On the east end of the Verdugo Mountains between Glendale and Burbank, there is a scenic 6.15-mile loop on wide dirt service roads. North and South Beaudry Motorways circle past Tongva Peak and Mount Thom, which rise above the micro-range’s eastern ridges. The high point of the loop, and a highlight of the hike, is a scenic overlook on the 2,656-foot summit of Tongva Peak. There are big views of the massive metropolitan area below, and surprising peace to be found on this loop hike with 1,475 feet of elevation gain.
The hike begins from a not-so-obvious trailhead along Beaudry Boulevard in a neighborhood at the northeast base of the Verdugo Mountains. Pass through a gate and warm up on a level dirt road bordering a flood control drainage area. A small grove of sycamores provide a brief stretch of early shade, until the trail climbs a switchback to the start of the loop, just under half a mile from the start.
South Beaudry Motorway breaks off to the left, while North Beaudry Motorway heads to the right. The south side of the loop has more down-facing views away from the mountains toward the cityscape below. On the north side of the loop, there is a stronger draw to look upward toward the summits. To make the north side even more appealing for the ascent, the motorway has the potential to deliver some mountainside-provided shade, which is a welcome relief when hiking up the trail on a hot day. For these reasons, it is recommended that you tackle the loop in a counter clockwise direction, hiking up North Beaudry Motorway and down South Beaudry Motorway.
Heading up the north side offers plenty to look at, with views toward the San Gabriel Mountains expanding as you climb. In the spring and early summer, you can spot lupines, sage, sticky monkeyflower, and even occasional California poppies blooming along the trail. There are very few trees along the way. Chaparral and sage-covered slopes clear the way for panoramic views. The winding road weaves up the mountainside, passing beneath the steep east face of Tongva Peak, which is marked by a radio-towered summit.
The steady climb provides a good workout. After gaining 1,175 feet over 2.3 miles, reach another junction (2.75 miles from the start). Straight ahead Verdugo Motorway continues east toward Verdugo Peak, the highest summit in the range at 3,126 feet.
From the top of North Beaudry Motorway, it is an additional 2.5 miles to Verdugo Peak, with 625 feet of elevation gain. You may also save Verdugo Peak for another hike in the Verdugo Mountains, reaching the summit via Hostetter Fire Road.
To continue the Beaudry Motorway Loop, turn left up South Beaudry Motorway, climbing 150 feet over a third of a mile to the loop’s highest point at Tongva Peak (2,656 feet). Just after you make the turn, the trail passes through a saddle on the ridgeline with an open view south over Burbank. This is the first taste of the southward views offered on the second half of the loop.
The motorway becomes temporarily paved as you reach the summit of Tongva Peak, just over three miles from the start, where you will see a cluster of tall radio towers wrapped in a chain link fence. Before turning down the road away from the towers, follow a path along the fence out to a landing south of the towers. Here you will find a summit marker for Tongva Peak and the finest overlook of the hike. Look down the ridges on the south side of the mountain toward the expansive city sprawl below. Gaze out across Burbank toward downtown Los Angeles, and look west over more valley cities toward the Santa Monica Mountains. Have a seat and relax. It’s almost all downhill from here!
Return to the road and continue down South Beaudry Motorway. After 0.6 miles, arrive at another summit crowned by fenced-in communication towers. This is Mount Thom, where you will pass the top of Las Flores Motorway on the right. Just past the junction, a short spur heads up to the 2,460-foot summit.
You can walk around the fences on the flattened mountaintop to find a viewpoint on the south side of the peak with broad views toward downtown Los Angeles. Stay to the left down South Beaudry Motorway to continue the loop.
South Beaudry Motorway wraps down the easternmost ridges of the Verdugo Mountain Range, delivering good views of the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains. The trail winds nearer to La Cañada Flintridge, Glendale, and Eagle Rock, offering an abundance of city views. Eventually, the weaving dirt road leads back to the initial split with North Beaudry Motorway, closing out the loop. From there it is just 0.45 miles back down to the trailhead.
This loop is mountain bike and dog friendly. No fee or permit is required to hike Beaudry Motorway Loop, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: From downtown Los Angeles, take the 5 Freeway north to the Glendale Freeway (CA 2). Drive 4.8 miles north and take exit 18 onto Mountain Avenue. Turn left on East Mountain Avenue and make the second right onto Verdugo Road. After 0.2 miles, take a left at the split onto Cañada Road. Drive 1.6 miles north and turn left onto Country Club Road. Go half a mile and turn left up Beaudry Boulevard. Drive 1/3 of a mile to the trailhead on the left. Park along the road.
Trailhead address: 1300 Beaudry Boulevard, Glendale, CA 91208
Trailhead coordinates: 34.193363, -118.241163 (34° 11′ 36.10″N 118° 14′ 28.18″W)
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