|View of the Verdugo and San Gabriel Mountains from Tongva Peak|
Access: Parking is along a residential street in a subdivision
Tongva Peak is the eastmost major peak in the Verdugo Mountains, a short urban mountain range just northeast of Glendale and Burbank, at the center of the Los Angeles metropolis. The Verdugos are not particularly tall and only slightly separated from the much larger and much more dramatic San Gabriel Range: thus, the Verdugos offer relatively easy hiking country to enjoy city views and views of the San Gabriels. Tongva Peak, which can be reached by hiking along the Beaudry Motorway, a former dirt road, is perhaps the easiest access to the good views of the Verdugos. As the hike follows a fairly wide road the entire way and elevation gain is substantial but spread out, this hike is doable by most reasonably fit people. However, do be prepared for the heat and the sun: we found ourselves sweating quite profusely and using plenty of sunscreen, even in February.
The trailhead is in an unconventional location: the hike starts in the middle of a subdivision in Glendale, near La Canada Flintridge. My friend and I hiked this trail in mid-February: we drove over from West Los Angeles, taking Highway 2 north from the downtown area towards Glendale and La Canada Flintridge. We left Highway 2 at the exit for Verdugo Blvd (21C), which is immediately before Highway 2 merges with the 210. There is an earlier exit for Verdugo Rd much further south near downtown Glendale; be sure that you don't exit there. After coming off the ramp, we turn lefted onto Verdugo Blvd and follow it for a couple of blocks to Verdugo Rd; we then turned left onto Verdugo Rd and followed it south a few blocks past the Oakmont Country Club to Canada Blvd. We followed Canada Blvd to the right, then immediately made a right onto Country Club Drive. We followed Country Club Drive for a half mile and then turned left onto Beaudry Blvd, which led into a residential neighborhood. About a third of a mile down Beaudry Blvd, the road makes wide right turn and begins to head uphill. A narrow paved road heads off to the left at the turn: this is the trailhead. We parked on the side of the street nearby.
The beginning of the hike was not terribly promising. The fire road began near a small concrete dam, then paralleled a small, dried-up reservoir and became a dirt road after passing a gate. The wideness of the trail (fire road) here makes the trail easy to follow and comfortable to hike on, but makes the experience distinctly non-wild, though there isn't much wild about an urban mountain range in the middle of the second largest metropolitan area in the country anyway.
Past the end of the reservoir, the fire road made a few turns into a wooded area and offered its first view of the communication towers atop Tongva Peak itself. Soon after, we came to the junction of the North and South Beaudry fire roads. We followed North Beaudry, which was the main branch of the trail, off to the right, starting an ascent up a wooded canyon.
|View from the fire road at the bottom of the canyon towards Tongva Peak|
|San Rafael Hills|
|San Gabriels from Beaudry Motorway|
|Smog above the San Fernando Valley|
After spending a while on the summit, we headed back to the South Beaudry Fire Road and continued to follow it to the southeast (right turn from the summit). The hike was more or less all downhill from that point: the fire road generally followed the ridge crest and climbed a slight bit when it approached Mount Thom. At a saddle just before reaching Mount Thom, the South Beaudry Road met up with the Las Flores Motorway. We stayed left to stay on the Beaudry Motorway. The road skipped by the summit of Mount Thom but continued to offer views once it returned to following the Verdugo crest.
After passing Mount Thom, the road made a slight turn towards the east. This turn put the San Gabriels front and center in our vision as we descended. The late day lighting accentuated the shadows cast by each fractal ridge in the range, casting a beautiful pattern of light and dark on the mountains. Strawberry Peak and San Gabriel Peak dominated the view. Far below, the houses and shopping outlets of La Canada Flintridge escaped the rays of the late day sun.
|Sunset glow on the San Gabriels|
|Downtown LA in the evening light|
This was an enjoyable hike with stellar views of the San Gabriel Mountains. This certainly isn't for anyone who is looking for wilderness: it's hard to imagine a mountain range more engulfed in an urban setting. However, if you live in LA, there's little reason that you shouldn't check out this fun peak on a fairly easy hike.