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To the Batcave and beyond

There's no end to our pushiness. This week, Times photographer Genaro Molina goes on a hike in the heart of the Hollywood Hills with Michelle Tyler and her friend, reader Randi Hill, who fills us in on the demanding escape.

October 21, 2003|Randi Hill

I must have some goat in me, because I like to be on top of a mountain. I'm from Norway, and all my life I have sought out nature. I'm also a photographer.

I've lived in the same apartment for 20 years just a few minutes' walk from the Hollywood Hills. About seven or eight years ago, my friend and neighbor Michelle Tyler, an artist and musician, introduced me to Bronson Canyon.

Up there, we feel far removed from the "buzzle" of the city. It's a peaceful spot right in the heart of Hollywood.

There are so many paths to choose from. We can power walk, trail blaze or rock climb. And, of course, there are the great views. On a clear day you can see Catalina.

We usually go in the morning when it's cooler, say 8 or 9 o'clock. When we get to the mountaintop, we usually have an orange -- that's a Norwegian tradition, and it's very refreshing.

Sometimes we see horseback riders, and we meet other people along the way. We are both what you'd call mature women, and we like the workout we get in these hills. It's a treat for the body and soul.

The particulars

Where: Bronson Canyon in the Hollywood Hills, on the southern edge of Griffith Park within sight of the Hollywood sign and the now-closed Griffith Observatory.

What: A 2-mile circular hike, with some rock climbing, that goes over a bridge, by a tunnel, through a riverbed, down a fire road and, sometimes, by a small waterfall.

How: Take the 101 Freeway to Gower Street and go north. Take Franklin Avenue east, then turn north on North Bronson Avenue, which connects with Canyon Drive. Public parking is open until sunset. Bronson Canyon is reached by walking over a bridge and up a gated driveway on the east side of Canyon Drive's dead end.

Back story: In 1903, Union Rock Co. opened a quarry in what now is Griffith Park. The quarry closed in the late 1920s, but the caves became an often-used site for location filming. Prepare for a '60s flashback when you see the tunnel that was dressed up in jungle vines to star as the Batcave in the "Batman" TV series.

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