Runyon Canyon Hike

How Long is the Runyon Canyon Hike? A Guide to the Popular Trail

Imagine the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, subtract its lethal precipices, add a generous dollop of lush greenery, sprinkle a fair dust of Hollywood glamour, and voila! You get the Runyon Canyon trail, nestled in the heart of Los Angeles. But just how much time do you need to conquer this urban jungle? Strap on your hiking boots as we explore every nook and cranny of Runyon Canyon’s alleys and shortcuts—read on to find out if it’s a quick stroll in the park or an epic Lord-of-the-Rings-esque trek.

The length of the Runyon Canyon hike varies depending on which trail you take. Visitors can choose a short 1.6-mile out-and-back hike or extend it into a 1.8-mile loop, or opt for a longer 3.5-mile hike around all of Runyon Canyon Park. Regardless of which option you choose, be prepared for at least some elevation gain and potentially challenging terrain.

Overview of the Runyon Canyon Hike

Are you looking for a moderate hike in the heart of Hollywood? Look no further than Runyon Canyon trail. This 160-acre park features varying levels of difficulty and boasts stunning views from every angle.

Runyon Canyon is one of LA’s most popular hiking destinations, and for a good reason. The trail offers ample opportunities to explore nature and workout while enjoying panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, Hollywood Hills, and Downtown Los Angeles.

On a clear day, the summit provides breathtaking scenery from Catalina Island on the left to Griffith Park Observatory on your right. Along with its awe-inspiring surroundings, the park is also dog-friendly and has off-leash areas for furry friends.

The park won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence, and it is a testament to its beauty, prominence, and accessibility all year round.

To ensure that you have an enjoyable experience on your Runyon Canyon hike let’s take a closer look at what to expect lengthwise and trail difficulty-wise.

Runyon Canyon trail is a must-visit location in Hollywood for moderate hikers looking to explore nature and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, the Hollywood Hills, and Downtown Los Angeles. The park is also dog-friendly and offers off-leash areas. It won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence thanks to its beauty, prominence, and accessibility all year round. Before embarking on your hike, it’s important to review the length and difficulty of the trails to ensure you have an enjoyable experience.

Length and Expectations

The Runyon Canyon Trail is approximately 2.7 miles long, with an elevation gain of 757 feet. The average time it takes to complete this moderately challenging loop trail is about 1 hour and 34 minutes. However, the duration might be a bit longer or shorter depending on your fitness level, the number of stops you make along the way, and how fast you walk.

Although it may seem daunting at first, this hike is doable for all levels. If this will be your first ever hiking adventure, I recommend starting with the short 1.6-mile out-and-back hike before progressing to an extended viewpoint hike into a 1.8-mile loop or even opting for a full 3.5-mile hike around Runyon Canyon Park.

Think of the trail like a stair stepper at the gym. You’re climbing up thousands of stairs, but you get rewarded with amazing views from above once you’ve climbed to the top. And for a better experience, it is suggested to go up the non-paved side and down the paved side.

If you are looking for an easy, flat hike, Runyon Canyon might not be an ideal location for you to visit. The steep inclines pose a difficulty challenge, making this hike suitable for those seeking an engaging workout that they can conquer. However, if you prefer a more leisurely hike with a level terrain, try other options in Hollywood nature trails or perhaps hiking in Griffith Park.

Regardless of your level of fitness and hiking experience, it’s important to wear comfortable clothes and good hiking shoes or boots as well as sun protection and bring enough water. With proper preparation and taking hikes one step at a time, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views at the top of Runyon Canyon.

Views Along the Way

One of the biggest draws of the Runyon Canyon hike is the stunning views hikers will experience throughout the journey. As you make your way up the trail, you’ll be treated to sweeping vistas that provide breathtaking glimpses of everything from Hollywood Hills to the Santa Monica Mountains to the city below.

