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Hiking La Tuna Canyon Trail

Hiking the La Tuna Canyon Trail

Hiking the La Tuna Canyon Trail

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.

Trail Details
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 1,126 ft
Dogs: Yes
When to go: Year-round
The Verdugo Mountains are easily accessible and provide great 360-degree views of LA and the Valley, plus a front-seat view of the San Gabriel range. This four mile out-and-back gives you a shady climb through old oaks and sycamore trees with options to add adventure or extend the hike.

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.


Trailhead to the La Tuna Canyon 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.

Sit and rest at the top of the trail

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.

This short cuts about 1/2 a mile off the return

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.

It gets much steeper still

La Tuna Canyon Trail Map & Elevation Profile

Download file: 8200-west-tuna-canyon-road-to-8001-west-tuna-canyon-road-los-angeles-ca (1).gpx

La Tuna Canyon Trail Tips and Resources

La Tuna Canyon Weather Forecast

[forecast width=”100%” location=”91352″]

Originally hiked on January 16, 2016.

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