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Hiking In The Hollywood Hills

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Hollywood Hiking

For many people, Hollywood hiking doesn't extend the on strolling down Hollywood Boulevard, visiting the famous stars on the Hollywood walk of fame, or watching wannabes in costume impersonating real and imaginary characters like Elton John and Michael Jackson.

But leaving the flats and climbing the hills of Hollywood will bring antics unexpected reward. Just above the city, where the Hollywood Hills meet the Santa Monica Mountains, a network of trails and parks put the city below in perspective. Places like Runyon Canyon, Lake Hollywood and Griffith Park not only provide a respite from the urban jungle but have themselves been featured in famous Hollywood productions.  Runyon Canyon is also known as The Pines.

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Runyon Canyon

Runyon Canyon is the domain of the young, the beautiful, the athletic and their dogs, shorts and spandex or the uniform of the day.  Runyon Canyon is perhaps the most accessible Hollywood hiking trail. This 130 acre park is truly in Hollywood, just two blocks away from Hollywood Boulevard. There are entrances to the park on Fuller Avenue and on Vista Street in Hollywood, and off Mulholland Drive in the north. The easiest to find is the entrance at the top of four, a couple of blocks north of Hollywood Boulevard and west of La Brea Ave. If you are arrived by car, be warned; street parking can be scarce in the densely packed residential area.

The area around the park, especially just to the west, has many beautiful Hollywood homes, like the house at the end of Camino Palmero which was built by Charles Edward Toberman.  This 12,000 ft. house had many bedrooms and indoor swimming pool billiards room tennis courts and a small putting green.

In 1919, Alfred Solano sold the property to Carmen Runyon who had retired from a successful coal business in the East. Runyon lent his name to the Canyon, the road and Carmen Crest Drive before he sold his estate in 1932 John McCormack, the world-famous Irish tenor. Shortly thereafter, McCormick built one of the most beautiful residences in Hollywood. He and his wife lived in the mansion until they returned to England in 1938. Four years later, McCormick sold the property to Huntington Hartford and renamed the estate to" the Pines".

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Lake Hollywood

With the pine trees surrounding the lake, Lake Hollywood is like a quick trip to the Pacific Northwest without the rain. In addition to the fragrant pine, oak, eucalyptus, and sage can be seen and smelled the birds, rabbits and lizards are often in evidence. The reservoir, built in 1924, created by the building of the Mulholland dam, part of the elaborate California aqueduct.

The lake, or reservoir, is not open to the public, although that doesn't seem to stop the ducks and other birds occasionally spotted there. Most of the lake and surrounding forest glimpsed through a chain-link fence, but the 1000 foot long Mulholland damn provides unobstructed views of the lake the trees in the Hollywood hills beyond.

The view from the Mulholland dam is spectacular because it is unobstructed. To the east is the Hollywood sign which adorns the hills above the Hollywoodland real estate development. To the south, one has an unobstructed view of Hollywood, which includes such buildings as the Capital Records Tower, the Roosevelt Hotel and the Outpost Estates.

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Bronson Canyon

Many Angelenos have never seen the Bronson Caves at the northern end of Bronson Canyon Drive. At about the time of Hollywood's incorporation,. in 1903, the Union Rock Company established a rock quarry in Brush Canyon, 2 miles north of Franklin Avenue at the north end of Bronson Avenue. The crushed rock was trucked down Bronson Avenue for use in railroad ballast and street services.

Many Hollywood residents complain that the trucks tore up the newly paved street and jarred their homes as they passed in the night so a rail line was established that operated during the restricted hours of the morning and evening. By 1918, it had become more economical and practical to haul the rock by truck, so the railroad spur was discontinued. The quarries ceased operation in the late 1920s. The caves, known as the Bronson Caves, which were carved into the hills by the old quarry, have been and still are used by countless motion picture production companies as location for westerns, science fiction, and adventure films. Today, many hikers make their way up to the Bronson Caves, from the North and of Bronson Avenue.

Historical Hollywood Photos and Images

The hollywoodphotographs.com website has many photographs of Runyon Canyon, Lake Hollywood and the Bronson caves. All of the photos are availabl

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