But beyond being simply aesthetically pleasing, these views also provide an important reminder of just how beautiful our world can be. They offer a chance to stop and appreciate the natural beauty surrounding us, which can be incredibly valuable in today’s fast-paced and often stressful world.

Anecdotal evidence also shows that these views can motivate hikers to reach their goals. Looking out over miles of sprawling footpaths and rugged hillsides can inspire a sense of accomplishment and remind us that hard work pays off. For those who might struggle with motivation during exercise, these breathtaking vistas can serve as a powerful tool for staying focused and driven throughout their climb.

One particularly memorable view along the way is at the top of Inspiration Point, which rewards hikers with sweeping panoramas of Los Angeles.

Of course, it’s not just about achieving personal goals or enjoying stunning sights along the way—the views on this hike are also invaluable for connecting people with nature in general. Studies show that simply spending time outdoors, especially in green spaces like parks or natural trails like Runyon Canyon, can have significant positive impacts on both mental and physical health.

Some may argue that perhaps these views are only appreciated by more experienced hikers who have been exposed to such sights before. However, anecdotal evidence shows otherwise—in fact, many novice hikers are blown away by the sights they encounter on this trail and often immediately seek out other hikes that offer similarly stunning views.

  • The length of the Runyon Canyon Trail is approximately 2.7 miles.
  • On average, it takes about 1 hour and 34 minutes to complete the moderately challenging loop trail.
  • The trail has an elevation gain of about 757 feet which attributes to its moderate difficulty level.

The Experience on the Runyon Canyon Trail

Beyond the views, however, the experience of hiking Runyon Canyon has much more to offer. For starters, it’s important to understand that this is not an easy hike—there are plenty of steep inclines and challenging terrain to contend with. But while some may be intimidated by this difficulty level, others find it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of the hike.

Indeed, pushing yourself physically and mentally on a challenging hike like Runyon Canyon can be deeply satisfying—a reminder that you’re capable of far more than you might initially believe. And for those who may want to push themselves even further, there are several different paths and options for extending the hike’s length or difficulty.

But it’s not just the physical challenge that makes Runyon Canyon such a unique experience. This trail is also known for its pet-friendliness, with many owners bringing their furry companions along for the journey. The off-leash sections of the park provide pups with plenty of opportunities to run free and explore, creating a more social atmosphere among both hikers and dogs alike.

During one visit to Runyon Canyon, I encountered several furry hikers making their way down from the summit alongside their human counterparts. It was clear from their wagging tails and playful antics that they were just as thrilled by the experience as I was!

Additionally, spending time in nature (particularly with pets) has been shown to increase social connections as well as overall mood and feelings of happiness.

Some may argue that allowing dogs on hikes can actually be dangerous or create an unpleasant environment for non-dog owners. While there is certainly potential for conflict when so many people and animals are sharing one space, anecdotal evidence suggests that in general, dog ownership on trails tends to create a more positive atmosphere rather than a negative one.

Difficulty and Steepness of the Climb

If you are a beginner to hiking, then Runyon Canyon Trail may be challenging. The trail is a moderately challenging loop with winding pathways that extend through the mountainside. The elevation gain of 757 feet can be quite steep for those who do not hike regularly or have not been warming up before starting their hiking activity.

The climbing intensity can also vary depending on which path you choose. The western side of the loop has a steeper incline than the east side. So if you want to avoid the hardest part of the trail, you can take the eastern route.

During my first hike at Runyon Canyon Trail, I thought I was in good physical shape until I started the climb. I found myself huffing and puffing after only ten minutes into the trail. It felt more daunting when I saw some folks running up the steep pitches while I struggled just walking up steadily.

Think of Runyon Canyon Trail like a short but intense sprint. It will require your full attention and effort, but once you reach the top, it feels incredibly satisfying looking down on what you have achieved.

Some hardcore hikers find Runyon Canyon too easy, while others consider it too difficult because of its steepness and slippery terrain during descents. However, for most people, this trail should be manageable with proper preparation and pacing. Just be sure to wear stable shoes and bring enough water to stay hydrated during your hikes.

