gets the legs burning. Once you get the top of this you can either follow the road back down to entrance or veer right and go along the road further to the top.
Left= If you turn left at the dirt track past the gated park area, you end up on the road. Here you have the option of taking the road all the way up to the top, this meets up with the top of Runyon (east track). This road is blocked to the public so its safe to let your pooches off the lead without a worry. About 20 metres up the road there is a dirt track that veers left. I stumbled upon this track one day when I was feeling a little adventurous. I would call this Runyon 2.0 as its a little less touristy and slightly more hidden (actually called the west ridge track). The track becomes much more steep and rocky- a real hike if you ask me! It feels like it might never end, as every time you think you are getting to the top you can see the next higher top just up ahead! This is by far my favourite because the terrain is more challenging and you need to think a little more to make sure you don’t slip! Don’t let me put you off this though- there are chihuahua’s overtaking me most days and there are even people running it! Once you do finally make it to the top the views are breathtaking, as long as you haven’t got one of those smoggy L.A days you should be fine! Once your legs have stopped shaking the walk over the other side is pretty tame. There are timber walkways and staircases that guide you back onto the road. This road takes you all the way back down to North fuller. But if you are like me I always choose to go back down the smaller Runyon track.
My favourite part about this place is the dog watching. Ive never seen a bigger variety of dogs in one place. In L.A its almost mandatory to own a dog considering they are allowed to go everywhere! Up here most owners seem to be walking 2 or 3 dogs, with the strangest combination huge and slow and then tiny and quick. These have to be some of the fittest dogs Ive ever seen as they them seem to do it with such ease. Ive once been overtaken walking up the road track by a dog with three legs in a wheelchair, such a little trooper!
Its best if you do it in the cooler hours of the day as it can get pretty hot up there in the blaring sun. Also taking a bottle of water is must, but if you forget there is a little stall with an honour system that has cold bottles of water for a donation of 1 dollar. If you are an outdoorsy type person then this is a great way to get out of the city without actually going out of the city! If you are looking for something fun, FREE and good for you then this is a great one to tick off the list!