La Tuna Canyon to Vital Link


The trailhead is right off La Tuna Canyon Road in La Crescenta, CA. There is a small dirt strip on the side with a picnic table. Park there and walk to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Parkland trailhead sign. There is a use trail behind the parking area but ignore it.


The single-track quickly takes you away from the road and into the wilderness. We absolutely loved exploring La Tuna Canyon with my sister. It’s hard to believe this secluded off the beaten path is part of Verdugo Mountain. We never saw anyone on this trail until we reached Verdugo Mtwy.

Such a cute picture of my sister and Xena

For the first mile, we were exposed and the trail was dry. Then, somewhere in mile two, it started to get green and I felt the moisture in the air. Soon, we were greeted with tall trees and shades. Rocks were covered with multiple shades of green lichens and wild mushrooms were growing out of fallen trees. Did you know Lichens obtain their water and nutrients from the atmosphere? The hike became very interesting!

Without obstacles and challenges, it wouldn’t be an adventure.


The trail was pretty easy to follow. Overall, the trail had a steady incline. Some parts were steeper than others but just for a short distance.



Eventually, we were out of the shaded area and were exposed again. At about 1.8 mile mark, you will come to a split. Turn left here towards the Verdugo Mountain. The trail ended when it met up with Verdugo Mtwy in 0.4 miles and there was a chair waiting for us. So we sat and enjoyed the incredible views from the top. 🙂


Mountain kisses are the best!
La Tuna Canyon

We knew we were pretty close to the top of the Vital Link trail we did in November, just weren’t sure how close. We decided to hike to it and “connect the dot” so to speak. It didn’t look that far from the map. As we climbed further up on Verdugo Mtwy, the weather started to shift. It was foggy and rain clouds were visible. Here are some pictures I took on the way. The fog made the views dramatic.

Burbank and Wildwood Canyon Park below and Griffith Park ahead
View of Vital Link Trail (first ridge)

By the time we reached the top of Vital Link, it was misty and cold. It made my sister happy to “connect the dot” though. Vital Link is in her backyard practically so she often hikes this. She enjoyed arriving at the top from a different trail. We were at 2,949 feet and we gained 1,784 feet.

We took a short break then started back. We didn’t want to get rained on. I don’t know how but we missed this old abandoned pickup truck on our way up on La Tuna Canyon Trail but we spotted it before the shaded area when we were going down. Interesting trail!



Good to Know:

  • Hike Date:  1.18.16
  • Trailhead:  34°13’59.5″N 118°18’40.9″W (copy and paste this to your GPS app)
  • Distance:  7.5 miles RT (La Tuna Canyon only 4.4 miles)
  • Elevation Gain:  1784 ft (La Tuna Canyon only 925 ft)
  • No restroom

Get Our Latest Comprehensive Dog-friendly Trail List Here. Enjoy!

Happy Hiking!


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4 comments on “La Tuna Canyon to Vital Link”

  1. Looks like a fun walk! I especially like the lichens and the handy seat at the top with a great view. I really enjoyed the narrative and the pics. Your furry best friend is always so cute. Happy hiking. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Jane! I knew you would like the lichens and mushrooms!! 😁 You are so knowledgeable, I almost asked you in my post if you know what these green ones are called. Ha ha! I don’t know much about them except that I like their colorfulness. Anyhow, yes, Xena liked this hike too. It was super fun with obstacles and all. 😊

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