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Park to Playa Trail, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Looking north toward L.A. from the Park to Playa Trail

Park to Playa Trail, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

Oaks on the Park to Playa Trail

Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area: Ron’s Trail/Park to Playa Loop

  • Location: Near LAX and Ladera Heights, between West L.A. and the South Bay. From Long Beach, take the 405 Freeway to the La Cienega/Manchester exit (46). Merge onto La Cienega and head north for 3 miles to the exit signed for the park. Turn right and follow the park’s main road for a mile, uphill to a parking area by the radio towers. From the West Side, take I-10 to La Cienega (exit 7A). Follow the signs for La Cienega South and take it 1.7 miles to the park. Turn left and follow the main road into the park for a mile to the parking area. From downtown L.A., take I-10 west to Washington Blvd. (exit 7B). Turn left onto Washington and make another quick left onto S. Fairfax. Go 0.3 miles and turn left on La Cienega. Follow it 1.1 miles to the park. Parking is free on weekdays, $6 per vehicle on holidays and weekends. Parking may also be available at the southeast corner of the park, on Don Miguel Drive.
  • Agency: California State Parks; overseen by L.A. County Parks & Recreation
  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Elevation gain: 300 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: Year-round
  • USGS topo map: Hollywood
  • More information: Park Yelp page here; Map My Hike report here
  • Rating: 2
Boy Scout Trail, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

0:00 – Boy Scout Trail head – note plaque on the rock in the lower right corner (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

Conveniently located to the South Bay, West Side and downtown Los Angeles, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area is a popular spot for outdoor exercise. On clear days, the park’s location in the Baldwin Hills provides some surprisingly good views, notably of downtown L.A. and the San Gabriels. A few single-track trails in the southeast corner of the park provide an enjoyable loop that at times feels pleasantly remote. The noise from traffic on La Brea Blvd. is hard to ignore, as is the trash and graffiti, but for hikers who live locally, it’s a nice place to get a quick fix and a reminder that any open space is better than condominiums.

View from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Ladera Heights, CA

0:08 – Looking north from the junction with Ron’s Trail (times are approximate)

The loop described here is one of many possible routes in the park, which features a network of official and unofficial trails. Start by locating the somewhat difficult to find Boy Scout Trail, which descends to the right of a picnic area and to the left of the restrooms. The trail bends to the left, taking in a view that can potentially include the Hollywood Sign if visibility is good, as well as the L.A. skyline and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Downtown L.A. from the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

0:24 – Downtown L.A. as seen from the top of the “horseshoe” on Ron’s Trail

At 0.3 miles, you reach a junction marked by two benches. This is the start of the loop portion of the hike. Ron’s Trail makes a hard right; this trail has more ups and downs and is mainly exposed so if you’re starting early in the day, follow it first. The trail heads generally south, paralleling La Brea and the Park to Playa trail below (the return route). At 1.1 miles from the start, the trail climbs in a horseshoe-curve, meeting a spur coming from another parking area.

Continuing south, ignoring a few use trails that have been blazed by hikers heading straight up and down the hill, you reach the lower corner of the park at 1.5 miles. Double back on a segment of the regional Park to Playa Trail, which heads north for 0.7 fairly pleasant miles, shaded by willows and the occasional oak or sycamore. Traffic noise is pretty loud here as you are at times only a few yards from the street, but despite graffiti on some of the trees, this is one of the more visually attractive segments of the hike.

Park to Playa Trail, Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area

0:36 – Heading north on the Park to Playa Trail

At 2.2 miles, bear left at a Y-junction and ascend to the Boy Scout Trail, completing the loop. From here, retrace your steps 0.3 miles back to the parking area. If you have time, you can explore other attractions of Kenneth Hahn State Recreational Area, such as Janice’s Green Valley and the Walk for Health Trail.

Trails in the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, Ladera Heights, CA

0:50 – Bear left at the junction to return to Ron’s Trail and the Boy Scout Trail

Text and photography copyright 2015 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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