Hike Verdugo's North Ridge Trail

Rate this Adventure 13 miles 3221 ft gain  - Point-to-Point Trail

Added by Spencer Williams

Explore the north side of the Verdugo Mountains along a lightly used out and back trail near Burbank, and possibly reach the top of Verdugo Peak. Starting on the Chandler Fire Road, this hike can be linked with close to a dozen other trails and is open to leashed dogs and mountain bikers.

The Verdugo Mountain Range is a small, rugged range spanning across the northeast end of the San Fernando Valley from Sun Valley to Glendale. With close to 50 miles of graded and well maintained trails, the Verdugos are surprisingly underutilized and make a great place for someone looking to escape the crowds of surrounding Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon. 

The Chandler Fire Road is located in Sun Valley off the cross road of Edmore Place and Olivia Terrace. Parking is recommended on Olivia Terrace where you can leave your car for as long as need be. The start of the trail is easy to find, located at the intersection it is marked by a large yellow automobile gate.

So once on the trail it is pretty straight forward but much steeper than you would think. The first 3 miles ascend 1760 feet as you wind you way up Chandler Motorway. At the 3 mile point a road will cut off to the right, this is the Old Youth Camp Loop which takes you into Stough Canyon and down to the nature center. 

Continue straight past the turnoff climbing another 300 feet over 1 mile to a uniquely designed lounge chair (1 of many in the range). This particular chair is dedicated to Willie Meinn and is the perfect spot to drop your pack, take you boots off and enjoy a snack or lunch. 

Now for most people this will probably be your turn around point, at 6 miles round trip and over 2000 feet gained, this is an already strenuous hike and great workout. But for those that find themselves wanting to continue and explore all Verdugo has to offer, resume east straight along the fire road now called Verdugo Motorway. 

If you are going for Verdugo Peak, you will have to hike a full 3.5 miles further, first passing the Vital Link Trial (mile #5) and then Hostetter Fire Road (mile #6.3). If you do make it to Verdugo you will see that it is not much of a peak any more but a flattened mountaintop crowned by a large radio tower. 

However the views from the top are no less spectacular, with 360 degrees of sight you can view the entirety of great Los Angeles including Downtown LA, Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountain Ranges and even Santa Catalina Island on a clear day. For those turning around your total round trip will be around 13 miles. If you choose to continue even farther; the fire road along to the top will take you to Mt Thom and Tongva peak, cross a section of the Brand Loop, and eventually descend into the Glendale suburbs. 

For those training for long distance backpacking trips I recommend connecting the North Ridge with the Mt Thom and Tongva Peak hike. By placing a car at the trailhead of both hikes, you can traverse across the entire Verdugo Mountain Range for a distance of 12.5 miles with total elevation gain of 3400 feet.    

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Tags

Chillin
Photography
Mountain Biking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Scenic
Wildlife

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