Griffith Park and Trails Café

No trip to LA is complete without a visit to Griffith Park. Iconic Griffith Park is to LA what Central Park is to NYC, there is something to see for anyone visiting. You can spend an entire day exploring, or even years and never see it all. Griffith is America’s largest municipal park with an urban wilderness area with over 50 miles of trails. A popular activity is hiking the Mount Hollywood trail to the Hollywood sign.

griffith park 7We parked in the Observatory lot (more on that later!) and followed the people walking away from the observatory until seeing trees and the trail sign. There are so many different ways to get to and viewing platforms to see the Hollywood sign from this trail. We initially hopped on the low road and wandered with the crowd. This easy winding trail gave us a great opportunity to view the lizards and wildflowers of the habitat.

griffith park 5 griffith park 6After a short time we came to a bend in the trail which gave a phenomenal view of the sign! A great payoff for a little effort.

griffith park 9On the route back we chose the high road and got up into the hills. Here we were given a beautiful view of the hazy city and surrounding landscape.

griffith park 4 griffith parkWe followed the path back to the observatory which we spied in the distance, a perfect landmark.

griffith park 3When you get back you can visit the observatory which is free to the public so long as it isn’t a Monday. Check out the grounds and the telescopes, or purchase a ticket for the planetarium.

griffith park 8Our next item on the agenda was a trip to the old LA zoo. There is a new LA zoo filled with all of the sights you would imagine – lions, tigers, and bears. The old LA zoo is more of a post-apocalyptic scene: deserted, empty cages, and totally open to the public if you can find it.

old la zoo 2Park by the merry-go-round (and if you have kids or you are a kid at heart go for a ride!) and walk up the dirt path that is closed off for driving and you’ll find yourself within this strange place. Feel free to wriggle into the cages and survey the situation of the animals.

old la zoo old la zoo 1 old la zoo 3Wonder who went where. Imagine how an animal can be contained in such a small confinement. I love a vist to the zoo, it’s interesting and educational – but it’s awful to think about being locked up like this. I really hope that the new zoo meant bigger and better room for the animals. After a morning of hiking and investigating the paths of the abandoned zoo you may find yourself hungry. You don’t have to go very far, a trip to the Trails Café is a wonderful place to fuel up.

trails cafe 2You will probably want a nice icy drink if it’s a hot sunny day. They have great tea, coffee, and lemonade options. Their food menu isn’t too extensive, but any palate can find a feast to fill them up. The boys were all about the snake dog – a hotdog wrapped up in a puff pastry on a stick, with a side of fruit for $5.

trails cafe 1I was more into the avocado sandwich which was loaded with so many fantastic ingredients and delicious!

trails cafeFresh California avocados, tomatoes, red onions, soy “bacon bits”, sprouts, cheese, this bad boy was filling. Other options included pbj, grilled cheese, and an egg salad sandwich. There were a lot of baked goods available, and I left room for pie. Strawberry rhubarb piled high with whipped cream, so yummy. We loved sitting outside on the picnic tables in the shade. There are so many activities to keep you in the park after lunch – golfing, swimming, birding, searching for the bat cave – you name it. Stay hydrated and have a fun day at the park!

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