Hike to Panoramic Views of Los Angeles at Briar Summit Preserve
It’s not always the blockbusters that dominate tinsel town—in 2021, look for the indies to surprise. Get a fresh perspective on Hollywood and enjoy some of the most awesome views in the city, while avoiding the crowds. Briar Summit Preserve offers a short and sweet 1-mile, 250-foot climb and distinct 360-degree views across LA.
Find street parking on Briar Summit Drive before the road terminates at the trailhead. Though the LADWP service path is paved, it is also wide—perfect for social distancing, although you most likely won’t see many others. Pass by the gate and begin your gradual ascent. The vistas are constant and epic, especially at golden hour and sunset. To the south is Laurel Canyon and the Hollywood Hills, and you can see even beyond to the Pacific on clear days.
There are spur trails that branch south for further views; it’s worthwhile to explore these and add a bit of mileage. The second of these juts out from the canyon wall enough to get an undeniably unique perspective of Griffith Park Observatory and the Hollywood Sign to your east, near the peaks of Mount Hollywood and Mount Lee. The path continues to climb and passes a water tower surrounded by a variety of healthy trees. Soon, an entirely new view will come into sight, and this one is equally impressive. Look for the towering spires of Hogwarts in the Universal Studios theme park below, as the view is framed by the Verdugo Mountains and the San Gabriels beyond.
The trail curves northwest and challenges you to a final steep climb before reaching the radio towers and summit. There’s a geocache hidden amongst the scrub, but the real secret here is the multitude of panoramas, concluding with the nearly 360-degree lookout. Take the descent slowly to get more view time, which is particularly gorgeous at sunset, on your way to your car.
To get to the Briar Summit Preserve trailhead, take the US-101 to Laurel Canyon Blvd. and exit south. Take Laurel Canyon Blvd. for 3 miles and take a left onto Mulholland Dr., followed by an immediate right onto Briar Summit Dr. After two blocks, turn left to stay on Briar Summit Dr. Find street parking near the gate and trailhead. Dog-friendly!
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