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. Runyon Canyon won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence, and is worth hiking at least once.
To hike Runyon Canyon, you have 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.
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.
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.
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 what I would take.
The entrance to Runyon Canyon is at the end of Fuller Ave, up the hill.
You’ll see the entrance sign for Runyon Canyon Park. Head through the gate. Runyon Canyon Park has been around since 1983 when the City of Los Angeles purchased it from private owners.
Once through the entrance gate, hike straight on the paved trail, ignoring turn-offs. You’ll also pass the Runyon Canyon yoga field on your left.
After a few minutes, you’ll come to this big gate for the off-leash dog area. Keep hiking straight on the Inspiration Point Trail.
At about 0.2 miles in, there’s an optional detour to a hidden sculpture. It only adds a few minutes onto the hike and is worth checking out. If you’re not interested, head right and go up the hill toward Inspiration Point (directions further down).
The trail to the sculpture is smaller but still easy to follow.
Follow the trail through the wooded section for a few minutes and you’ll reach the Rock Mandala created by artist Robert Wilson. Walk the meditative mandala circle, soak in the good vibes and then hike back the way you came to the last junction.
When you get back to the junction, head left up the hill. This is also the hill you’ll head up if you skipped the Rock Mandala sculpture.
At about 0.7 miles, you reach Inspiration Point and hiking trail levels out. The trail continues back around to the left.
There’s a nice bench at Inspiration Point to catch your breath on before you head up to Clouds Rest. You’ll get nice views of downtown LA in the distance (it’s those tall buildings). On a clear day you can see out to Catalina Island.
Continue up this steep section of the trail. Most of the climbing (about 350 feet) on the hike is on this stretch of trail.
Here’s where you can see the Hollywood Sign from the Runyon Canyon hike. As you hike up to Clouds Rest, look off to the right and you’ll see the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Observatory in the distance. I have a guide to hike to the Hollywood Sign too.
This section of the trail is tough. Turning around to soak in the views is a good excuse for taking a break.Before Runyon Canyon was a park, the Kahlua importer Jules Berman owned it and planned on building luxury homes here, but the community shut it down.
After that tough climb, you reach the bench at Cloud’s Rest, which overlooks LA at 1,040 feet. If you want the short hike option, enjoy the views here, then turn around and go back the way you came up for a 1.6 mile hike. If you want to do a short 1.8 mile loop or the longer 3.5 mile hike, keep hiking up the trail.
At the next trail junction, head right to do the 3.5 mile loop. To do the shorter 1.8 mile loop, hike down the hill to the left and skip to step 37, which will take you back to start of the hike.
(These remaining directions are for the longer 3.5 mile loop trail.) Continue hiking on the paved Runyon Canyon Road. Keep your eyes open for 3003 Runyon Canyon Rd, which is one of only two houses in Runyon Park and was built by Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright built it in the 1940s for the heir to the A & P Grocery fortune, and it was once home to movie star Errol Flynn, who like to (jokingly) call Runyon Canyon his personal estate.
At around 1.5 miles, avoid the utility road turn off to the power line and continue on Runyon Canyon Road.
At about 1.7 miles, you’ll reach the gate for the Runyon Canyon North Entrance, located on the famous Mulholland Drive. When you get to the gate, hike left along the fence.
You’re now hiking on the Indian Rock Hiking Trail. Continue along the fence.
The Indian Rock Hiking Trail winds away from the fence and starts to look more like a hiking trail. These quieter parts of Runyon Canyon are great places to spot wildlife. The park is home to hawks, coyote, deer, snakes, lizards, and hundreds of species of plants. Nothing to be scared of.
At the next split in the trail, hike to the left
Shortly after the last split you’ll reach an open plateau with some smaller side trails. Make the hard right onto the main trail.
Keep hiking left at the next trail split.
When you get to the scenic overlook, hike to the right on the West Ridge Hiking Trail.
At about 2.1 miles, your trail joins the larger trail. Keep hiking downhill.
This part of the West Ridge Hiking Trail has lots of great viewpoints.
Just past the mansion, hike down the stairs on the West Ridge Hiking Trail.
The trail climbs, then at 2.5 miles you’ll arrive at this slab of rock. Ignore the ‘no hiking’ signs and continue hiking right, up the steep little section to the top of the rock.
Keep hiking past any “no hiking” signs on the main trail, avoiding any side trails that go down the side of the hill.
Once you’re reached the high point on the West Ridge Hiking Trail, the rest is all a nice downhill walk with great views into LA.
At about 2.8 miles you’ll reach the end of this stretch of the West Ridge Hiking Trail. Hike left down the steep decent.
Watch your footing as you hike down the hill. Sections of the trail can be slippery with loose sand.
At about 3.1 miles the decent ends, and you arrive at a fenced in section. Make the hard left and hike down the trail.
At about 3.2 miles, make the hard right onto the Runyon Canyon Road Hiking Path.
When you get to the end of the trail, make the hard left to head back to your starting point.
The trail comes back to where you started, make the right to exit the park at Fuller Ave.
Pat yourself on the back! That’s the hike!
A quick note. These directions are meant as a guide for the hike, and not a definitive source. Conditions change, and the information here can be different based on time of day, weather, season, etc. There can be small side trails that you might see but I missed. I have made every effort to include all the information you need to complete the hike successfully. I recommend using this guide in conjunction with a map, GPX file, common sense, and call to the ranger station or park office. If you do the hike and notice something has changed, please contact me and I will update the guide.