La Tuna Canyon Trail is a little gem on the northwest side of the Verdugo Mountains. The trailhead is officially in Sunland, and easy to reach from both the 210 and 5 freeways on – what else – La Tuna Canyon Road.
There are no permit or parking fees. Just find a place to pull up and park. The trail begins on the south side of La Tuna Canyon Road, 1.2 miles west of the 210 freeway. Look for the big, brown Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy sign marking the start of the trail.
The trail meanders back and forth, zig-zagging through several canyons as it slowly and steadily climbs. This side of the Verdugo Mountains faces north, so it gets much more shade than the Vital Link Trail. On a January morning, it was cool and the hills were turning green from the winter rains.
After a mile and a half of meandering and gentle gains, the trail climbs out of the shade, into the sun, and the vertical gains come more steadily.
The last mile to the top the trail climbs 600 feet. Once you reach the “top” of this this trail, you’re granted a restful lounge chair with the name “Chuck” carved into the back. You get a great view of the 210 snaking it’s way through the mountains and the taller San Gabriel range just beyond.
Here the trail hooks up with the Verdugo Motorway – a fire road the weaves closely along the crest of the Verdugo Mountains, ultimately connecting with both the Vital Link Trail and the Beaudry Motorway Loop. If you’re looking to extend your hike, you can follow this road in either direction, but be sure to save energy and water for the return trip.
After a rest break at “Chuck,” we headed back down the La Tuna Canyon Trail, but on our return we followed the steep single-track down the ridge. It begins innocently enough.
The last section of this “short-cut” adds an element of adventure, requiring hand-over-foot scrambling. Trekking poles, hiking shoes with good grip and a willingness to get a little dirty come in handy on the steep, rutted descent. We shaved about half a mile returning this route, but had to take it slowly.
La Tuna Canyon Trail Map & Elevation Profile
La Tuna Canyon Trail Tips and Resources
- Get driving directions to the trailhead via Google Maps
- The trails in the Verdugo Mountains are also popular with mountain bikers. Be alert!
- There are no facilities or water on this trail.
- Download our GPX track
La Tuna Canyon Weather Forecast
Originally hiked on January 16, 2016.
Marble Mountain Ranch says
This is the perfect place to hike. The best thing that will happen in hiking is witnessing the beauty of nature. By staring at the beautiful mountains you will be relaxed and appreciate how beautiful the world is. Hoping to hike this mountain someday.
Best camp stoves says
Love the view from the top of the hills! Reminds me of hiking around Sante Fe, New Mexico.
Dan Chabert says
Wow! I imagine myself enjoying a bottle of beer on “Chuck” while looking at a beautiful scenery.
Geoffrey S says
Has anyone been out there since the recent La Tuna Canyon fire? I drove past the other day and it seems the trail was spared from the worst of the fire, just curious as to what the conditions are.
I tried to go this past Sunday Feb 11th 2018 and the trail was closes with a fence because of “Hazardous Conditions” and the area looked really damaged by the recent fires… Really sad.
On a more positive note, thank you Jeff for your great hiking posts, you are my point of reference for hikes around Los Angeles area. Description and info is great and the pictures are really helpful!
Wow this looks like a fabulous hike. Do you have any 2018 updates on it? I am in the area next month and am looking for a few hikes?
Yes this tail head is still closed. It’s not directly due to the fires, it’s actually due to the rains/flooding in January 2018. A part of the road was damaged, and it’s still in the process of being repaired.. You can still reach this area via Hostetter Fire road, which is closer to the 210 fwy.