Runyon Canyon Hike Guide
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||3.5 miles (5.6 km)|
|Other Options||1.6 miles, 1.8 miles|
|Hike Time||1:30 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||900 feet (274m)|
|Highest Elevation||1,295 feet (395m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Runyon Canyon Park|
Runyon Canyon is a fun hike tucked right into the middle of Hollywood. It’s a great place to see celebrities, view the Hollywood Sign (in the distance), visit a hidden sculpture, and get a good hike in. In fact, Runyon will give you sweeping views from Catalina Island to the Santa Monica Mountains on a clear day. There are crowds here, so don’t come expecting a pristine hiking experience. Runyon Canyon won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and is worth hiking at least once.
Trail Options In Runyon Canyon
This guide gives you a few options to hike Runyon:
- a short 1.6 mile out-and-back hike to the scenic viewpoint (red)
- extend the viewpoint hike into a 1.8-mile loop (red + purple)
- do a 3.5 hike around all of Runyon Canyon Park (red + orange)
All of the hikes have at least 500 feet of climbing, but the climb is short and the hike is doable for all levels.
If you have the time I do recommend doing the full loop. It shouldn’t be more than about 2 hours and will give you lots of views. And the crowds die out on the loop back.
What to Expect on the Runyon Canyon Hike
If you’re looking for solitude and pristine wilderness, Runyon Canyon Park is not going to make you happy. Just remember that you’re in the middle of a city, and it can get crowded with people hiking, working out, walking their dogs, celebrity spotting, and just enjoying the scenery. Prepare your expectations accordingly.
There are no bathrooms at Runyon Canyon Park.
Is Runyon Canyon Closed?
No, Runyon Canyon re-opened in the summer of 2017 after being closed for renovations for four months. It was closed for 4 months in order to repair a leaking water line that went through the park from the 1930s. When Runyon Canyon reopened, some of the paved trails were improved and they added some water fountains. Otherwise the park is the same as it was before.
Runyon Canyon Park is open from 6am-6pm daily, although you’ll find people in the park after hours as well.
Directions to Runyon Canyon
Runyon Canyon Park is in the heart of Hollywood, and 20 minutes from downtown LA. If you’re staying in Hollywood, you might be able to walk to the trailhead.
Here’s the address and link for the entrance to Runyon Canyon Park: 2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90046, USA.
Where Can I Park At Runyon Canyon?
There’s no parking lot for Runyon Canyon, you have to park as close to the main entrance at 2000 N Fuller Ave, Los Angeles, CA, 90046 as you can. There’s only street parking, and that can be a problem, since about 35,000 people visit Runyon Canyon every week (1.8 million a year!).
If you want to park at Runyon Canyon, you have a few options. First, I always do well when I arrive early and park on the street around the entrance. Spots open up as locals drive to work. Second, you can park farther away and just walk there. Street parking in the area is free. The third option is to park in parking lot close by, and then walk 10-15 minutes to the park entrance. If you’re staying in a Hollywood area hotel, the park entrance is probably within waking distance.
The worse times to park seem to be afternoon when people come to the park after work. Also, you should look out for permit only parking zones. There are plenty of parking spots without restrictions, but some do.
Gear For the Runyon Canyon Hike
The nice thing about Runyon Canyon is that you can just do it in workout clothes and sneakers. It’s not a hardcore hike that requires any special gear.
Joby GripTight Smartphone Flexible Tripod
Take your selfie stick game to the next level. Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.
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Black Diamond Astro 250
It’s your biggest asset if you get lost. If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Now smartphones have lights, but they drain the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in an expensive yet high-quality headlamp like the Black Diamond Astro 250. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.
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REI Membership Saves You Money Forever
Have you shopped at REI before? They have all kinds of active clothes and gear, from fitness, to hiking, to snow sports, to casual wear. It’s an overall great place to shop (here’s why) and they offer a $20 membership that gets you 10% back on everything for life, along with frequent coupons, discounts, and member-only sales. It’s a no-brainer.
REI Membership – REI
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2022.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
Hiking Runyon Canyon With a Dog
Yes, you can hike Runyon Canyon with your dog! There are well marked areas where you can have your dogs off-leash. Everywhere else, you just need to leash your dog. 90 of the park’s 160 acres are marked for off-leash use, so there’s plenty of space to let a dog roam free. Water fountains in the park provide some refreshment as well (bring your own bowl). The renovations at Runyon Canyon even repaved surfaces with macadam, not asphalt, which is cooler on your dog’s paws.
Runyon Canyon Trail Maps
Want me to take care of the details so you can just enjoy the views? I offer this as a guided hike.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
Runyon Canyon Hike Directions
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Turn By Turn Directions
As you pass the ruin, here’s an interesting side note. In the 1940s the A&P supermarket heir engaged Frank Lloyd Wright to build a resort and hotel here, but the move was blocked by the local government. Frustrated, he sold the property and left the area. The new owner tore down all the structures to avoid paying real estate taxes. Hence the ruins.
If you want the shortest hike option, enjoy the views here, then turn around and go back the way you came up for the red 1.6 mile hike. Otherwise continue.
To do the shorter 1.8 mile loop, hike down the hill to the left in the last picture and skip ahead, which will take you back to start of the hike.
These remaining directions are for the 3.5 mile loop trail.
Another historical side note. In the early 1870s these hills were the hideout of Tiburcio Vasquez. He robbed but was known for his chivalry. From his angle, he was fighting the oppressive US regime that was treating the Spanish-Americans poorly, from the US government perspective, he was a bandit. Either way, the character of Zorro was modeled after him. In 1874 he was caught at Runyon and hung.
If you took the 1.8 mile purple shortcut, you will rejoin here.
This guide last updated on January 24, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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