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.
- Location: Serrania Avenue Park, Woodland Hills. From the 101 Freeway, take the De Soto exit and head south for 0.7 miles. On the way, De Soto becomes Serrania Avenue. Turn right onto Wells Drive and the park will be almost immediately on your right.
- Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
- Distance: 2.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 500 feet
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: “Canoga Park”
- Recommended gear: hiking poles; insect repellent; sun hat
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
- More information: here; trail map here
- Rating: 5
The Serrania Ridge Trail (also known as the Woodland Ridge Trail) is a quick, convenient workout that also provides great views of the San Fernando Valley. The trail is largely unshaded, but with an early or late start–and water–it can be enjoyable even during the summer.
From the parking lot, look for a fenced-in bridle trail heading uphill on the east side of the park. The trail wastes no time ascending, soon rising above the park and the nearby houses, climbing the ridge to the dirt section of Mulholland Drive. Soon, you come to a junction; stay left as a very steep path branches off to the right. There are a few more places where the trail splits, but the paths come back together soon. Nevertheless, if you’re worried that navigation may be an issue, leave trail-ducks.
The steep climb soon levels out somewhat, and you reach a small summit from which you get a nice view of the Valley. The trail continues, making a surprising dip downward and passing by an oak tree that provides some welcome shade. After just over a mile, you reach Mulholland. Here, you can extend your hike in either direction, but if you’re happy with the workout you just did, you can retrace your steps. On the way down, your efforts are rewarded with wide-reaching views of the Valley, the Santa Susana Mountains and the San Gabriels.