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.
Valle Vista Fire Road
- Location: Glendale, at the end of Valle Vista Drive. From the 2 freeway, take the Holly Drive exit. Turn right on Mt. Carmel, and take a quick left on Glenoaks Blvd. Go 0.7 miles and turn right on Sleepy Hollow Drive. Go 0.3 miles and turn left on Sleepy Hollow Place. Go 0.2 miles and turn right on Valle Vista, and park at the end of the street before the gate. From the north, take the 2 freeway to Holly Drive, turn left and go straight to stay onto Mt. Carmel.
- Agency: Glendale Open Space Preserve/City of Glendale
- Distance: 2.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 550 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo maps: “Pasadena”
- More information: Everytrail report here; Article about the Glendale Open Space Preserve here
- Rating: 5
From the end of Valle Vista Drive in Glendale, a fire road continues for just over a mile, giving hikers and joggers great views of the San Fernando Valley and the Hollywood Hills. If you are bothered by freeway noise, this hike is not for you, but for those who aren’t, it provides an interesting aerial perspective on the 134 and 2 freeways – driving home the point that being out in nature is better than being in a car. The trail is popular among locals, but doesn’t get as crowded as nearby Griffith Park or Cherry Canyon.
You pass the gate and follow the road around the north side of a ridge, passing by several houses. At a quarter of a mile in, you reach the end of the ridge and get a nice view to the south, while another trail comes in from Sleepy Hollow Drive (an alternate access point.) Continue west, making your way up one large hill and a few smaller ones, with nice views on both sides (but no shade, so plan accordingly.)
After just over a mile, the trail ends at a clearing overlooking highway 2. From the Mapquest satellite map (which you can access by clicking on the location link above and going to “satellite” mode), it appears as if a fire break heads downhill from the ridge to Mt. Carmel, but for most hikers who just want a quick jaunt into nature, the route described here should do the trick.