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.
To hike Runyon Canyon, this guide gives you a few options:
a short 1.6 mile out-and-back hike to the scenic viewpoint
extend the viewpoint hike into a 1.8-mile loop
do a 3.5 hike around all of Runyon Canyon Park
All of the hikes have at least 500 feet of climbing, but the climb is short and the hike is doable for all levels.
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 downtown Hollywood, you can probably walk to the trailhead.
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.
Here’s the gear that I personally use, have tested, and recommend for this hike*.
* 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 REI link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.
Gaia GPS is a planning and navigation tool that you can use on your phone, tablet, and the web. I use it on my phone when I need to interact with the map and know where my position is on it. I use it at home on the computer to plan routes. You can overlay maps such as public lands to find out free places to camp. It’s a powerful tool.
This thing does everything: maps, GPX tracks, compass, barometer, altitude, heart rate, blood oxygen, fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and the list goes on. I keep a GPX route on the watch so I can quickly glance down and make sure I’m in the right place.
Don’t just rely on a cell phone, especially if you are hiking in the backcountry.
Runyon Canyon Hike Directions
These remaining directions are for the longer 3.5 mile loop trail.
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.
Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.