Jive on the Hive

Hiking to Bee Rock in Griffith Park

Griffith Park is home to more than one awesome rock venue. Sure, the Greek Theatre stages legendary rock concerts, but Bee Rock provides beautiful wide vistas and some fun rock scrambling—and this ticket is free!

Park at the iconic merry-go-round and take the Fern Canyon Trail, identified by a large trail-map sign at the west end of the lot. Your four-mile round-trip hike begins on this dirt road. Stay left at the first trail and make a right at the T-junction to take the Upper Old Zoo Trail. This wide track meanders through the canyon beneath live oaks and eucalyptus, flanking traditional chaparral fare such as laurel sumac and sugar bush. Your destination soon comes into view, and the hivelike appearance of this sandstone prominence explains its name.

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After about a mile, you’ll descend and reach a junction in the shade of some sycamores. Take a left for the Bee Rock Trail, which ascends until it dead-ends. Take the narrow singletrack trail to your left. During this steep half-mile segment, you’ll be scrambling about 500 feet up a mesh of granite and dirt. When you reach the fence, turn left and boulder-hop toward the pitted rocks jutting from the mountainside. This is Bee Rock. Ignore the graffiti and, in the company of flitting cliff swallows, revel in the views over Glendale and Burbank toward the San Gabriel Mountains. But wait; there’s more! After you’ve rocked out on the 1,056-foot summit, retrace your steps, but at the Bee Rock Trail junction, head through the gate and go up the paved trail to your right for a bit of scrambling fun on the abandoned rock structures that were part of the original LA Zoo. Take the Lower Old Zoo Trail behind the enclosures to return to the lot.

TIP: Go late in the afternoon when the trail is shaded and the park’s winged residents (such as red-tailed hawks, California quail, Nuttall’s woodpecker, and scrub jays) are most active.

To get to the Griffith Park merry-go-round parking lot and Bee Rock trailhead from the south, take the I-5 to Exit 141B toward Griffith Park. Take an immediate right on Crystal Springs Dr. and follow it for 0.8 mile, turning left at the sign for the lot. From the north, take the I-5 to Exit 141 toward Los Feliz Blvd. Keep right, following signs for Los Feliz Blvd. west. Then make a sharp right onto Crystal Springs Dr. Continue 1.3 miles, turning left at the sign for the lot. Dog-friendly!

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