When the girlfriend informed me she had a conference in West Hollywood, and that she wanted me to join her, I was admittedly a bit torn. My training for Comrades is beginning to ramp up in intensity, and I didn’t want to miss a scheduled workout.
On the other hand, flying to LA to see the girlfriend does add to the GAU, or girlfriend approval units, that I can use later during to my training schedule. So, I resigned myself to having to run along Sunset boulevard in LA, having to stop every few blocks for stoplights, and breathing heinous amounts of car exhaust.
You can imagine my surprise when the Host at the Andazz told me about Runyon Canyon Park. To my surprise, nestled within the boundaries of the great LA basin of massive urban sprawl, is a really cool park with some great views and challenging trails. @RunyonCanyonLA even started following me on twitter after I mentioned my trail run, which shows there some passionate people out there trying to defend this great park. Although I have no proof, I am certain developers would love to turn this park into trillion-dollar homes, with great views and great tax revenue. How the park survives in the middle of a bankrupt California surprises me, but I hope it does survive. In fact, the blog Modern Hiker has information about a Mansion for sale that may threaten some of the trails associated with Runyon Canyon.
In any case, the park is open to dogs, and even in the middle of the day on a weekday, there are a lot people out with dogs everywhere. Fortunately I like dogs, but if you’re allergic or just don’t like dogs, then this may not be the park for you. After my run, I was, however, impressed with the lack of doggie-dung on, in, or around the trails, particular considering how many dogs were jumping about. Fortunately, it appears that most of the LA dog owners are good about cleaning up after their dogs, something some NorCal dog owners could learn a thing or two about.
On that day, I hadn’t intended on doing a hill workout, but myself and many others were running up the trails, panting and wheezing along the way. In fact, atop one of the highest peaks, I had to have my picture taken (thank you cute unknown girl for taking like 5 pictures with my iphone and being patient about it) just to prove I was there.
The only oddball thing, at least from a NorCal person perspective, was that the park lacked any bathroom facilities. I suppose this is to prevent gang activity or something else, but if you’re out for a 2-4 hour run, there are only a few bushes hidden enough to possibly use should the need arise. Fortunately for me, I made it back to the hotel, but I did find myself occasionally eying some sagebrush enviously.
Within the park are some hidden treasures (look for a rock-made heart with the word “heart”, and the mansion that has been legally uninhabitable for 16 years, the home of satanic rites, gangs, and an impromptu drug use). And I would definitely recommend going during weekdays – I can imagine the place is extremely busy during the week. And from a guy perspective, the views, both of the LA valley and the ladies in the park, are quite… nice.
Directions: South entrance — Hollywood Fwy (101) to Highland Avenue. South to Franklin Ave. West on Franklin to Fuller, north on Fuller to dead end. Park on street. North Entrance — 2.6 miles east of Laurel Canyon Blvd. on Mulholland Drive.
Address: Franklin Ave to Palmero Road, Los Angeles
Phone: (213) 485-5572 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (213) 485-5572 end_of_the_skype_highlighting