Travel Town Loop (Griffith Park)
- Location: Griffith Park. From the 134 Freeway, take the Forest Lawn exit. Head southwest (turn right if you’re coming from the west, or left if from the east). Take the first left onto Zoo Drive, and park in the Travel Town parking lot. Alternately, you can take a left on Zoo Drive and go 0.4 miles to another parking area.
- Agency: Griffith Park
- Distance: 2 miles
- Elevation gain: 450 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: All year (hot during the summer; Travel Town is open from 10am-4pm on weekdays, 10am-6pm on weekends)
- Recommended gear: sun hat; sunblock
- USGS topo map: Burbank
- More information: Travel Town site here; Everytrail report here; Griffith Park trail map here
- Rating: 4
This enjoyable hike visits Griffith Park’s comparatively lightly traveled northwestern corner. While Griffith is obviously one of L.A.’s biggest attractions, and Travel Town is a popular spot within the park, you may be pleasantly surprised at how little company you have on the route described here. The traffic on the nearby 134 Freeway, to be sure, is a constant reminder of civilization, but compared to the observatory, Mt. Hollywood and Mt. Lee, this corner of the park tends to be a little more isolated. The short but steep route described here is a nice, quick workout, conveniently located, with a lot of scenic variety. If you have time, you can easily extend the trip. Travel Town makes an enjoyable stop before or after the hike. There is very little shade, but if you get off to an early (or late) start, the hike can be done during the summer.
Travel Town is a small outdoor museum which, as its name implies, exhibits the history of travel in California. Here, you can see several former locomotive engines from railroads such as the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe, the Santa Maria Valley and more. A miniature railroad offers a short ride around the site.
From the Travel Town parking lot, follow Zoo Drive for 0.4 miles to another parking area, where you pick up the steep Western Avenue Trail. It heads uphill in a crooked course, climbing 400 feet in just over half a mile. As you ascend, you’re rewarded for your efforts with great views of the Verdugo and San Gabriel Mountains.
After huffing and puffing your way up to the top of the ridge, head right on the Skyline Trail. You get nice views not only of the San Fernando Valley but also the back side of the Hollywood Hills, including Mt. Lee, Cahuenga and Burbank Peaks.
After 0.3 miles on the Skyline Trail, you make a hairpin turn to the right and begin a steep descent. If the air is clear, you can see the Santa Susana Mountains and the Simi Hills as you work your way back down to Zoo Drive. Take a right and follow the street back to Travel Town.
Text and photography copyright 2012 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.