Basking in Berlin

Berlin Forest in Griffith Park Los Angeles

The star attraction in Griffith Park is the iconic Observatory, a hotspot for tourists and locals alike—which means it sees lots of people. So how do you escape the crowds? Head to Berlin! Berlin Forest is just half a mile from the Observatory, yet feels a world away. The forest is actually dedicated to LA’s sister-city of Berlin. To get there, start from the large lot on Western Canyon Road. Directly across the street are three parallel fire roads. Though the leftmost path merges later, take the middle one for sake of continuity on a 2.5-mile round-trip trek that gently ascends 600 feet. Sycamore trees and yellow mustard flowers hug the trail. As you near the top, be sure to take a quick, sharp-right detour just before you cross West Observatory Road to an awesome, western-facing lookout offering ocean views on a clear day, and a unique view of the Observatory. After continuing a short distance gradually uphill, you’ll reach a junction; to your right is the Mount Hollywood Trail, while the Berlin Forest lies a short way down the left path. It’s wonderful to reach the forest at sunset and enjoy a picnic at one of the many tables under the pines. When the sky darkens, head over to the Observatory to explore the stars or catch a show at the planetarium.

To get to the Western Canyon parking lot and trailhead, from Los Feliz Blvd., head north on Fern Dell Dr., which becomes Western Canyon Rd. after nearly half a mile. The parking lot will be on your left after roughly 0.3 mile, with the fire road trailhead directly across the street. Be sure to bring a flashlight if you’ll be returning to your car after sunset. Photo by simonov.

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