Distance: 5.3 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 3123'
Elevation Gain: 1981'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.58
Round trip time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Recommended water: 80 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Wildwood Canyon Park
After dropping my daughter and her friends off at Universal Studios, I made the 20 minute drive north to Burbank and the Verdugo Mountains. The quickest route I could find from the south was from Wildwood Canyon Park. I started at the second trailhead that had a nice portal and restroom. I was surprised there was plenty of parking on a nice Saturday morning.
The climbing starts promptly at a moderate incline. It gets a little steeper once you reach the Vital Link trail, which switchbacks up the ridgeline. Most of the work is done on Vital Link. It was hot in the late morning and I passed several hikers on the way up that looked like they had taken on a little too much in the heat. There were more people coming down than going up, having started earlier in the morning. Once I reached the Verdugo Motorway, it was an easy road hike to Verdugo Mountain. Communication arrays lined the whole ridge, and there is a large one on Verdugo itself, along with a building surrounded by barbed wire. I could not find a register or benchmark, but didn't look very hard based on previous reports. Because of smog, the views were poor. I could barely make out downtown LA. On the way down, I jogged a few of the downhill sections of Verdugo Motorway and stopped by Point 1815 just off the trail. The only extra view I got from Point 1815 was the golf course, but there is a bench there if you want to watch a tournament or something. The smog hid the nice views, which must be great after dark, but at least I got a pretty good workout.