The public Griffith Park, which includes over 4,000 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains, is described as “the largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the United States.” Though the park is full of man-made offerings – concession stands, train rides, bike rentals, and a zoo, to name only a few – it also contains uninhabited hiking trails, and plenty of opportunity to explore the hills, exquisite views, and natural plant and animal life.

The Ferndell Nature Museum, for example, is “a paradise of ferns, flowers and plants of many kinds growing along a tumbling brook, forming a haven of cool shade on a hot summer day,” and a place where you can both get a snack and enjoy nature alone or with your family.  Other unique experiences to be had in the park include hiking behind the “HOLLYWOOD” sign that you would normally see from a distance, and visiting the Griffith Park Observatory.

The Observatory is a local favorite attraction which occupies part of Mount Hollywood and provides both the setting and the educational tools to explore the land below and the cosmos above. You can do so many other things at this park as well – horseback riding, hiking, birding, biking, sports, and more!  Check the site for a list of all activities and attractions.

Admission to the park and to the observatory is free. Check for pricing on other activities within the park. Griffith Park entrances are open every day, from 5:00am to 10:30pm. The Observatory is open Wednesday through Sunday, until 10:00pm. Certain attractions, trails and concession stands have more limited hours.  Check the site for the calendar of special events and for a list of all of the Griffith Park sites.