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Summertime: A Guide to Entertainment, Activities And Excursions : Discoveries : * If you've exhausted all of the usual tourist spots, it's time to visit some destinations along the unbeaten path. : Saddle Up and Get Some Grub

June 20, 1991|DAVID COLKER and DAVID WHARTON

Saddles and salsa, dusty trails and icy margaritas--it's the ultimate Tex-Mex meal.

Each Friday night, the cowpokes at Sunset Ranch in Hollywood lead a posse of 40 or so riders over the hill and down into Burbank, where the group stops for grub at a Mexican restaurant before turning back.

The outing begins at 5 p.m., as cowboys and cowgirls of varying skill--from beginner to advanced--are matched with appropriate horses.

This 10-mile ride comes complete with the good (sunlight bathing green hills), the bad (some of the horses don't get along and may bite each other) and the ugly (the twilight view of Burbank through a layer of smog). Also, when the head honcho warns you that the trail is long, he isn't kidding. The horses move at a walking pace so it takes 1 1/2 hours each way.

Then there's the food at Viva restaurant, which isn't particularly noteworthy but is certainly a welcome respite.

The return trip starts after dark and offers a spectacular view of the lights below, along with some pretty glimpses of horses silhouetted against the glowing night sky. Bring warm clothes.

The Sunset Ranch is located at 3400 N. Beachwood Drive in Hollywood. Tickets: $25, with dinner extra. Information: (213) 469-5450.

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