In a wooded canyon with a small stream, the Griffith Park Bird Sanctuary and Trail offers views of many species of birds in their natural habitat along a winding path. It’s a relatively short hike, but one that offers great views and connects to a wider system of trails.
The bird community represented most of the rich diversity found elsewhere in the Santa Monica Mountains before the fire. More than 200 species have been recorded here over the years, and around 150 occur every year. Now, the park and sanctuary are gradually being revitalized.
Some of the more interesting residents of the community include Cinnamon Teal and Black-necked Stilt along the L.A. River, Hutton’s Vireo and Purple Finch in canyons, and Rufous-crowned Sparrow in arid chaparral and scrub. These birds depend on the wild areas of the park for their survival in the middle of the city.
From March through June, nearly 70 species may nest, particularly in the many small canyons that drain off the slopes into the Los Angeles River. The park’s boundaries take in high, chaparral-covered ridges, shady picnic areas, and natural wetland habitat along the river.
The Bird Sanctuary Trail opened back up after the 2007 Griffith Park fire left it unusable to the public. One of the losses in the park fire was the bird sanctuary.
After thousands of volunteers–most notably the Pacific Asian Volunteer Association who adopted the project–the trail once again opened to the public. Of course, Griffith Park’s loudest cheerleader, Councilman Tom LaBonge, was there to tell everyone about it and take a hike with them. The short loop trail has some nicely shaded portions and crosses a small stream.
Find the trailhead next to the actual Bird Sanctuary which is just north of the Greek Theatre on Vermont Canyon Road. The trail begins to the left of the sanctuary’s fence.
Within less than a mile, it ends, but you’ll meet up with three other trails to choose from: the Charlie Turner Trail (left, takes you down to the Griffith Observatory), 3-Mail Trail (straight ahead, takes you Mount Hollywood) and the East Ridge (Hogback) Trail (right, takes you to Dante’s View and later, the Glendale Peak).
If you want to make a loop out of the hike, there’s unofficially a trail heading down back to street level that takes you by a water tank. You can find it before the trail fork where there is a nice view of the Observatory. However, it can get pretty steep and has lots of loose gravel.
WHAT: Griffith Park Bird Sanctuary And Trail
WHEN: Open daily 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
WHERE: Griffith Park | 2900 North Vermont Avenue | Los Angeles, CA 90027
CONTACT INFO: (323) 666-5046
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