I was invited down to Los Angeles for the private screening of the documentary I worked on, Mile… Mile & a Half. While there for a few days, I had the opportunity to do two hikes. This was the first of the two.
I lived in Southern California for decades, long enough to know first hand many of the fine trails SoCal has to offer, and long enough to know that there’s always a new trail to discover. Ric Serena, Co-Director and DP of the film, invited me to the trail near his house in Burbank that he frequents: Stough Canyon.
My first thought on the trail was, “It’s good to be hiking again in Southern California!” I love studying the nature on my hikes, so it was a pleasant reunion with the Chaparral plants seen throughout the area (but not at home in Oregon). Many of the plants found on this hike are drought and fire tolerant. Among the dense populations of California sagebrush & California buckwheat, small colorful flowers were in bloom, a wonder common year round in Southern California.
There were some aspects of this trail – a common trait in these Verdugo Mountains – that I didn’t particularly miss after moving to Oregon. Most of the trails here are 30-foot wide strips of dirt running like a ribbon around the mountains. These forestry roads were not created for the hiker but for fighting fires and accessing the man-made structures that dot the ridges: power lines, radio towers, and water tanks. Nevertheless, hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers tend to make up most of the traffic on these roads.
My body wasn’t used to the Mediterranean climate and the relatively high humidity, as compared to the High Desert of central Oregon, got my sweat glads working overtime. Ric, who is in much better shape than I, never broke a sweat.
We hiked a mile up Slough Canyon, gaining about 550 feet in elevation, to the crestline (Verdugo Crestline Drive), then followed this trail around the top of the mountains for a bit. The Verdugo Crestline offers great views of the Crescenta Valley to the east as well as the valleys to the west. On a clear day, you can see the ocean and Catalina Island. Unfortunately, it was a hazy day, so not much beyond Burbank could be seen through the white haze. Eventually, we turned around and headed back the way we came, but one can hike for hours in these mountains by connecting trails.
- Date of hike: October 19, 2012
- Location: Burbank, California
- Length: 4.1 miles
This map was made with the data my GPS captured on the hike.
For a more detailed trip report map, check this out.