Distance: 2.6 miles round trip
Elevation Change: 515 feet
Temperature day of hike: 80 degrees
Directions: From Sunset Boulevard, take Beverly Drive north (following it as it splits) to Franklin Canyon Drive. Turn right, and follow the ridge until you reach Lake Drive. Once you hit Lake Drive, find roadside parking, and walk to the trail head, which starts about 1/3 of a mile down on the left side of the road.
Sasha: Unless you’re living under a rock, you probably know this Sunday was the Super Bowl. While neither Abby nor I care about football, we had parties to attend, commercials to watch, and, let’s be honest, butts to ogle. In order to fit in our very important post-hike cocktail, we decided to stick to a shorter (and more local) hike, so we looked at Franklin Canyon. My research showed that the most challenging trail at Franklin Canyon is the Hastain trail, so we took a short but beautiful drive through the hills part of Beverly Hills to Franklin Canyon Park. After finding easy parking on the side of Lake Drive, we headed towards the marked trailhead to begin our climb.
We were happy to see that unlike some of our previous hikes, it looked like Hastain would be a steady incline and fairly good, albeit short, work out. While the main trail is wide and well-maintained, I read that there is a challenging single track that shoots off to the left about .4 miles from the start, so we decided to aim for that route. We spotted what looked like a marked single track route, but after I took a short scouting trip past the blank sign (seriously), I quickly realized this was not the trail I read about and we resigned ourselves to the more obvious, wide path. Soon after, we ended up passing what we later realized was the actual path, which looked more akin to a water runoff trail than a hiking trail. Note that this trail is not on MapMyHike, so you’ll have to keep your eyes peeled if you don’t want to miss it.
We continued upward through a chain link fence, and at about the 1 mile point, we reached an overlook with beautiful views of Century City, and the depressingly empty Lower Franklin Reservoir. There’s an option to head right and descend into the canyon at this point, but we continued up to the left to reach the top of the mountain. You’ll pass through two more chain link fences, and finally reach the highest point of the trail, with views of the incredibly green canyon and the city beyond.
Abby: It felt nice to take a little break at the first overlook, since it was so hot outside and the bugs decided they wanted to join us on this hike. An unwelcome addition to my weekly hike sunburn is the bug bites I acquired. The view overlooking the city was beautiful; however the lake we were eager to see at this point was waterless. The LA drought is no joke. After snapping a few photos, we decided to continue up the mountain. This second half of the trail was a little steep, but since this was our only workout for the day, we trekked quickly up the incline and were greeted with more great views. When we got to the top of the trail, we hung out a bit, and as we discussed heading back down, we noticed what looked like an alternate route. It was pretty steep and narrow, so I was a little trepid, but as we’ve mentioned before, if a hike doesn’t feel like a challenge, we will find a way to make it one.
Sasha: We figured the single track trail we could see from the top was probably the steep offshoot we missed out on, so we decided for the benefit of our readers (and our asses) we would take it for the descent. This trail is narrow, steep and quite slippery, and we were grateful for a somewhat recent rain that stuck much of the loose gravel to the path. There were definitely a few sections where we needed to use our hands for safety, so we regretted forgetting our fanny packs (yes, fanny packs) for water bottle storage. When we finally reached the bottom, we realized that the path we had mistaken for a water runoff trail on our way up was indeed the beginning of this steeper trail. While this trail down was challenging due to its steepness, it was easy to follow and we made our way down fairly quickly.
- Great city views
- Wide, well kept trails
- Multiple trail options
- Really green and lush
- Dogs have to be on a leash
- So many bugs – could be because of the weather, though
- Hard to find alternate routes on main trails
- Not much shade
- No real options for a longer, more challenging hike
- Pay attention on the way up, as it’s not clearly marked
- Go during the day, as at night it would be really dark and hard to navigate
Holy Shit View Factor: 6/10 Great views of LA, beautiful lush plants all the way up
How Good Your Ass Will Look Afterwards: 6/10 Could have likely been more had we found the steeper option on the way up
Post hike grub spot: We drove down the hill to Via Alloro in the middle of Beverly Hills for a quick bite. We both had a refreshing raspberry Bellini, which was wonderful, and split a Caesar salad.
Tracking the hike: We used MapMyHike again, and as mentioned before were able to navigate our way down the right side of the mountain with the zoom in and GPS options.