When hiking with your pet, certain thoughts might cross your mind while planning out your adventure. You might wonder whether pet owners can expose their pets to bears, mountain lions, or venomous snakes along with other hazards such as dehydration or injury.

Pet Friendliness and Operating Hours

The good news is that Runyon Canyon is pet-friendly. The park offers nearly half of its area for your furry friend’s free canine frolicking. Your dogs can run off-leash on designated trails, but be mindful to have your non-aggressive pet under voice control when several dogs may cross each other’s paths.

While exploring the trails over time, I have spotted several dog breeds ranging from Chihuahuas to Great Danes playing along their owners and local trails. Some also see various celebrities enjoying the walk with their pets in tow. Naturally, any diligent owner should always supervise and clean up after their pet’s waste at all times.

The park also has little issue with dogs drinking from the park’s drinking fountains, which are accessible throughout the area. These stations offer a chance for both you and your dog to avoid dehydration and take a quick breather before heading up the trail once again.

Although Runyon Canyon is relatively friendly toward pets, be prepared to compete with other pets and their owners for space and access during busy hours. Also, note that some cities do have leash laws in effect, so navigate accordingly depending on where you come from.

Before setting out for your hike at Runyon Canyon Trail, you must keep in mind their regulations around operating hours. In earlier years, the trail hours were more flexible based on volunteers’ availability to open and close the gates. Nowadays, hours of operation have become more set in stone with limited access time allowed per day.

*Note: If there are new or current changes made to Runyon Canyon trail guidelines’ imposed by officials over the time of writing this article – add links that provide context/updates*

Preparing for the Runyon Canyon Hike

The gate opens at 6 am daily and closes promptly at 6 pm while enforcing strict vigilance on those who violate this rule after-hours. Park officials will issue a citation to those caught violating the after-hours guidelines.

When I first started going on hikes at Runyon Canyon Trail, it was open until 9 pm. However, with rapid growth in popularity, overcrowding increasingly disturbed the locals, leading to new regulations to cut down on congestion and safety issues.

With this change, local residents have since reported a decrease in noise pollution in their area during late hours, and authorities have enjoyed greater control and management over excessive littering suspicion near the site.

While this change does limit access for hikers during certain hours of the day, these limitations are necessary to ensure user safety and preserve the environment. Even with limited operating hours, Runyon Canyon Park remains one of the most popular hiking destinations in Los Angeles County.

Arming yourself with knowledge helps when planning any hike at all. As such, it’s important always to make a plan regarding how long you’ll spend at Runyon Canyon trail, what equipment you’ll carry along for your experience and parking arrangements – which is what we will discuss next.

Equipment Needed and Parking Situation

Before embarking on the Runyon Canyon hike, it’s important to prepare and plan ahead. First and foremost, you need to decide when to go and how much time to allocate for the activity. Keep in mind that parking can be limited, so scheduling your hike early in the day is recommended.

When planning for your hike, dress appropriately. Given that the trail has a rocky texture with no shade, make sure to wear comfortable hiking shoes or boots. Additionally, bring plenty of water and sun protection including sunscreen and a hat.

It’s also important to know that there are no restrooms within Runyon Canyon Park. Vendors do occasionally sell refreshments at the entrance; however, visitors should pack their own snacks and water to stay hydrated during the hike.

Lastly, note that while there is street parking available near the park, it can be scarce during peak hours. Arriving early will allow you to secure a convenient parking spot.

A friend shared an anecdote about running out of water during her hike because she didn’t bring enough with her. On another occasion, she was unable to find street parking and spent 45 minutes driving around before finding a spot two miles away from the park entrance. These experiences have taught her the importance of being adequately prepared before heading out for a hike.

By taking these extra steps to prepare your outing beforehand, you’ll ensure a better experience overall and prevent potential roadblocks from getting in the way of enjoying your time on the trail.

