Deukmejian Wilderness Park


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Dunsmore Canyon from the Le Mesnager Trail
Stream at the top of the Dunsmore Canyon Trail

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.

Deukmejian Wilderness Park

  • Location: 3429 Markridge Road, Glendale.   From the 210 freeway, take the Pennsylvania Ave. exit and head north for 1.1 miles.  Turn left on Brookhill St., go 0.3 miles and turn right on New York Ave. Go 0.7 miles and turn left on Markridge, and the park is on the right.
  • Agency: Glendale Parks & Recreation
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 900 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Best season: October – June
  • USGS topo map: Sunland, Burbank, Condor Peak
  • Recommended gear: Sun hat, sun block, hiking poles
  • More information: Trip description here; Yelp page here
  • Rating: 6

For a short hike, this trip provides a lot of scenic variety – and quite a good workout as well.  While “Afoot and Afield” considers it a year-round hike, having attempted it in July a few years ago, I respectfully beg to differ.

From the parking lot, pick up the dirt road leading uphill.  Take a right at the first junction and the a left, which brings you to the main trail ascending into Dunsmore Canyon.  You pass by a large oak that survived the Station Fire of 2009, and soon afterward, you reach a junction with your return route, the Le Mesnager Trail.  Stay straight and begin a steep, shadeless ascent into Dunsmore Canyon.  As you get higher into the mountains, you round a bend and suddenly things become quieter (and cooler) as the noise from the 210 freeway and other points below is blocked out.  The Le Mesnager Trail rejoins the Dunsmore Canyon Trail, which soon comes to an end, a mile from the parking lot.  Here, you can walk down to the water, where two creeks converge, and enjoy a quiet break before heading back.

You can, of course, simply retrace your steps on the Dunsmore Canyon Trail, but for more variety, I suggest making a loop out of this hike.  To do this, bare right on the Le Mesnager Trail and head uphill briefly.  A short spur takes you to a spot where you get a nice view of Glendale and the Verudg and Santa Monica Mountains.  (You may spot San Jacinto and the Santa Anas to the east if the air is clear).

The trail starts switchbacking downhill.  You pass a junction for the Rim of the Valley Trail and make a hairpin turn to the left, passing around the bottom of the knoll.  You can take another spur to get more views if you like, while the trail continues downhill, switchbacking through a garden and meeting back up with the fire road.  Head right and retrace your steps to the parking lot.

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