The Rainforest Trail, Part I
Almost three years ago, the LA Times visited the Rainforest Trail in Studio City, which lays in the Santa Monica Mountains that split the Valley from the rest of the city. They said that while you will easily see 100 people hiking the Wilacre Park/Coldwater Canyon Park basic loop, you won't see many along this hidden trail. That still holds true today.
You see, to get to the Rainforest Trail, you have to hike the Wilacre basic loop or take side streets from the parking lot. Either way, it takes more than 15 minutes just to get to the trail head. Then you have to find it because it's not obvious, at all. In fact, people who have hiked Wilacre time after time still haven't noticed it.
Even though the hike starts in Fryman, you have to go into a residential area and walk up a cul-de-sac to reach it. It looks like you are heading toward the driveway of a very nice house.
About 20 feet in, a sign declares it the Rainforest Trail, and within half a mile, it starts getting secluded and very private.
Here's the tip: It's on the West side of the cul-de-sac (for the directionally challenged, if you are facing downhill, it's to your right). You'll see a very nice black gate to a house of someone very very very rich (someone told us it was George Clooney; we doubt it). Find the dirt driveway next to it and walk up. As the Times said, you'll find the sign 20 feet in.
Currently, if you follow the fire road up and to the right, you'll find it is fenced off. But you're not going to find the "rainforest" that way anyway. At the point where the road takes a turn, keep going straight onto the path that only gives room for a single-file line. Keep walking. 25-30 minutes later, you will finally find yourself at the reason they call this the Rainforest Trail. Pictures after the jump...