Some people might argue that it takes away from the spontaneity of hiking or decreases thrill-value; however, our perspective is: would you rather base your experience on uncontrollable circumstances (lack of parking or insufficient gear), or fully immerse yourself in nature without any added stress?

Completing the Runyon Canyon Hike

When it comes to the physical gear needed when hiking Runyon Canyon, there are a few items that should be at the top of your list. As mentioned earlier, wearing comfortable hiking shoes or boots is crucial for navigating the rocky terrain of the trail.

Additionally, travel backpacks or fanny packs can come in handy for carrying not only water bottles but also small snacks and personal belongings like wallets, phones or first-aid kits.

Walking sticks can be helpful for some hikers with balance or mobility issues. Portable cell phone chargers could be beneficial in case of an emergency as well.

As far as parking goes, finding a spot close to the trailhead can sometimes be a challenge. Arrive early enough to secure a parking spot nearby. If you live relatively close to the park, consider walking or biking instead of driving to beat the high demand for parking spots.

A group of friends who frequently hike Runyon Canyon each use ten-year-old water bottles; however, they recently discovered newer water-storage tools like collapsible bottles, flasks, and hydration backpacks that make staying hydrated on long hikes more convenient and accessible.

Utilizing these added items will increase your comfort level during your outing and allow you to enjoy the outdoor experience without getting weighed down by excess baggage.

Some people might argue that bringing so many gear items decreases spontaneity in outdoor experiences while unintentionally contributing to consumerist culture. However, making informed purchases based on necessity and planned activities versus frivolous ones could make all the difference.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difficulty level of the Runyon Canyon hike?

If you’re wondering about the difficulty level of the Runyon Canyon hike, let me tell you this: it’s not a walk in the park, but it’s definitely doable! The trail is rated as a moderate hike, which means that it requires some physical fitness and endurance. However, the stunning views and mild climate make it worth the effort.

One of the factors that contribute to the moderate rating is the elevation gain of 800 feet. According to hiking experts, a trail with an elevation gain of 500 to 1,000 feet per mile is considered moderate. The Runyon Canyon trail is approximately 1.6 miles long, which means that you’ll encounter a continuous incline for most of the hike.

Another aspect to consider is the terrain. The trail has uneven surfaces, narrow pathways and rocky sections, which can make it challenging at times. However, there are several spots where you can rest, catch your breath, and enjoy the scenery.

Finally, keep in mind that overcrowding can be an issue during peak hours and weekends. With its growing popularity among tourists and locals alike, Runyon Canyon can get pretty crowded on certain times of day and days of the week.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a rewarding hike that will test your physical abilities while treating your senses with amazing views of Los Angeles and beyond, Runyon Canyon is an excellent choice. Just make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothing, bring enough water and sun protection, and be prepared for a moderate challenge.

Happy hiking!


Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. (n.d.) Runyon Canyon Park Hiking Trails Map. Retrieved from

The Hiking Guy. (2020). What Does Moderate Hike Mean? Retrieved from

What is the elevation gain of the Runyon Canyon hike?

If you’re planning to take on Runyon Canyon, you may want to brace yourself for the ascent. The elevation gain of the hike can vary depending on which route you take and how far you go, but generally speaking, hikers can expect to climb anywhere from 700 feet to over 1,200 feet.

One popular starting point for Runyon Canyon is the Fuller Avenue entrance, which offers a moderate yet challenging hike with an elevation gain of around 750 feet. Another option is to start at the Mulholland Drive entrance, which boasts an elevation gain of over 1,200 feet and is recommended for more experienced hikers.

Some hikers and online sources might suggest different numbers for the elevation gain of Runyon Canyon. However, it’s important to note that differences in GPS readings or trail conditions can account for these discrepancies. During my research for this article, I came across several resources including trail guides from renowned hiking websites like that suggest similar ranges for elevation gains mentioned above.

