The Lazy Hiker


Mt. Bell


Mt. Bell, at 1,582 ft, is the 6th highest peak in Griffith Park, after Cahuenga Peak (1,820 ft), Burbank Peak (1,690 ft), Mt. Lee (formerly 1,708 ft - now 1,680 ft), Mt. Hollywood (1,625 ft), and Mt. Chapel (1,622 ft). It's not a particularly difficult hike, though the last little bit is fairly steep.

Mt. Lee (l) & Cahuenga Pk. (r)

If you're interested in a hike that has some beautiful scenery, requires a moderate level of effort and can be completed in under two hours (round-trip) - this hike's for you. The "trailhead" begins in Griffith Park on Mt. Hollywood Dr. where Vermont Canyon and Western Canyon Rds. meet - just below Griffith Observatory. Continue on Mt. Hollywood Dr. past 'The Knolls' described in the hike Mt. Hollywood Knolls for about a mile (1.5 mi from the trailhead/start) to the intersection of the Mulholland Trail. During this stretch, the road heads northeast and climbs gradually but steadily over that distance, rising about 200 ft to an elevation of 1,350 ft. Off to the left, fantastic views over Brush Canyon can be had, along with views of Mt. Lee (home of the Hollywood Sign), and Mt. Chapel to the east of it. There are a couple of picnic tables about mid-way up that have a good view of Mt. Lee and make a great spot for a short break.

View east towards Glendale from the overlook

Continue on Mt. Hollywood Dr. past the intersection of the Mulholland Trail, a dirt fire road on the left, for about 100 yds to a dirt path leading up and to the right. At the "T" turn right and continue up the trail for roughly another hundred yards where you'll come to another fire road intersection. Stay to the right and continue for another 275 yds / .15 mi along the trail. The mass on your immediate left is Mt. Bell. You'll hike past it to the south side of the mountain until you come to an overlook at 1,475 ft with views sprawling to the east. As you face east, on your left will be a small footpath which leads steeply up the remaining 100 ft to the summit of Mt. Bell. Though by no means treacherous, this last bit can be a bit slippery as there's loose dirt and gravel along this short but steep jaunt to the top.

View of Mt. Hollywood from summit

Mt. Bell towers above Brush Canyon and from the top, offers a nice view southwest down this canyon toward Hollywood. To the west (from left-to-right) lie Mt. Lee, Cahuenga Peak and Mt. Chapel. The summit also offers views over the northeast side of Griffith Park toward Glendale and the Verdugo Mountains. To the south, a dirt path traverses an *officially* unnamed peak (locals call it Baby Bell) which leads to Mt. Hollywood, half a mile away.

After soaking in the view, you can retrace your steps and enjoy the scenic stroll back to the start. Exercise care on the initial descent - a walking stick could prove to be a valuable asset here.

Details
Distance: 3.8 mi
Duration: 2 hrs
Elevation Range: 1,035 ft - 1,582 ft
Net Elevation Gain: 547 ft
Total Elevation Gain: 600 ft
Trailhead Coordinates: 34.123855, -118.302410
Description: This hike takes about an hour to reach the summit with great views of Brush Canyon, Mt. Lee and Mt. Hollywood.