Not Your Garden Variety View

Hike to a Garden With a View in Griffith Park Los Angeles

As 2021 blooms, head to a vista that's also home to a botanical boon. In Griffith Park, the natural heart of LA, enjoy fantastic florals by climbing 300 feet over a 1-mile out-and-back hike that's viewtiful. Enter Amir’s Garden!

After a 1970 brushfire, Iranian immigrant and hiking enthusiast Amir Dialameh received permission from the city to voluntarily re-vegetate the area and did so almost entirely alone until he passed away in 2003. A group of volunteers continued to maintain it in Amir’s honor and with respect to his famous quote (which you can find on a small memorial sign)—“in the land of the free, plant a tree”—before the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks took over in 2018. This collaborative community effort across multiple years and entities is definitely inspiring and creates the kind of positive vibes we need in 2021.

Two hikers giving the thumbs up on a hiking trail to Amir

Park at the Mineral Wells Picnic Area and head to the fire road across the street (Griffith Park Drive). The dirt path immediately ascends and doesn’t let up until you reach the garden. Your short, intensive workout is worth it, though, as the panoramic views to the east are constant—look for the hulking San Gabriels and prominent peaks of the Verdugo Mountains to the northeast.

The most unobstructed views come after passing a green water tower, as the trail juts out and offers an incredible photo opportunity. After half a mile of climbing, you reach a junction with the Mount Hollywood Trail and the welcoming sign and benches of Amir’s Garden.

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Amir’s shady 5-acre potpourri of native and exotic flora contains over 60 species of trees and shrubs, like jacarandas, pines, geraniums, rose bushes, and a multitude of succulents. Be sure to explore the roughly quarter-mile worth of trails to find hidden benches, Griffith canyon vistas, and the fruits (and flowers) of Amir’s labor. Head back the way you came or continue another 1.7 miles to Mount Hollywood for an extended workout.

To get to Amir’s Garden trailhead and the Mineral Wells Picnic Area, take the CA-134 to the Forest Lawn Dr. exit and head south. Take an immediate left onto Zoo Dr., followed by an immediate right onto Griffith Park Dr. After 1.4 miles find street parking or park in the lot (the trailhead will be at the intersection with Mineral Wells Rd. Dog-friendly!

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