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Firebreak Trail to Griffith Observatory

Los Angeles

A short, fairly steep hike to a beautiful view from the Griffith Observatory.

Hiking Difficult

2.7 km
169 m
169 m
0-1 hrs
Low Point
180 m
High Point
341 m
Firebreak Trail to Griffith Observatory Map

The Firebreak Trail to Griffith Observatory hike starts at the Ferndell picnic area and climbs a steep ridge to the iconic observatory, offering stunning views of downtown Los Angeles and the Hollywood sign along the way. The hike measures 1.7 miles out-and-back with a fairly steep 554 feet of elevation gain.


The Firebreak trail is an unofficial but regularly traveled path that threads the thin strip of land between the East Observatory Trail and Griffith Park’s southern boundary. It begins as an unmarked but obvious trail heading uphill through a grove of oaks, then splits and rejoins before the main ascent. The trail gains over 400 vertical feet in a short but very steep and often loose section, then levels out briefly before making another climb to reach a junction just below the observatory.

The Firebreak trail is not for the faint of heart or the inexperienced hiker. It requires good balance, stamina, and hiking poles can aid in stability. The trail can also be hot and exposed during the summer, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen. Dogs are allowed on leash, but exercise caution on warm days and on the steep terrain.

Once you reach the observatory, you can enjoy the wonders of the universe at this historic landmark. The observatory features exhibits, shows, telescopes, and a café. You can also explore the surrounding trails, such as the West Observatory Loop Trail or the Charlie Turner Trail. To return to the Ferndell picnic area, you can either retrace your steps on the Firebreak trail or take the East Observatory Trail for a more gradual descent.

Sources: Firebreak and Observatory Loop (Griffith Park) – Nobody Hikes in LA. https://nobodyhikesinla.com/2012/09/20/fire-break-and-observatory-loop-griffith-park/. The Iconic Griffith Observatory: Exploring the Wonders of the Universe!. https://californianewsboard.com/the-iconic-griffith-observatory-exploring-the-wonders-of-the-universe/. Conversation with Bing Chat



Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

all year round


  • Picturesque

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area