Summer is upon us! It’s the season for BBQ’s, days at the beach, and epic road trips! Here at Joeography, we are no strangers to road trips. Its one of our preferred ways to travel! About a year ago, we even started a segment called The Road Less Traveled(See Joeography: The Road Less Traveled), in honor of some of the best roads and scenic drives out there! In continuation of The Road Less Traveled segment, We decided to go explore one of the more famous roads in Southern California and possibly America, Mulholland Scenic Parkway.
What started out as just an idea to bring people from the city to the mountains and the coast by William Mulholland, ended up a reality when construction started in 1924 on what would be later named Mulholland Drive. Starting our drive west of the 101 freeway, we wind our way through the Santa Monica Mountains on Mulholland Drive, which makes up 24 miles of the Mulholland Scenic Parkway. Mulholland Drive ends into Mulholland Highway, but the 8 mile stretch west of the 405 is unpaved and subject to closure. You can find directions on how we bypassed this part by clicking link below.
Continuing our drive on Mulholland Highway, we start in Calabasas, following the parkway 30 miles as it twists and turns its way towards the ocean, ending at Leo Carrillo Beach. As you’re winding your way through the Santa Monica Mountains, there many scenic overlooks and scenic vistas along the route. They all offer great views of the city, mountains, and on a clear day, you can see the ocean and occassionally all the way to Catalina Island. Not all of these overlooks were created equally. Below are some of our favorites!
Hollywood Bowl Scenic Overlook
The most easterly of the scenic overlooks, the Hollywood Bowl Scenic Overlook is situated to provide a beautiful view of the Hollywood Bowl Amphitheater, downtown Los Angeles, and, on a clear day, the ocean and Catalina Island. To the east, the Hollywood Sign and Griffith Park Observatory are clearly visible, and to the north the San Fernando Valley. The Overlook was built concurrently with Universal City Overlook in 1984 in preparation for the Summer Olympics.
Universal City Scenic Overlook
The Universal City Overlook, located on the north side of Mulholland Drive, provides views of the San Fernando Valley and Verdugo Hills. Funded by a donation from Universal studios, it was built in 1984 concurrently with the Hollywood Bowl Overlook further east, to accommodate visitors to Los Angeles during the Summer Olympic Games.
Nancy Hoover Pohl Scenic Overlook
Located on the north side of Mulholland Drive, the Nancy Hoover Pohl Overlook provides views of the San Fernando Valley, a physical fitness course, and access into the canyon trails below. The overlook is named in honor Nancy Hoover Pohl, who fought to curb development in the Santa Monica Mountains and to create local parkland. Nancy Hoover Pohl was also instrumental in the establishment of the five-mile Betty B. Dearing Mountain Trail, which is also accessible from the overlook.
Barbara fine Summit scenic overlook
On the north side of Mulholland Drive, the developed overlook named for local conservationist, Barbara A. Fine, includes a large paved parking area and a short trail to viewpoints with a stunning view of the upper fork of Fryman Canyon, the San Fernando Valley, the Simi Hills, and the San Gabriel Mountains.
Stone Canyon Scenic Overlook
On the south side of Mulholland Drive, the Stone Canyon Overlook was developed in 1994. The overlook features a short trail with views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s beautiful lake-like Stone Canyon Reservoir. On a clear day, the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Catalina Island can be seen from the overlook.
Alisa B Katz Las Virgenes Valley Scenic Overlook
Alisa B. Katz Las Virgenes Valley Overlook provides sweeping vistas of the beautiful meadows of the Las Virgenes Valley and the rugged crags above Malibu Creek State Park.
Seminole Scenic Overlook
Located in the western Santa Monica Mountains on a twisty portion of Mulholland Highway called “The Snake”, Seminole Overlook looks north east toward volcanic mountain formations. The Snake and Seminole Overlook is a popular stop for sports car and motorcycle enthusiast. You can see many different exotic cars and bikes driving up and down this portion of the Parkway.
After we ended our drive at Leo Carrillo Beach, we were reminded of how beautiful nature is and just how lucky we are to be able to enjoy so much of it! So don’t wait, grab your buddies, your family, even your dog and get out and enjoy it! Remember to Never Stop Exploring!
Here are some tips when driving Mulholland:
1. While there are parts that have beautiful homes and places of business along the way, there are spots where there is little to no reception. Make sure you let someone know where you’ll be, just to be safe.
3. You can find directions on how to bypass the unpaved section of Mulholland by clicking here.
4. A drive on the Mulholland Scenic Parkway isn’t complete without a stop at the Rock Store. The Rock Store is located right before you get to Seminole Scenic Overlook when heading west. The address is 30354 Mulholland Hwy, Cornell, CA 91301. The Rock Store is usually open only on weekends and can get very busy. For more information on hours, etc, click here.