Mission Point via de Campos Trail
- Location: Neon Way, Granada Hills. From the 118 Freeway, take the Balboa Blvd. exit and head north for 1.4 miles. Turn left on Westbury, go 0.2 mile an turn right on Jolette. Go 0.7 mile to Doric and turn left. Make the first right onto Neon Way, drive to the end and park where available. Alternately from the north, take the 5 Freeway to the San Fernando Road exit (161B). Turn right onto San Fernando Rd., go 0.5 mile and turn right onto Balboa Blvd. Go 0.6 mile and turn right onto Sesnon Blvd. Go 1.2 mile and turn right onto Neon Way. Follow Neon Way 0.2 mile to its ending and park where available.
- Agency: City of Los Angeles (O’Melveny Park)
- Distance: 4.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,250 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain, steepness)
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: November – May
- Recommended gear: hiking poles sun hat
- Dogs: Allowed on leash
- Cell phone reception: Fair
- Water: None
- Restrooms: None
- Camping/backpacking: None
- More information: Trip descriptions here and here; Yelp page here; article about the hike here
- Rating: 6
Mission Point, a 2,771-foot summit towering over the northern San Fernando Valley, can be reached from O’Melveny Park or, as described below, from a residential area via the Dr. Mario de Campos Trail (also known as the Sulphur Springs Fire Road). Both approaches offer vigorous workouts and a scenic payoff. The de Campos Trail makes up for what it lacks in quiet (expect noise from the nearby freeways and residential streets throughout) with panoramic views of the L.A. Basin and the Santa Monica Mountains on the way up. As of this writing, the slopes of Mission Point are bright with flowers – albeit mostly non-native black mustard (along with a few golden poppies, lupines and some white sage).
From the end of Neon Way, follow the trail (an abandoned fire road) steadily uphill. In 0.2 mile, you pass under a tunnel of black walnut trees, the only significant shade on the entire route. Be careful of a few poison oak bushes hiding along the side of the trail and keep an eye out for a stone koi pond(!) Who keeps it stocked and the fish fed is not known.
Past the pond, the trail switchbacks up the hill. The first mile is steep, accounting for more than half of the total elevation gain, but once the grade lessens, the hike becomes more enjoyable, particularly if visibility is good. You will usually be able to see straight across the flat floor of the San Fernando Valley to the Hollywood Hills, with the distinctive shapes of Mt. Lee, Cahuenga Peak and Burbank Peak straight south.
At 1.7 miles, where the trail from O’Melveny Park joins the de Campos Trail, you reach a formidable metal gate. Here, you have two options: stay on this side of the gate and make a short but steep push uphill, or bypass the gate and continue on the fire road, which makes one long switchback. Once you pass the gate a second time and rejoin the steep use trail from below, you again have the option of continuing on the fire road (0.3 mile more to the top) or making one last steep climb. Either way you will end up on Mission Point.
While the metal gate and an antenna facility cut down somewhat on the views, you will not be disappointed with the results of your climb. The San Gabriels and Sierra Pelona ranges dominate to the east and northeast while the rest of the Santa Susanas spread out to the west, notably the tallest in the range, Oat Mountain. Closer are the Van Norman Reservoir, the 5/210 freeway interchange and the spread-out suburbs of the San Fernando Valley. If you’re lucky you may get a glimpse of downtown L.A.’s skyline.
Text and photography copyright 2017 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.