Deervale – Stone Canyon Park
- Location: Sherman Oaks. From the 101 freeway, take the Van Nuys Blvd. exit. Head south (left if you’re coming from Los Angeles, right if you’re coming from the west valley) for 0.7 miles and turn left on Valley Vista. In 0.2 miles, stay straight as Valley Vista merges with Beverly Glen, and turn right to stay on Beverly Glen. Go 0.7 miles and turn right on Deervale Drive. Go 0.2 miles and turn left on Deervale Place. Go 0.4 miles and park at the end of the street.
- Agency: City of Los Angeles Department of Parks & Recreation
- Distance: 1.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 400 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Best season: Year round (hot during the summer)
- USGS topo map: “Van Nuys”
- Recommended gear: Hiking Poles
- More information: Article about the history of access to the park here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 5
Tucked away in the hills above the Valley, 80-acre Deervale-Stone Canyon Park is something of a mystery to L.A. hikers. Access to the park has been a source of contention among local home-owners. The park is currently run by the City of Los Angeles, but this may change in the future. As of this writing, the park can be reached from the top, at the end of Deervale Place. The beginning of the trail runs through private property, but hikers are permitted as long as they stay on the route.
From the end of Deervale, follow the sometimes obscure trail downhill (the trail is said to have been “created” simply by years of being trampled by hikers, before any formal route was established). On clear days, you get great views of the Valley. You follow a ridge, sometimes with shade and sometimes exposed. The trail makes a steep dip, levels out for a while and makes another steep dip, arriving in a pleasant grove of green grass and trees. It ends at a private driveway, 0.8 miles from the top of the hill. The lower end is inaccessible to the public, meaning the trip can only be done as a “reverse” hike.
Regardless of what its legal status may be, Deervale-Stone Canyon is a very enjoyable destination, a nice little pocket of nature not far from the urban edge of the Valley and Hollywood. Hopefully it will remain accessible for hikers–and perhaps the 80-acre parcel will see the development of some new trails too.
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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.