Griffith Park is famous for its observatory, but it also offers some great hiking trails which offer amazing views of downtown LA, Century City, the Hollywood sign, and the valley. I’m going to tell you about my favorite trail which begins at the Glendale Peak Trailhead, goes in a loop through the observatory, and returns to your starting point . The hike is about five miles and it is not too difficult. The parking is ample as long as there is not some other big event going on at the park. Hike time is about three hours.

Getting There and Parking

To get to the Glendale Peak Trailhead, get on Los Feliz Blvd, then turn north on Vermont or Hillhurst. Continue up on Vermont and pass the Greek Theatre. Right after the Greek, there is a large parking lot, Lot G on your left. You can’t miss it. There should be ample free parking during the day (but check the park schedule to make sure there is nothing big going on). You may also be able to find parking along the side of the road.

Even if you live relatively far away, like the West Side, or even Orange County, it’s worth the drive!

Finding the Trailhead

There is a restroom at the north end of Lot G, so use it if you need to. To get to the trailhead, cross Vermont and find the sign with a trail map. That is the Glendale Peak Trailhead. Unfortunately, there is no sign identifying it as “Glendale Peak Trailhead” (it might have been covered up when I was there; it might be there now), but it is marked as such on Google Maps. Instead, it will show it as being the trailhead for the Riverside Trail. That is what you want.

Glendale Peak Trailhead (start of Riverside Trail )
Glendale Peak Trailhead (start of Riverside Trail )

The Trail

This hike will take you in a loop to various peaks, through the Observatory, and back to Vermont.

My recommended loop starting at Lot G
My recommended loop starting at Lot G (click for bigger version)

The Hike

Start up the trail to find a wide fire-road type of trail with some great views of downtown L.A.

View from the Riverside Trail
View of Downtown L.A. from the Riverside Trail

Before too long you’ll reach Glendale Peak. Follow the sign to go to Dante’s View. The views and scenery along the way should be pretty amazing.

Bridge after Glendale Peak
Bridge after Glendale Peak

You’ll also have good views of the Observatory.

Griffith Park Observatory
View of Griffith Park Observatory

Near Dante’s View there there is a park-like area with benches and palm trees. It is an ideal place for a picnic or snack.

Park near Dante's Peak
Park near Dante’s Peak

There are other stopping points along the way as well to see the Hollywood Sign.

View of the Hollywood Sign
View of the Hollywood Sign

From here, there are many trail options which might seem confusing, but just pick one and head in the general direction of the Observatory. Most eventually will lead there if you go in that direction. You should end up in the Observatory parking lot. Of course, there are some great views there as well.

To get back on the trail, walk to the left of the Observatory to find a trail that goes down the hill. Eventually, the trail will split off but try to keep on the one that goes towards the Greek Theatre. You should end up on a side street just south of the Greek. From there, walk a short distance up Vermont back to lot G.


  • As I mentioned, parking is easy at this trail because you don’t have to go very far into the park. However, please be aware of any special events going on at the park which could derail your plans.
  • This hike is great right after it has rained in the fall or spring. Avoid it on a hot summer day because there is minimal shade.
  • There are picnic tables and benches along the way, so bring a snack or meal!
  • If you hike in the late afternoon, remember to bring an extra jacket because it can get cold up there pretty quickly.
  • There are restrooms at lot G and at the Observatory. However, the one at the Observatory can have long lines.
  • The view is pretty spectacular if you can make it to the top around sunset
Sunset from the Griffith Park Observatory
Sunset from the Griffith Park Observatory

There you have it! I hope you enjoy this loop. Let me know how it goes for you in the comments below! What are your favorite hikes at Griffith Park? – Brian


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