Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
Bee Rock in Griffith Park
- Location: Griffith Park near Los Angeles. From the south, take I-5 to the Los Feliz exit, turn left and cross the freeway and turn right on Crystal Springs Drive. Go 1.3 miles and turn right onto Griffith Park Drive. Park in the lot near the merry go round. From the north, take the Los Feliz exit and turn right, then immediately right onto Crystal Springs Drive.
- Agency: Griffith Park
- Distance: 2.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 650 feet
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: All year
- USGS topo map: Burbank
- More information: here; trip reports here
- Rating: 5
Named for its resemblance to a bee-hive, Bee Rock is a large sandstone outcrop in Griffith Park. Although the summit is fenced in and covered in graffiti, it provides great views of the San Gaberiel Mountains and the San Fernando Valley. If you are lucky, you might see San Gorgonio Mountain.
From the parking area, head toward the Fern Canyon Trail leading out of the back of the lot. Take your second right, onto the unsigned Old Zoo Trail, which heads uphill. Soon you round a corner and see Bee Rock, which may look a little intimidating, but the climb to it, while steep in places, is overall pretty easy.
The trail winds around, passing a seasonal waterfall, before arriving at split. Take the fire road heading off to the left, which soon terminates, and here you take a sharp left on a single-track trail which begins switchbacking uphill toward Bee Rock. Stay right as a false trail heads off to the left, and stay left at the next junction (you can go up the steep fire break, but be careful; it’s best to switch to the main trail.) The main trail gets steep as well here, although rock steps help. Finally, you arrive at the top of the ridge. Take a left at the T-junction and follow the path to the Bee Rock summit.
From here, you get a great 180-plus degree view of the surrounding area, especially the San Gabriels. The fence, while obstructing the view, will definitely help quell any fears of heights. When you’re done, you can retrace your steps, or make a loop by heading left at the junction by the fence and touring the old zoo grounds.