Stough Canyon is a hike where you’re gonna get some amazing views of downtown LA. I would also compare the difficulty of this hike to that of Runyon Canyon Park, but more scenic and in nature. There are also some interesting ruins of an old boys camp half way through the hike. It’s a loop hike of about 3 miles If I lived close by this would be my quick stop for a hike that will make me sweat and feel accomplished at the end. You could call this hike the Runyon of Burbank. It’s a hike that’s at nearly the same length and difficulty as Runyon, with a wide path (fire road) for a lot of people, but does not have those adorable doggy water facets.
Parking directions and map at bottom of blog.
Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
Time: 1 hour
Traffic (human): Moderately trafficked
Distance: 2.8 miles
Hike Config.: Lollipop loop
Elevation Gain: 650 ft.
Shade: No trees, but you could be shaded by the slopes.
Dogs Allowed: Yes
The trailhead begins at the end of the parking lot right near the entrance of the Stough Canyon nature center where you can pick up a few skills in recognizing local flora or wildlife. It has some nice displays and is a great place for kids to explore.
The steepness of the trail is felt in the beginning and continues in a gradual climb which climbs outside of the canyon. You will gain some views of the parking lot to start with.
The size of the trail is huge and known as a “fire trail”. These trails are made like this in order to allow fire trucks up the hill in case of a fire in the hills. But in this case it was just hikers this day, the large trail allows the accommodation of many people.
But in my personal experience fire roads are nice, but it usually doesn’t give me the feeling of being embraced and lost in nature.
Anyways, as you continue hiking along this fire road, you’ll come up on the green sign along the ridge of the canyon directing the next way. To the left there is an amazing view of DTLA, you can take a short detour here, but to the right is the way to complete the lollipop loop, where you will be visiting the ruins of the old youth camp.
As you follow the fire road to the right, it will quickly turn into a single track trail with bushes to your knees. Take this trail as it climbs gradually up to the old Youth Camp.
Just a few minutes of hiking this trail will lead you to the ruins.
At one point in time this camp must have been quite something. The concrete foundations of this building are huge and the chimney is quite large as well. I imagine this camp being a nice retreat for the youth staying a couple of days, enjoying the scenery and escaping the confines of their home.
After admiring the ruins, you’ll see a path that goes up the hill behind the chimney. Take this path up and gain views like this:
From this point approximately 1.4 miles in, there’s not much more to hike, but to find the fire road once again. This is easy as you can see it from following the single track down the mountain.
Next follow the trail to the fire road and take the fire road downhill. This will lead you back to the Nature Center and parking lot.
Enjoy the easy hike down to your vehicle.
Parking and Map:
Parking address: 2300 Walnut Avenue, Burbank, CA 91504