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Hiking off Mulholland in Studio City: Fryman Canyon Park
Los Angeles is always giving us little hidden out-of-the-way spots in the middle of the city. One of those is Fryman Canyon, tucked between Mulholland Drive and Ventura Boulevard, this hike snakes you open space you may never have known existed.
Although most locals erroneously call a nearby park Fryman Canyon--it's actually Wilacre Park--the real Fryman Canyon Park is much different experience, made up of narrow trails, short steep climbs, shady paths and the "Rainforest." The two parks actually connect via the Betty B. Dearing Trail, with trailheads found off Laurel Canyon at Wilacre and off Mulholland at Fryman.
Fryman Canyon is most directly accessed via Mulholland Drive, west of Laurel Canyon (download a PDF of the park map here). No obvious sign marks the park, but a sign for the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook is your indicator. A small free parking lot (street parking available across Mulholland) puts you at overlook and park which offers a few workout stations (monkey bars, stretching, sit up bench), historical displays and two trailheads.
Once you begin hiking, stay right and you'll be on the short one-way less-than-a-mile U-Vanu trail that dead ends at private property near Laurel Canyon Boulevard. It's flat, easy and offers views of the San Fernando Valley with a mix of shady and sunny spots.
For the more hardcore, the shady Betty B. Dearing Trail forks off to the left downhill. You'll cross streams, see at least two cars that years ago, plunged off Mulholland, and eventually make it to the Rainforest--a shaded and significantly cooler gully where a rope used to hang from a tree, allowing hikers to swing out and over it. Hike past the Rainforest and you'll find yourself at the end of Fryman Canyon: Iredell Lane. About 100 feet to your left, you'll find Wilacre Park. In total, you're looking at about 1.5 miles one-way.
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