Southern California Sunset Spots

11.29.12


Glow Time

The days may be shorter, but there’s a bright side to "Dark by 5". Autumn and winter’s low-sitting sun bring brilliant colors to sunsets in the Southland. Bask in the glow via short hikes to prime vistas.


Trebek Open Space Sunset

I'll Take "Sunsets for 100"

Question: Where would the host of Jeopardy go to watch an LA sunset in peace and quiet? Answer: Trebek Open Space. Set in the Hollywood Hills next to über-popular Runyon Canyon, this less-traveled, 62-acre open space was donated to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy by famous answer-giver Alex Trebek. Starting from a turnout on Nichols Canyon Road, it’s a short 1-mile (round-trip) jaunt up Bantam Trail to a ridge-top landing with a sweeping view of the Southland. Downtown LA glows pink to the east as the contours of Century City rise to the west where the waters of Santa Monica Bay glitter golden. Hollywood’s lights lend their signature blend of bright as the sun vanishes behind the ridges. Nice performance!

BONUS: Keep the theme glowing on Sunset Boulevard. Bossa Nova (7181 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles) serves signature Brazilian sandwiches, including the tasty Havana with caramelized bananas and melted cheese.

From Hollywood Blvd., drive 1.3 miles up Nichols Canyon Rd. to a pullout on the right at the start of Bantam Trail (map). Hike through the black gate up the east side of Nichols Canyon on the wide dirt fire road to a landing on the ridge at the end of the trail. Dog-friendly!

Brentwood Sunset Canyonback Trail

Swing Set

Ready for your Norman Rockwell-meets-Instagram holiday photo that’s unabashedly LA? Head to the mountains above Brentwood where an ocean view sunset is best enjoyed from a wooden swing suspended on a large, lone oak. Get to it on a 2-mile (round-trip) hike up Canyonback Trail. The ocean views are with you from the start as you ascend a dirt service road. Keep going until you see the solo oak bursting from the sagebrush on the ridge above. A spur trail leads right to it. Grab a seat on the room-for-two swing (there’s also a tire swing) and take in the glow below: Santa Monica Bay shimmers to the southwest along the coastline, and to the east the Getty Museum sits like a beacon above LA. The trail continues past the oak tree to a high point, where a bench marks the spot for another great vantage. As the sun bids goodnight, the sky ripples in purple and I-405 becomes a river of lights cutting through the city. No Photoshop needed for this techno-cool display. Only in LA.

From I-405, exit on Sunset Blvd. and drive 1.5 miles west to Kenter Ave. Turn north and drive 2.1 miles to the top of the road and park (map). There is a gate at the trailhead that locks at 8:00 p.m., but with the sun setting by 5:00 p.m. this time of year, there’s plenty of time to hike back without getting locked in. Hike up the ridge through the gate on a paved road, making the first right on a dirt service road following the utility poles. After 2/3 of a mile, break off the trail to the left toward the tree, reaching it after another 0.15 miles. Dog-friendly!

Ascot Hills Park

Great Ascot!

Sometimes the skyline’s the limit, and that’s a good thing if you’re visiting Ascot Hills Park, an 83-acre urban respite that offers a winter sunset to remember. A 1-mile loop passes over the park’s highest hill—an excellent spot for seeing the sun sink behind LA’s downtown skyline, creating a fiery silhouette. Get there a bit before the magic hour because the iconic views are mapped to bucket-list precision, including the San Gabriel Mountains and the white domes atop the Mount Wilson Observatory as well as the Hollywood Sign above the Griffith Park Observatory. As daylight slips away, the glowing orange orb to the west thins across the horizon and becomes eclipsed by skyscrapers. Simply sun-sational.

TIP: Ascot Hills Park closes at sunset, so be sure to make your way back before it’s too dark.

From I-10 east of downtown LA, take exit 19 onto Soto St. and drive north for 1.2 miles to Multnomah St. Turn right, drive 0.3 miles and make a left into Ascot Hills Park, located at 4371 Multnomah St. (map). Drive up to the parking lot on the right and hike north between the park’s two ridges. After 0.2 miles, turn right up a draw in the eastern ridge. Turn right at the top, hiking along the spine of the ridge to the sunset view at the top of the hill. Descend another quarter mile south down the ridge back to the parking lot. Dog-friendly!

Squaw's Ultimate Winter Adventure

World-famous slopes, a lively après scene, and luxury lodging all come together in the ultimate resort package from the Village at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe! This special offer starts at just $71/person per night, and gives you the 3rd night free. You’ll also get a great discount on lift tickets to Squaw Valley—named the best ski resort in North America by Outside magazine. Last season, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows combined to offer 6,000 acres of unbeatable terrain serviced by 43 lifts. Book your stay at the Village at Squaw Valley and get your 3rd night free for condo-style accommodations set slope-side in the heart of the action: Shopping, spa treatments, dining, expansive outdoor fire pits, and more. Start packing for powder!

BONUS: A lively night scene, a beautiful lake setting, and the Sierra’s best terrain make Squaw Valley the No. 1 ski resort in North America. Book your three-night stay at the Village at Squaw Valley, and the 3rd night’s on the house.

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