Griffith J. Griffith believed that people gained an enlightened perspective on life when looking at the skies. So true! Especially when you gaze upon a glorious LA sunset from Griffith Observatory, that generous star buff’s gift to the city he loved. For a short path to enlightenment, take a late-afternoon walk up the 1.5-mile round-trip East Trail to the observatory. You’ll revel in the glow of the fading sun and the emerging city lights far below as you stroll a path that’s suitable for all ages and fitness levels. After you park, walk to Vista del Valle and look for a shaded picnic bench and a sign that reads “Boy Scout Trail”—it’s easy to spot the wide path from there.
The hike begins a bit steep but levels out quickly and offers views of Hollywood and downtown as you circle up Mount Hollywood. At around the quarter-mile mark, the dome of the observatory becomes visible, and you’ll cross a paved road to continue on the trail. Once you reach the observatory, take in the view of the Hollywood sign and watch the golden haze of sunset drape across the city’s twinkling lights until the sky fades to black.
To get there, take Vermont Ave. north to Vista Del Valle. Park for free on Vermont north or south of Vista Del Valle. You’ll find paid spots up closer to the Greek Theatre. Then find the start of the trail on Vista Del Valle at the picnic bench. The trail is dog friendly, but pets are not allowed in the observatory. The observatory is free, but to see a planetarium show, tickets must be purchased.