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3.98 miles

Elevation Gain

1680 ft

Route Type



Added by Spencer Williams

Experience one of the toughest and most unique hikes in Los Angeles. Tracing straight up the ridgeline of the Verdugo Mountains, the Vital Link Trail follows a series of steep switchbacks leading to one of the best overlooks in LA County.

The Vital Link Trail is a steep and narrow out-and-back trail accessed though the Wildwood Canyon Park located in Burbank, CA. Parking at Wildwood Canyon is free and easy, and will be determined by which of the four trailheads you choose to start from. 

For the shortest and most direct route you can drive to the top of Wildwood Canyon where you will find a fire road that takes you directly to the Vital Link intersection. 

But for those looking for a tough day hike, THIS is your trail. Park at the bottom most parking lot (near the entrance to the park) and walk past the port-o-potties towards the picnic benches and info signs, here you will find the start of your adventure.

The first 0.4 miles will give you a taste of what's to come, climbing over 300 feet you come to a plateau and meet with one of the many other trails leading up from the canyon. At this point you will start to see the trail above you going directly up the ridge. Though that view might look ominous, the view behind you is about to start getting good, improving with every step as you work your way to the top.   

At the 1 mile mark you will see the aged yellow sign marking the entrance to the Vital Link Trail. A fair warning, if you have struggled to this point it's only going to get harder and steeper. Vital Link Trail may only be one mile long, but it is a grueling 1,070 foot climb up a series of tight switch-backs, wooden stairs, and barriers (to discourage short-cutting trails) culminating at an elevation of 2,875 feet. 

The top of the trail is marked by a handcrafted lounge chair, dedicated to the memory of Willie Meinn. This is the perfect place to drop your pack, take of your boots and take in the beautiful panoramic view going from the San Fernando Valley, to Downtown LA, and all the way out to Catalina Island. 

If you find that there is still some fuel left in the tanks, you can continue past the chair onto the Verdugo Motorway. This is a large fire road that runs west to east along the ridgeline of the Verdugo range connecting all of its trails. 

For those looking to bag Verdugo Peak, turn east and follow Verdugo Mtwy for 1.25 miles until you come across an asphalt road leading to a communications building at 3,126 feet; this is Verdugo Peak. From here you will have 360 degree views including the San Gabriel Mountains to the north.  

Interested in more hikes along the Verdugo Mountain Range? Check out these other adventures on The Outbound: Hike Verdugo's North Ridge Trail, Hike Mt. Thom and Tongva Peak, Run the Old Youth Camp Loop, Hike the Brand Library Loop, Explore the Beaudry Loop, Explore the Verdugo Crest Trail

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Vital Link Trail

Old Youth Camp Loop

Verdugo Crest Trail

Brand Library Loop

Verdugo Peak via Hostetter Fire Road

Verdugo's North Ridge Trail