Hikes: Bee Rock

This moderate hike takes you up to Bee Rock via the Bill Eckert trail. Bee Rock is a unique hive-shaped outcropping of rock towering over the east side of Griffith Park. From the top of the rock, you have a commanding view over the Wilson and Harding golf courses, Glendale and beyond.

Rest bench - Bill Eckert Trail

To reach the trailhead, take Griffith Park Dr. from Crystal Springs Dr. and continue past the parking area for the Old L.A. Zoo picnic area. Take the first dirt road on the left - there's parking here for another picnic area just to the right. On the left will be the trailhead, at a starting elevation of 590 feet. Head up the small embankment, then turn left/east and follow the trail around towards the Old L.A. Zoo. In 0.10 mile, the trail will reverse itself and begin heading northwest, where you’ll have a clear view of Bee Rock straight ahead. In another 0.15 mile, at the 0.25-mile mark will be the junction for the Bill Eckert trail. Bill Eckert was a Park Ranger for the City of Los Angeles who wore badge #1. Stay right to follow the trail.

Bee Rock

The now trail begins a gradual, steady climb to 745 feet in a little over 0.33 of a mile. Here you will find a bench under a grove of eucalyptus trees at the 0.5-mile mark that overlooks the Wilson and Harding golf courses and downtown Glendale. At this point, the trail levels out and continues north for another 0.33 of a mile offering unobstructed views to the east. From here the trail heads west and continues climbing again.

View from Bill Eckert Trail

In another 0.25 mile, at the 1.15-mile mark, you will arrive at a little turn-out where you can see off to the left (facing south) that you are now at just about the same elevation as the summit of Bee Rock. If you turn around and face east, you will see a great sweeping view of the Verdugo Mountains, the San Gabriel Mountains and at their foot, downtown Glendale. Continue uphill until the trail makes a sharp turn left at the 1.25-mile mark. Straight ahead, the land drops several hundred feet to the valley below. To the right is a small little spur trail. If you follow this trail for a few dozen yards, you will find a secluded picnic table with scenic views to the east. This makes a great spot to take a quick break - or to grab lunch - before continuing the rest of the way up to Bee Rock.

Bee Rock

From the picnic table, there’s only another 0.25 mile until the intersection of Vista Del Valle Dr. at the 1.5-mile mark. If you’ve worked up a thirst, there’s a water fountain about 100 yards up to the right. Otherwise, head to the left down Vista Del Valle Dr. for another 0.25 mile where the road will bend to the right. On the left is a turnout that leads to the trail heading for Bee Rock. This trail is not marked, so keep an eye out for the turnout at the 1.75-mile mark. From the main road, it’s only another 150 yards or so out to the tip of Bee Rock.

View from Bee Rock

The view from here would be impressive if it wasn’t for the rusty old chain-link fence surrounding the rock. I can understand why it was placed here (the drop-offs are precipitous), but shoulder height would have been sufficient, allowing unobstructed views. Those who want to go over the fence are going to do so anyway, or cut through it as has been done in many sections. There’s also a lot of graffiti here, so in this case, this hike is more about the journey and less about the destination.

Single-track down to picnic table

The return route offers more of a hiking feel along a single-track trail that leads from the water fountain all the way back to the rest bench which you passed by early in the hike (see map above). This route has will chop off about 0.5 mile from the route. From the bench, retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Details - Bee Rock
Distance: 2.7 mi
Duration: 1.5 hrs
Elevation Range: 527 ft - 998 ft
Net Elevation Gain: 471 ft
Total Elevation Gain: 500 ft
Trailhead Coordinates: 34.136293, -118.287783
Description: This moderate hike offers some very impressive scenery on the east side of Griffith Park.