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A panoramic photo of Griffith Park from Griffith Observatory across Los Angeles and Hollywood to the Hollywood sign.

Panorama from Griffith Observatory to the Hollywood SignView All Sizes

Griffith Park Observatory commands a spectacular view of Hollywood and Los Angeles. ON a clear day you can see to Catalina.

Griffith Park ObservatoryView All Sizes

Mineral Wells Picnic Area is a set of large grassy lawns covered with shady trees. It is adjacent to a driving range and there is plenty of parking and hiking trails in the area.

Mineral Wells Picnic AreaView All Sizes

JOURNAL : March 4, 2009

Griffith Park - the Heart of Los Angeles

Los Angeles > California > United States

Series Griffith Park - the Heart of Los Angeles

Nestled in the sprawling city of Los Angeles just north of Hollywood and south of Burbank is a vast chunk of wilderness bordered by the Hollywood and Ventura freeways, Interstate 5, and busy Los Feliz Boulevard.

Richly Provisioned

Within its 4,210 acres are —

Nearby, on Riverside Drive, you can rent horses to explore the park's wilderness trails. This was a great way to spend an afternoon one day.

Forest lawn Memorial Cemetary, adjacent to Griffith Park. Coutless celebrities are buried here. On the right is Mt. Sinai Memorial Cemetary. Beyond is the city of Burbank.

Forest Lawn Memorial CemetaryView All Sizes

The grassy lawn and monument in front of Griffith Park Observatory.

In Front of Griffith Park ObservatoryView All Sizes

Griffith Park resembles a Heart

The city of Glendale from Mineral Wells Trail. In the foreground is the Harding and Wilson Municipal Golf Course. Beyond is Mt. Wilson and the Angeles National Forest.

The City of GlendaleView All Sizes

At its feet sits the celebrity-stocked Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn memorial park, and several prized Disney properties including ABC, Imagineering and Disney Parks & Resorts where I used to work. Mulholland Highway begins its fabulous journey as a mere dirt road squirreling near the summit of Mt. Hollywood.

Hula hooping on the helipad

Hoopsters on the Helipad

Pretty Popular Place

Over 10 million folks visit Griffith Park every year. Any given weekend it's swarming with people recreating: hiking, biking, walking, playing, picnicking, hula hooping, drumming, golfing, motorcycling, horseback riding, etc.

So far I've done all those except drumming and golfing.

Equestrians on the dusty stretch of Mulholland Hwy before it hits civilization and becomes paved. Riding horses is a popular activity and horses can be rented at many places along Riverside Drive such as the Los Angeles Equestrian Center.

Equestrians on Mulholland HwyView All Sizes

Movie Location

With its close proximity to Hollywood, Griffith Park has provided the stage for numerous movies including Rebel Without a Cause, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Birth of a Nation, Earth Girls are Easy and Back to the Future I and II.

The setting is remote yet metropolitan. It's an oasis within the endless urban spread of Los Angeles and a great place to see panoramic views of Hollywood, Glendale and Burbank. On a clear day after a good rain even Catalina Island is visible. To the north are the Verdugo Mountains and San Fernando Valley, to the west are the Santa Monica Mountains. Vital freeways wrap around like arteries. The Los Angeles River flows lovingly along two sides.

If L.A. has a heart, it's Griffith Park.

A grove of trees in Vermont Canyon. Just off camera to the left is Mt. Hollywood. Right below where this photo was taken is the Greek Theater.

Vermont CanyonView All Sizes

A Very Brief History

The area has a long and colorful history dating back thousands of years. Artifacts from a town of indigenous people have been recovered in Fern Dell Canyon. Around 1800 it became Rancho Los Feliz and passed through various hands until it was acquired by its namesake Colonel Griffith J. Griffith who bequeathed it to the City of Los Angeles.

Walkers & Bikers on Mt. Hollywood Drive

Walkers & Bikers on Mt. Hollywood DriveView All Sizes

A beautiful Eucalyptus grove near Mineral Wells Trail. A stunning variety of tropical and desert plants thrived amongst the trees.

Eucalyptus Grove near Mineral Wells TrailView All Sizes

Eucalyptus Grove

One Sunday afternoon we gorged on Subway sandwiches at Mineral Wells Picnic Area and then hula hooped for a bit to aid digestion. At the top of a hill near Mineral Wells Trail we came upon a Eucalyptus grove decked out with a remarkable diversity of flowers, herbs, shrubs and succulents. This hidden treasure sported fantastic views of the golf courses and Glendale.

Travel Town Railroad Museum at the foot of Griffith Park.

Travel Town Railroad MuseumView All Sizes

My Honda CBR600RR with Mt. Hollywood in the background. Griffith Park is excellent for a pleasant ride, but Mt. Hollywood Drive has many rough patches and is not recommended for motorcycling.

Mt. HollywoodView All Sizes

Upon entering Fern Dell it is immediately lush and tropical. The two walkways which flank the gentle stream and its many waterfalls.

Entering Fern DellView All Sizes

The next Sunday hoop guru Isaac Prado presented us with two hand-made hoops and we hiked up to the helipad high above the cityscape and hula hooped late into the afternoon.

Hula hooping on the helipad

What a Workout!

Jennifer discovered many herbs growing along the grassy paths we trekked. I'll have to get her to write them down. She makes an herbal salve and breast massage oil from organic and ethically wildcrafted herbs and is very knowledgeable about these things.

Jennifer finds herbs

Jennifer finds herbs

Me, I just like the greenery.

Kanoa in the grass

A nice grassy path

Photos here are from various visits during the spring. Regular rains have flooded the scenery with greenery. A nasty fire in 2007 scorched thousands of trees, spurring overgrown undergrowth.

Jennifer finds herbs

Jennifer & Windsong

Lush Fern Dell

Lush Fern Dell

Jennifer in Fern Dell

Jen in Fern Dell

Fern Dell

This is certainly one of the most beautiful features of Griffith Park. This lush tropical garden resembles Kauai more than dry Southern California. Walkways follow a meandering stream as it pours gently over several waterfalls and feeds the hydrophilic flora. In the photo below are three of my favorite plants — prehistoric Australian Tree Ferns, delicate Maidenhair Ferns, and the leafy monstera deliciosa.

In Fern Dell you never know when an orange-clad monk will come walking down the path to Enlightenment.

A hillside covered with orange daisies.

Hillside Patch of Orange DaisiesView All Sizes

Downtown Los Angeles from the Helipad up on Griffith Park.

Los Angeles from the HelipadView All Sizes

The Hollywood Sign on Mt. Lee

The Hollywood Sign on Mt. LeeView All Sizes

Griffith Park Observatory commands a spectacular view of Hollywood and Los Angeles. ON a clear day you can see to Catalina.

About this day

Griffith Park - the Heart of Los Angeles

March 4, 2009

Los Angeles > California > United States

Tags   Hiking · Parks · Motorcycling · Walkabout · Favorites

Los Angeles Series | All United States Locations

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