June 16, 2013

A Hike to Iconic Griffith Observatory

I know I've been a MIA lately as we moved back to San Francisco from Los Angeles. While I love so many things about SF, my heart remains in Los Angeles. LA is so much more than Hollywood Blvd and Disneyland. Expect me to continue to share SoCal gems!

First up, my very favorite hike in Los Angeles! If you saw my post about hiking up to the Hollywood sign, then you know that I think one of the best ways to see famous landmarks is to get up close and personal. This hike to Griffith Observatory is quick, pretty easy except for the last bit, and just happens to be near one of the best places to get lunch in all of Los Angeles.

Hiking from Fern Dell to Griffith Observatory...

Trail from Fern Dell to Griffith Observatory.

Griffith Observatory is famous for being a location for countless movies. Its art deco lines and perch above the LA basin make it an iconic area landmark. The observatory itself- especially the Zeiss telescope and the Planetarium show, are def worth a visit inside.

The hike starts in the heart of Hollywood, a one minute drive north on Fern Dell Drive from Los Feliz Blvd. Type in "Fern Dell Drive" in Google maps to find it. This is just 10 minutes from the Walk of Fame. I suggest doing the hike in the morning so it's cool and the timing is right for brunch or lunch at The Trails Cafe.


There's plenty of parking near the Fern Dell picnic area and The Trails Cafe. The trail itself begins at the back of the picnic area near the restrooms. You'll come to a fork in the path - head to the right and up the hill.

Trail map from Fern Dell to Griffith Observatory... I'm no artist!

The path is wide and it's clear where to go - up to the looming Griffith Observatory. It's a moderate incline most of the way, but the last part of the trail up to the building itself is pretty steep. Tons of people, mostly locals, will be running the trails and hiking with their dogs. It takes about 25 minutes to get to the Observatory and 15-20 minutes to get back down to Fern Dell.

Start/end of trail at Fern Dell picnic area.

Heading up to Griffith Observatory
The super steep optional shortcut.

View of Hollywood and Griffith park trails.
View of downtown Los Angeles. 
Griffith Observatory. 


Rewarding view from  Griffith Observatory.


Griffith Observatory.
In front of Griffith Observatory looking toward the Hollywood Sign.
Trail on the way back down to Fern Dell.
Head back downhill to the fork in the trail and yield to the right to make a wide loop back to Fern Dell. My favorite way to wind down and reflect on this beautiful hike is to enjoy a leisurely lunch at The Trails Cafe. It's a really charming, tiny, and most importantly, yummy, gem of a place. There are plenty of picnic tables to get your grub on.

The Trails Cafe.
Apple pie at The Trails Cafe.
Veggie sandwich from The Trails Cafe.

So that's another of LA's wonderful trails and great places to eat. I'll miss you Los Angeles!

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