I had just assumed that it was a gate to some wealthy person's property, which I guess it probably used to be. On this ride, I thought maybe it was the entrance to a hiking trail, so I did a little research, and so it was. It's part of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the land this trail is on was donated by Alex Trebek of Jeopardy. I went back a week or so later, on Oct. 28, to take a hike.
The land is on a ridge between Nichols Canyon and Runyon Canyon, more on the Nichols side. Here is Nichols canyon from near the start of the trail:
There are some great views of L.A. from this trail, as there are from most of the trails in the Hollywood hills. It was an incredibly clear day as well.
These buildings seem to have landslide walls to protect them:
This is looking over towards Runyon Canyon park, although I'm not sure if the trail visible there is actually in that park or a little below it. There's another park called Wattles Garden park that I haven't been to yet, it could be in that one, it's between the Trebek land and Runyon.
Such a clear day! That blotch in the upper right corner is a bird:
This is the Griffith Observatory, off to the east, in Griffith Park:
I think this plant is a Yucca although I'm not certain:
A lot of houses in the Hollywood hills aren't as private as you might think they are. You can often see into people's yards and houses really easily as the houses are perched here and there and are often very close to the roads (and trails, as this one is). The road you see leading up to that gate past their six (!) garages is a public one, it looks like their own private driveway but it's not. I guess as the last house on the road, they wouldn't get a lot of traffic though.
Looking back at the trail, with the (maybe?) Yucca's on the ridge:
More pics from the hike:
This is a prickly pear cactus- I got a photo of one with fruit on it on another hike a few days later, but you'll just have to wait for that one. This one's very big- I'd guess between 7-8 feet high:
I pasted two photos together in a panorama for this one of Nichols Canyon:
Those mountains at the back of the photo would be on the other side of the San Fernando Valley, which would start behind those hills in the middleground:
A different cactus that I don't know the name of yet:
I'm pretty sure this is a puffball- last time I saw one was in a much colder desert environment, up in Arctic Bay:
One more trail pic, on the way back down:
Bushes near the trailhead:
This was a great trail, and not far from where I live, either, just a short drive (or bike ride) north.