FATMAP difficulty grade
The Betty B.
Dearing Cross Mountain Trail is kind of a hidden gem in the LA area.
It’s no secret, but most people hike only at one end of the trail or the other and miss out on what's in between.
It’s a surprisingly long and scenic trail, considering its location in the metro area.
The full distance is ideal for a hilly trail run with a healthy dose of nature.
The trail traverses forested ridges from Wilacre Park to Fryman Canyon Park, in the vicinity of Mulholland Drive, but tucked out of sight of any road for most of the way. On this run you’ll climb to hilltop clearings with views over Studio City, dive into leafy canyons with cool air, and wind through hillside groves with canopies of arcing tree boughs.
Much of the trail is shaded, so it can be good on warmer days, but there are still plenty of exposed stretches. Beginning in Wilacre Park, where restrooms and drinking water are available, a paved path leads somewhat steeply onto a ridge.
You can trade the pavement for packed dirt by turning onto U-Vanu trail near the top.
It follows the ridge crest, through sunny meadows and chaparral, and eventually rejoins Dearing Trail.
From there, the trail threads across forested hillsides and canyons.
There are some steep sections, but for the most part, it’s a gently undulating traverse.
At one point, you’ll briefly connect with a cul-de-sac on Iredell Lane, then continue on the trail and climb the hill above the subdivision. One particularly lush glen with a small creek is labeled as “rainforest” by a sign along the trail, though it probably wouldn’t fit the definition anywhere besides arid Los Angeles.
In this drainage and a few others, you’ll cross small streambeds (usually dry) on planks or rocks.
Much of the trail is cut into the hillside, with a steep drop on one side, but the surface is mostly smooth and firm if it’s not muddy.
You’ll likely share the trail with mountain bikers, so keep a heads up on these narrow sections.
More dramatic ups and downs lead up to the Fryman Canyon Trailhead on Mulholland Drive, ensuring a solid workout.
There’s a parking lot and overlook, but no water or restrooms.
The route mapped here continues downhill to meet with a dirt road, then connect with Fryman Road to complete a loop back to Wilacre Park Trailhead.
If you prefer to stay on trails or want a longer run, you can return the way you came on Betty B.
Dearing to make an out and back instead. Sources: https://mrca.ca.gov/parks/park-listing/wilacre-park/ https://mrca.ca.gov/parks/park-listing/fryman-canyon-park/