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Note: According to reports (see comments below) this trail is closed and in poor condition. The write-up is from 2010 and will be kept on the site for archival reasons. Any updates will be posted here by the author or in the Comments section by visitors. (10/22/2015)

Traffic on the 405 Freeway as seen from the Getty View Trail

Traffic on the 405 Freeway as seen from the Getty View Trail

Text and photography copyright 2010 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.

Getty View Trail

  • Location:  Sepulveda Pass, between Santa Monica and the San Fernando Valley.  From I-405, take the exit for Getty Center.   Take a left on Seuplveda (you will do this whether you are coming from the north or south).  If you are coming from the south, the parking lot will be on your right just before you reach the overpass; if you are coming from the north, the parking lot will be on the left just after the overpass.  Parking is free.
  • Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Best season: All year
  • USGS topo map: Beverly Hills
  • More information: Trip descriptions here and here; Yelp page here
  • Rating: 2

If you are a resident of the L.A. area–and most of you reading this are–or even if you have just visited, odds are you have seen what traffic on the 405 freeway can be like.  Interstate 405 is probably the most heavily traveled freeway in Southern California, and the Sepulveda Pass–connecting the West Side of L.A. and the San Fernando Valley–is the busiest stretch.  If only there was a nice little hiking trail near by for commuters to escape to and get a workout and blow off some steam.

Actually there is.

I’m not going to try to sell the Getty View Trail as So-Cal’s Yosemite, but when the alternative is sitting in traffic, this hike is hard to pass up.  Almost literally a stone’s throw from the freeway, the trail won’t really get you into nature, but it will get you a quick, easy workout, with some nice views of L.A.

The Getty View trail leaves the parking lot, passes under a few sycamores and starts its climb.  Most of the workout is done in the first half.  Although the trail is exposed, if you do it as an evening hike on the way home from work, the sun will likely be already past the Santa Monica Mountains and the temperature will be pleasantly cool.

Shortly into the trail, you will make a hairpin turn at green and white pole.  Don’t take the false trail that intersects at this point, but continue on the main trail, which curves to the right and climbs up the ridge.  The views of the Getty Center, the Sepulveda Pass and the Santa Monica widen as you climb.

Before long, you’ll arrive at the fire road, where you can either head left or right.  The trail to the left is cooler, winding behind a bluff that also eliminates some of the freeway noise.  After about half a mile, the trail ends unceremoniously at a gate to a housing community.

On the way back, remember to cross the false trail at the green pole completely and descend along the path closest to the edge of the ridge.  By the time you have gotten back to your car, hopefully the 405 traffic will have subsided and you’ll be able to go home and rest for your next hike.

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4 Comment on “Getty View Trail

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