Looking north through the San Fernando Valley from the Nancy Hoover Pohl Lookout at Fryman Canyon Park (Photo – Kitty Cahalan)

The Betty Dearing Trail in Studio City can be hiked as a 2.6 mile or 5.6 mile loop, but to access either choice you start at Wilacre Park with a steep climb past the gate, gaining 450 feet in the first mile, with a view of Studio City and the chic Hollywood Hills homes as a reward.

By Kitty Cahalan

Add to the total number of steps by taking one of the smaller trails that branch off and back to the main trail. Turning south through Coldwater Canyon Park, hikers are dropped off on Iredell Lane. Complete the shorter loop going east on Iredell and north on Fryman Road.

Or! Add three miles and a little more inflated by veering right from Iredell Ln just as he exits the cul-de-sac. Continue on the Betty Dearing Trail passing Gene Autry Ridge into a quieter, more woodland canyon with several small creek crossings. A few shortcuts to the summit of Mulholland branch off, but sticking to the better maintained trail will result in a less difficult uphill slope. Just before the fourth mile, steeper climbs give way to stairs and switchbacks, but the effort is worth it as sweeping views of the San Fernando Valley to the north are revealed from the lookouts in Fryman Canyon Park. From the park, take the southeast branch of the Betty Dearing Trail to the east side of the canyon, ending at Briarcrest Fire Rd. Turn left towards Fryman Rd and walk back down easily to the parking lot.

Sunscreen and water are always essential, but good hiking boots should suffice and stream crossings are minimal. The sole is asphalt or decomposed granite. Watch out for rattlesnakes and poison oak. This hike is popular with families, joggers and dog walkers. Dogs must be kept on a leash.

Car park

The free parking lot at the corner of Laurel Canyon Blvd and Fryman Road fills up early most of the time, but spaces open frequently. A bathroom is available in the parking lot.

Hiked: 5/17/21

Kitty cahalan lives in Pasadena and spends his middle years enjoying the Southern California wilderness.

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