Thursday, July 4, 2013

Car-free LA: Mt. Hollywood Drive

The "Car-free LA" series profiles rideable terrain in and around Los Angeles that separates you from the endless stream on cars. Most are rideable by road bikes unless otherwise noted.

Mount Hollywood drive is 4.1 miles of pure car-free riding in Griffith Park, just about 6 miles northwest of downtown LA. The road was originally used by automobile traffic, but was closed to cars many years ago. It is a great way to get from the Valley side of Griffith Park to the LA basin side if you are looking to get in a bit of climbing. The views in both directions are fantastic, with great vistas of the San Gabriels, Griffith Observatory, downtown LA, the Santa Monica Mountains, and even the Pacific Ocean on a clear day.

Great views to Griffith Observatory and DTLA
View of the ridge from the south side

Southern entrance (LA side) to the
car-free section. You can ride around
the right side of the gate
It is like having a highway all
to yourself!


The other great thing about this stretch of road is that it is easy to connect up with other car-free and traffic-light bikeways like the LA River trail, Vista del Valle, and Zoo Dr. 

Be aware that it is not maintained like a normal road anymore, so expect some gravel, potholes, cracks, and general roughness. If you are super particular about road quality you may be turned off, but most people (myself included) will gladly trade off a bit of rugged road conditions in order to escape cars and enjoy riding with only the hum of your chain and the sounds of nature. Watch for walkers, cyclists coming in the opposite direction, kamikaze squirrels, and the occasional service truck on the road. If you get really luck (or maybe unlucky depending on how things turn out) you might even get to see the Griffith Park mountain lion! Although no one has actually seen him in person, so no need to fear.

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