Conover Loop (Lake View Terrace)
- Location: Lake View Terrace. Parking is available on Foothill Blvd. on the north side of the road, just southeast of the bridge crossing Big Tujunga Creek. (Note parking restriction signs; parking is not allowed in the immediate area of the bridge). For Google Maps, the address 9475 Foothill Blvd, Sunland-Tujunga will get you to the approximate area. From the east, take I-210 to the Sunland Blvd. exit (11). Cross Sunland and turn left onto Foothill Blvd. Parking will be on the right in approximately 0.8 miles, just before the bridge. From the west, take I-210 to the Wheatland Ave. exit (9). Turn left and follow Wheatland 0.2 miles to Foothill Blvd. Turn right and follow Foothill 1.1 miles. Just on the opposite side of the bridge, use the center turn lane to make a U-turn and park where available.
- Agency: Angeles National Forest, Los Angeles River Ranger District
- Distance: 5.3 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain, distance)
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo map: Sunland
- Recommended gear: sun hat; sunblock; hiking poles
- More information: Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 5
The goal of this double-loop hike is an unnamed but attractive single-track trail in the Angeles National Forest foothills just beyond the suburban edges of Lakeview Terrace and the San Fernando Valley. However, like the nearby Doc Larsen Trail, it’s only accessible via a combination of city streets and fire roads. For most of this hike, you will be competing with noise from the 210 Freeway and Foothill Blvd. That said, the hike offers a good workout with a variety of scenery; if you’re in the area it’s definitely worth a visit.
Begin by following Foothill Blvd. across the bridge spanning Big Tujunga Creek, enjoying views of Mt. Lukens, which will dominate the landscape for much of the route. There is a sidewalk and a bike lane separating the cars, although on the opposite of the bridge, the sidewalk ends and the bike lane is the only buffer from the traffic. After a quarter mile, turn right onto W. Conover Street, a lightly used private road. Follow it half a mile to a junction. This is the start of the first loop which, by hiking clockwise, you can ascend via a more moderate grade. Make a hairpin left turn (the route straight ahead will be your return) and climb 300 feet over the next 0.7 miles, passing by a metal gate and then taking in some panoramic views of the Angeles National Golf Course and the Verdugo Mountains beyond. After rejoining the paved road, bear left and continue to a saddle, 1.6 miles from the start, just below a private residence.
The second loop is best hiked counter-clockwise, allowing you to ascend via the single-track rather than the fire road; it also saves the highest point of the hike for last. Take either of the two dirt roads heading southeast (right); they soon merge. You begin a descent, passing by a lone oak perched on the ridge and entering the quiet of the canyon. Though you may hear some noise from the shooting range nearby, by this time, traffic will likely not be in your earshot.
At 2.3 miles, as the dirt road makes a hairpin turn to the right, look for an easy to miss, unsigned trail on the left. Despite not being named or marked, the single-track trail is in good condition, appearing to receive regular use from hikers, equestrians and cyclists alike. It first skirts the north side of the canyon, then drops down to cross the bottom (stay left at the only junction you’ll see en route) and continues its climb northwest, back toward the fire road. A large, attractive oak provides some shade, marking the approximate halfway point both of this trail and of the whole hike. After passing by a second oak, the trail enters a thick patch of chaparral reminiscent of the Santa Monica Mountains before making a steep climb up a ridge, at times tenuously, to meet the fire road, 3.3 miles from the start.
It’s possible to extend the hike by heading right, soon reaching the Oliver Canyon fire road and farther up the Doc Larsen Trail, but to complete the loop, head left, continuing your ascent and taking in views to the southeast. The trail then bends back toward the east, following a ridge line, reaching a high point of 1,925 feet before dropping back to the saddle, completing the larger loop, 4 miles from the start. Retrace your steps, this time staying straight and descending via the steep, semi-paved section of W. Conover Street. At the bottom, turn right and follow the road back to Foothill Blvd. and your car.
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.
We’ve hiked here twice, including a night hike in 2008. We almost selected this for last month’s full moon hike, but we went to Paseo Miramar in Pacific Palisades instead. I look forward to returning.
Yeah, it was a fun hike, definitely a pleasant surprise.
Hi David. We hiked this today (2.25.17). The “single path” part of the hike is lovely, but only 1 mile of the 5.3. After all the rains, the entire train was quite green. Is it worth it? Maybe, and as you and others have suggested, maybe better for a night hike. You are right that this would not be good on a hot day; it’s exposed, except for that middle mile. A couple suggestions on directions. W. Conover St is the gated dirt road (at first) that first parallels Foothill, and seems to lead right into Big Tujunga Creek, not the paved road that leads to the Sanatorium. After the first hairpin left, there is a fork, and you take the right one past the metal barrier (before passing by the “metal gate” – which has more ‘keep out’ type signs than I’ve ever seen on one entrance). And, to begin the trek into the canyon itself (off the right hairpin on the second loop – you are right, a well-defined trail), you are first on the south side of that canyon, going to the north side after crossing the bottom. And, btw, the “Map My Hike” report is not available generally; it’s private. Thanks again for creating this double loop and fashioning something we did not see in any other guides. Dianne and Bill
Hi Dianne, you’re welcome and thank you for reading and for your feedback. I agree that the Map My Hike app has been problematic of late and I will probably start looking for a new one that is more user friendly. Since there is virtually no info about this loop online, the map My Hike report is the only way I had of documenting the trail. As for the street names, I went by Google Maps, which has W. Conover St. paralleling Foothill and then making the left turn and heading up the hill while the fork that continues east is signed as Conover Fire Road. Anyhow as you can tell by the pictures I visited this hike during a dry season and with the recent rains bringing out the green, I will try to make it back soon and update the description.
I used to live past the “hairpin” turn in the early 80’s which belonged(s) to Gentleman Bob Bell.