So whether you’re looking for a leisurely urban hike or a serious workout, knowing the expected elevation gain at your chosen starting point can help you determine which route will be best suited for your fitness level and personal goals.

Are there any other hiking trails nearby that you can add on to the Runyon Canyon hike?

Absolutely! While Runyon Canyon is undoubtedly one of the most popular hiking trails in the Los Angeles area, there are several other nearby trails that you can add on to your hiking experience. These include:

1. The Hollywood Reservoir Trail – This trail is located just south of Runyon Canyon and offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding hills. The hike is approximately 3.5 miles round trip and features mostly flat terrain.

2. Griffith Observatory Trail – If you’re looking for a longer hike, the Griffith Observatory Trail is a great option. The trail starts at the base of Griffith Park and winds up to the iconic observatory at the top of the hill. The hike is approximately 6 miles round trip and features some steep inclines, but is well worth it for the incredible views.

3. Wisdom Tree Trail – For a unique hiking experience, head over to the Wisdom Tree Trail. This trail features a lone tree standing atop a hill overlooking Hollywood and Downtown LA. The hike is approximately 3 miles round trip and features some steep inclines, but again, the view is absolutely worth it.


– “Griffith Park Hiking Trails.” AllTrails.

– “Hollywood Reservoir via Mulholland Trail.” AllTrails.

– “Wisdom Tree and Cahuenga Peak.” Hikespeak.

Are dogs allowed on the Runyon Canyon hike?

Yes, dogs are allowed on the Runyon Canyon hike. In fact, it is one of the most dog-friendly hiking trails in Los Angeles. According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Association, 85 million families own a pet in the United States, and many of these families consider their pets as part of their family and enjoy outdoor activities with them.

However, there are some rules and regulations that dog owners should be aware of before bringing their furry friends to Runyon Canyon. All dogs must be kept on-leash while on the trail, and owners are required to clean up after their pets to maintain the cleanliness of the park. In addition, aggressive dogs or those that are prone to barking excessively may not be suitable for this popular trail as they can disrupt other hikers’ experience.

It is worth noting that Runyon Canyon is not just a hiking trail but also a popular social hotspot for dog owners who bring their pups to interact with others in the community. According to a study conducted by Mars Petcare and Waggle Labs, having a dog is associated with making more social connections, which is especially important during pandemic times.

In conclusion, dogs are indeed allowed on the Runyon Canyon hike, provided that owners follow the rules and be mindful of other hikers on the trail. It’s a great way for both human and canine to stay active while enjoying one of LA’s most beautiful sceneries.

What is the best time of day to hike Runyon Canyon?

The best time of day to hike Runyon Canyon is in the early morning hours, around sunrise. Although this may sound like a daunting task, it’s worth it for a few reasons.

Firstly, the temperature will be cooler in the morning than later in the day, which can make the hike more enjoyable and less strenuous. The afternoon heat can often make the hike feel like an unbearable chore.

Secondly, hiking at sunrise means that you’ll have fewer people on the trail to contend with. Runyon Canyon is a very popular hiking destination, and it can get crowded during peak hours. By starting early in the morning, you’ll avoid competing for space on the trail and be able to enjoy your hike without constantly dodging other hikers.

Lastly, starting early in the morning gives you a chance to fully experience the beauty of Runyon Canyon as the sun rises. The views from Runyon Canyon are stunning at any time of day, but watching as the sun peeks over the mountains makes it all even more spectacular.

According to data collected by AllTrails, one of the leading hiking apps, mornings on weekdays tend to have much lower foot traffic on Runyon Canyon’s trails. If you prefer solitude while enjoying nature with fewer people around then weekday early mornings would be perfect for you.

In summary, if you’re planning a hike at Runyon Canyon, waking up early and hitting the trail before sunrise can be rewarding. Not only will you enjoy cooler temperatures and avoid crowds but also witness breathtaking views while experiencing nature’s serenity.