Runyon Canyon: An Agoraphobic View

The view from the top of Runyon Canyon has the ability to induce agoraphobia. Granted, the vista hit me after climbing uphill for 20 minutes straight. In my defense, I was in a weakened state.

The city grid stretches as far as the eye can see. Most of Los Angeles is laid out in right angles with roads stretching from Santa Monica to the desert. Just think about the millions of little squares, each containing its own neighborhood of apartments, preschools and 7-11s. The people just go on forever. It’s sort of like ocean-gazing, but without the relaxation factor.

Pockets of skyscrapers project from the smog, each qualifying as a city in its own right. On a good visibility day (i.e., less pollution or “marine layer”) and you can clearly see Downtown, Century City and the Wilshire Corridor. For the tourists in your life, the hike includes an amazing view of the Hollywood sign. Plus, you can gaze down into the backyard swimming pools of the rich and famous.

Some tips: Bring your dog. Some areas are pooch-friendly and there are two drinking stations for thirsty canines.

It’s better to hike earlier in the day before the sun’s rays blast the hills, wilting scrub brush and unsuspecting hikers in its wake. The path also tends to get extremely crowded by mid-morning.

Dress in stylish but sweat-appropriate gear. It is the Hollywood Hills after all.

Parking is difficult to say the least. The Fuller entrance is probably the most difficult. I’m not really bitter about the 63 dollar parking ticket. I should’ve known the choice spot close to the entrance was zoned permit parking. It was definitely one of those too good to be true moments. So I’m not bitter. Really.

2000 N. Fuller Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046. Open dawn to dusk every day. See the official site at, or the more informative site put up by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

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