Best Overlook + Best in Beer
Hike at O'Melveny Park and Get Beers at San Fernando Valley Brewing Company
Hard climbs should reward with the best views … and the old adage is true at O’Melveny Park in Granada Hills. It’s arguably home to the best overlook of the north San Fernando Valley. But it’s one heck of a challenging ascent! You’ll gain nearly 1,000 feet over this 3.25-mile loop.
Park in the lot or on the street and head for the wide dirt trail on the right side of the citrus grove (labeled O’Melveny Trail). The 672-acre park is the second largest in Los Angeles (only Griffith is bigger in the city) and was donated by Henry O’Melveny, who once used the land for grazing cattle, growing citrus, and breeding bulldogs. The trail passes under massive trees, including oaks and eucalyptus, and alongside a huge grassy picnic area. You’ll also pass a trail junction for the shorter Lookout Loop Trail on your right, but continue straight into Bee Canyon, where the path begins its grueling climb.
As the trail switchbacks, you get a variety of views in all directions—from the massive sandstone walls and ridges of the canyon (look for a lone palm jutting out amongst the rocks) to the sprawl of SFV suburban neighborhoods below (look for the large reservoir to the southeast). With more leg-busting scaling comes more views that stretch out to the downtown skyline as well as the hulking San Gabriels. The heavenly panoramas are truly unique perspectives of the City of Angels, and the trails are less-trafficked than Griffith.
After nearly 2 miles, you reach a junction—take the steep path to your right for more of a challenge to get to Mission Point (highest point in the park), if your legs can take it. Otherwise, continue on and turn left at the four-way junction to begin your descent on the Grotto Trail. The rolling hills and grassy meadows here provide a peaceful juxtaposition to the steep terrain. We recommend hiking boots (poles optional) to keep your footing and guarantee your safe enjoyment of the continuous valley overlook. Ignore any spur trails heading west (for those curious, these lead to an alternate fire road route to the 2,730-foot Mission Point). After a bridge crossing over the dry bed of Bee Canyon Creek, you’ll be back at the grove (don’t pick the grapefruits!).
BONUS BREW: Every challenging adventure deserves its rewards, and bonus if it’s a local business! Head to the nearby San Fernando Brewing Company to taste some ales. Everything is good, but you can’t not try the eponymous O’Melveny Red Ale after your journey. We also like Stoney Point Nitro Stout (also named after a nearby park), Wolfskill IPA, and any of their limited offerings. Get your pumpkin fix this season (November 2022) with the brewery's taproom cans of Pumpkin Pi Ale, sure to be a crowd pleaser at dinner parties.
To get to the O’Melveny Park entrance (and trailhead), take the I-210 to Yarnell St. and exit south. Take an immediate right onto Foothill Blvd., followed by a left onto Balboa Ave. (look for the Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades here!). After 0.8 mile, take a right onto Sesnon Blvd. which deposits you at the park after half a mile. Alternatively, take the CA-118 to the Balboa Ave. exit and head north for 3 miles to Sesnon Blvd. Dog-friendly!
Story and photos by Matt Pawlik
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