Condor Trail (Griffith Park)

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  • Location: Mineral Wells Picnic Area, Griffith Park.  From L.A. and points south, take I-5 to the Griffith Park exit.  Cross over the freeway to Crystal Springs Drive, turn right and go a mile, just past the parking area for the merry go round, and turn left on Griffith Park Drive. Go 1.2 miles to the Mineral Wells Picnic Area and park where available near the North Trail Head. From the 134 Freeway, take the Forest Lawn exit, go south and take the first right on Zoo Drive.  Go 0.2 miles and turn right on Griffith Park Drive. Go 1.4 miles to the Mineral Wells Picnic Area and the North Trail Head. Park where available, noting posted restrictions.
  • Agency: Griffith Park
  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 400 feet
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Best season:  All year
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Restrooms: Available at Mineral Wells Picnic Area
  • Water: Fountains at Mineral Wells Picnic Area
  • Camping/backpacking: None
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles
  • More information: Map My Hike report here; Griffith Park trail map here
  • Rating: 4

The Condor Trail is one of Griffith Park’s less-traveled routes, climbing a steep ridge from the Mineral Wells Picnic Area to the Skyline Trail. From the top of the Condor Trail, a short climb brings you to an unnamed peak with views of…well, the Griffith Park Composting Facility, but also the Hollywood Hills, Verdugo Mountains, San Fernando Valley and more.

From the parking area, follow the Mineral Wells Trail north alongside the picnic area. At a junction at the northern end of the picnic green, stay right and head back to Griffith Park Drive, cross the street and pick up the Condor Trail (0.3 mile from the start.) The Condor Trail ascends at a surprisingly steep grade, almost immediately picking up 100 feet before leveling out. At 0.6 mile you make a sharp bend to the right; a faint use trail heading straight ahead and uphill is a possible return route. The trail descends gradually, making a hairpin turn and cutting along the north side of the ridge. As with many of the north-facing trails of Griffith Park, you trade freeway noise for an unobstructed view of the Verdugos and San Gabriels.

At 1.1 miles from the start you reach the Skyline Trail. Bear left (the right fork which eventually leads to the L.A. Zoo is an option for a detour if you want to extend the hike). The trail makes a hairpin turn and climbs to an unsigned junction. Make another left and follow the trail to a use trail leading to the summit. The bald peak has a survey marker and metal pole but no evidence of a name (nor does there appear to be any information online about possible names for the peak.) The approximate elevation is 800 feet.

After taking in the view, which if you ignore the composting facility is impressive for a diminutive peak, you can retrace your steps or continue farther along the Skyline Trail in either direction. The quickest route down however is to continue east and follow the trail which soon becomes an unofficial but easy to find use trail. Take a hard right and descend about 100 feet back to the Condor Trail, which you will follow 0.6 mile back to Mineral Wells.

Condor Trail, Griffith Park, CA
Start of the Condor Trail
Condor Trail, Griffith Park, CA
View of the “summit” from the Condor Trail
Condor Trail, Griffith Park, CA
Trail to the summit
Condor Trail, Griffith Park
Descending the peak; start of the use trail

Text and photography copyright 2018 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.


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