Your mission, should you choose to accept it, involves a butt-busting hike to Mission Point in O’Melveny Park in Granada Hills. The 4.5-mile loop begins with a punishing 1.75-mile ascent that gains nearly 1,500 feet. Leaving the paved road at the bottom of the park, you’ll dip across a canyon brimming with California walnut trees before beginning the nutty climb up Grotto Trail. The trail pushes up a mostly exposed grassy slope surrounded by dry amber grasses and still-blooming sunflowers. A few super steep sections will get your heart going! Pause to pant, and to admire views east across Los Angeles Reservoir and the San Fernando Valley toward the San Gabriel Mountains. The climb tapers as you join O’Melveny Trail and swing up switchbacks to Mission Point and a panorama that’ll have you saying hallelujah LA! From this 2,771-foot rise in the Santa Susana Mountains, the entire San Fernando Valley seems to come into view. Looping back, you will descend into Bee Canyon, framed by rock walls. Finish with a gradual cool-down through a picnic area and a citrus grove. Mission accomplished!
Start from the parking area at the entrance of O’Melveny Park, located at 17300 Sesnon Blvd. in Granada Hills (map). Walk a short distance up the paved park road and turn left on the Nature Trail. Make the next right on the Equestrian Trail and hike 0.1 mile to the start of the Grotto Trail (labeled on some maps as Grassland Trail). Hike 1 mile to a “T” at the top of the Grotto Trail, passing a few side paths, and turn left up the ridgeline on O’Melveny Trail (labeled on some maps as Mission Point Trail). Hike southwest for a quarter mile and turn right at a tall fence, following switchbacks up to Mission Point. Return down O’Melveny Trail, pass the Grotto Trail, and descend 1.25 miles into Bee Canyon. Hike down the canyon to a split, and proceed to the right or left through the park to finish the loop. Dog-friendly!