Saturday, May 7, 2016

Burbank Peak, Cahuenga Peak, Mt. Lee, Mt. Chapel via Wonderview Trail

Hiked: 5/7/2016
Distance: 5.2 miles round trip on road and trail
Summit Elevation: 1680' (Burbank), 1820' (Cahuenga), 1680' (Lee), 1600' (Chapel)
Elevation Gain: 1775'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.42
Round trip time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Recommended water: 24 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free on Lake Hollywood Drive
Difficulty: Easy

Leisa joined me for a trip to the Hollywood sign and a few Griffith Park peaks. It was also a training hike for bigger things this summer. My previous hike in Griffith Park started in Brush Canyon. This time, we started from the west, parking on Lake Hollywood Drive and walking up the road to the Wonderview Trail. It was lightly raining as we went up the short, steep ascent to the unofficial Burbank Peak and Wisdom Tree, a lonely tree that gets a lot of local attention. The rain actually kept the temperature and dust down, ending in a net positive. A few people were milling around the tree and we took the requisite photo op. A cairn garden was set up nearby.

We didn't loiter, but headed out for Cahuenga. Another 15 minutes and we were there. The low clouds started to clear up a little bit, but most of Glendale, Burbank, Hollywood, and LA were hazy. The next stop was Mt. Lee and the Hollywood sign. Leisa managed to get a pano of it without the crowd in the way, which was certainly diminished by the weather. Again, we didn't hang around long, but followed the road down the north side of Mt. Lee to a saddle where we caught a ridge trail up to Mt. Chapel.

Yes, you can access the Hollywood sign this way -- after climbing over Cahuenga Peak

Cahuenga in the low clouds

Wisdom tree on Burbank Peak

Cairn garden

Cahuenga and Mt. Lee

Iconic sign

It was a fun little side trip to Mt. Chapel. There was a benchmark set by the City of LA on top, beaten to the point it was hard to read. I could make out "Burbank L8" stamped in the mark after blowing up the photo at home. We took a short break on Chapel to rest and look around. Some annoying bugs pushed us to head back and we returned back up and over Cahuenga. We started to descend the Tree of Life trail that curled around Burbank Peak, but I was operating from my memory of a satellite view the day before and not sure if we were on the right trail. Not too far down, we found another artsy cairn set up, but decided to head back down the way we came up. Compared to the Brush Canyon dirt roads, the Wonderview Trail was a much more pleasant way to get to the Hollywood sign.

Mt. Chapel from the road below Mt. Lee

Mt. Chapel's battered benchmark

Looking back from Mt. Chapel

Leisa on Mt. Chapel

Rock art on the Tree of Life trail, Wisdom Tree in the background

See also: Cahuenga Peak, Mt. Lee, Mt. Hollywood

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