Hike two secret canyons in Sherman Oaks Los Angeles
One secret canyon hike is a luxury in Los Angeles, but two? Well, that’s a tinsel town treasure! Head to Sherman Oaks for a pair of pint-sized picturesque treks on hidden suburban trails: a 0.6-mile loop micro-hike through shaded Dixie Canyon Park and a 0.7-mile out-and-back vista-filled adventure through neighboring Longridge Park.
Start at the 50-acre Longridge Park via its trailhead under a palm tree at the terminus of Alomar Drive. The trail quickly climbs over 100 feet, passing oaks and offering immediate panoramic views of the surrounding canyons and hills. As you pass by chaparral classics, like sugarbush and plenty of often-overgrown sagebrush, look for striped sandstone jutting from the ridge.
Continue south through an open field, ignoring spur trails, but taking time to look back to the north for those incredible vistas, framed by the Santa Susana and San Gabriel Mountains. You’ll also be able to see the peaks of Griffith Park to the east and deep into local canyons to the west. At the 0.35-mile mark you’ll reach “the end,” when the trail stops at a residential fence, but don’t worry—the views are nonstop on the return trip!
Next, head to Dixie Canyon Park, a 20-acre gem donated by Warren Beatty in 1986 and operated by the MRCA (as is Longridge). Park at the end of the neighborhood road (Dixie Canyon Place) and find the trailhead up some charming stone steps. After a wooden-plank bridge, you’ll find the official loop start. We recommend heading right for a steeper ascent (of 175 feet) and a more gradual descending route.
The trail winds through the dense woodland, featuring plenty of black walnut and coast live oak specimens. You may have to maneuver around the dense local flora, as you wind your way up the canyon. If you’re tired, there’s a surprise chair (inscribed with “love wins”) seemingly left by locals. On the descent, small openings between the trees reveal vistas of the San Fernando Valley; just be careful of slippery rocks and loose soil as you descend back to your car.
To get to the Longridge Park trailhead, take the US-101 to the Coldwater Canyon Ave. exit and head south. After 0.8 mile, turn right onto Ventura Blvd., followed by the second left onto Valley Vista Blvd. and an almost immediate left onto Mary Ellen Ave. Continue on Alomar Ave. and turn left after 0.2 mile to stay on Alomar, which deposits you at the trailhead after 0.4 mile. From Longridge to Dixie Canyon Park, take Alomar Ave. north, turning left at Cheltenham Dr., which u-turns to a junction. Turn left here on Dixie Canyon Ave., which takes you to the park and trailhead. Dog-friendly!
Story and photos by Matt Pawlik, @mattitudehikes
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