Posted by: GeekHiker | July 30, 2007

HIKE: Verdugo Mountains South

The Verdugo Mountains are a short mountain chain standing between the mountains of the Angeles National Forest and the vast alluvial plain that makes up the Los Angeles basin.  Like the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains, which terminates at Griffith Park, it’s an island of natural area in the middle of the suburban sea.

Topping out around 3,000 feet, the Verdugo’s do provide expansive views in every direction, at least on clear days.  Views of the San Gabriel Mountains (the Angeles N.F.) soaring above the basin, the straight streets of the San Fernando Valley, the open basin of greater Los Angeles stretching out into the ocean, and the lands of the Inland Empire.

If you’re out for scenic views of the greater metropolis, the Verdugo’s are for you.  Fair warning though: the mountains are basic chaparral scrubland, with some trees on the shadier slopes (at least in the southern section which I visited).  As wilderness, the Verdugos are far from the prettiest available.

Despite this, they are filled with wildlife, including coyotes and deer living in isolation from the larger wildernesses of the San Gabriels and Santa Monicas.  The area is a mixture of public (held by a number of agencies) and private land, but the relative steepness of the terrain has prevented much development past the base of the mountains.

From the trailhead, start up the fire road (the entire hike will be on fire roads) and head up hill, passing a reservoir/debris dam.  The road climbs steeply, with ever-expanding views to the east.  At the signed junction, turn right up the Beaudry N Fire Road, ascending towards the top of the ridge.

Verdugo Mtns.

View from the Verdugo Mountains looking North-East towards the San Gabriel Mountains/Angeles National Forest.

Reaching the top of the ridge, turn left, heading south.  You will eventually reach a viewpoint looking out over the LA basin to the south, with the San Fernando Valley to the east.

After enjoying the view (and catching your breath), head down, turning south and then east down the Beaudry S Fire Road.  The road will steeply drop back down the canyon, eventually ending at the trailhead.

Although I did the hike this weekend, I wouldn’t recommend it during the summer.  The roads are exposed with little shade and proved to be far, far too hot.  Save this area for fall/winter/spring hikes.

Personally, I’ll be back.  There’s something on the map marked “experimental forest” that’s piquing my interest.

Total Distance: ~5 miles

Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,200’/1,200′

Website: n/a

Directions: From State Highway 2 (north or south) exit at Mountain Ave. and head east.  At the bottom of the hill, turn right (north) onto Canada Blvd.  Continue north and bend left onto Country Club Dr.  Turn left at and park along Beaudry Blvd or on Country Club Dr.  The trailhead is at the end of Beaudry Blvd.

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