The range of activities in Los Angeles continues to amaze and inspire me. All in a weekends' time you can lounge on a beautiful, warm beach in Santa Monica, adventure your way through the concrete jungle downtown, AND explore nature/the beautiful back hills of Hollywood. Ok, that may be a busy day but you catch my drift…there’s no shortage of things to do here! I’ve lived in the city of Los Angeles for almost a year now (crazy how time flies), and now that I’ve gotten most of the more “touristy” attractions checked off my LA bucketlist (think LACMA, Griffith Observatory, Runyon, The Broad Museum, Venice Canals, Santa Monica Pier, etc.), I’m excited to be able to spend more of my free time exploring hidden gems, finding new places, and creating unique LA blog content.
My love for off-the-beaten-path adventures leads me to today’s blog post…Hollywood’s iconic and beloved Sunset Ranch. My mom and sister came down to visit me last weekend, and since my mom is a huge lover of horses and rides for fun often, she suggested horseback riding through the Hollywood hills as a “girls day out” for us. Family is everything to me, and the days we can spend creating memories together will always be my favorite adventure in life.
We started our day at the Sunset Hills Ranch, which is located at the end of Beachwood Dr. in the neighborhood on the outskirts of Los Feliz/Hollywood. The ranch itself has a traditional country feel to it – and I couldn’t help but think wait, am I still in Los Angeles? After snapping a few pics of the rustic farmhouse décor we made our way to the check-in kiosk where we were fitted with helmets and assigned to our horses. I got Geronimo for the day – a charming, somewhat stubborn horse who definitely had a mind of his own (so I guess you could say we related to each other a little bit). We got all settled on our horses and we began to follow our guide Isaac through the ranch and up into the Griffith Park trails. Isaac was awesome, and if you go to Sunset Ranch, I’d ask for him! It was interesting to hear about his background, how he became employed by the ranch, and how much he loves horses and the great outdoors. He was super helpful throughout the ride too (like when I dropped my camera lens cover while going downhill – opps - or when my sister’s saddle began slipping right off of her horse – double opps).
The four of us went on a 2 hour ride together through the park trails, and it was the perfect amount of time. Around the 1:30 hour mark my upper and lower back and inside of my thighs began to feel VERY tired and sore. Horseback riding is definitely a decent workout. As we ventured throughout Griffith Park, we saw views of the Hollywood sign, Burbank area, San Gabriel Mountains, Griffith Observatory, and the LA skyline. I wore my camera around my neck, but I would suggest just bringing an iPhone or something you can easily store in your pocket because my camera became a little annoying (and heavy). Since it requires two hands to maneuver, I was unable to use it for most of the ride. Also, if you’re afraid of heights, BEWARE, because the horses like livin’ on the edge. Literally. Geronimo trotted on the edge of the trail (mere inches away from a 50-100 foot drop) for most of the trail ride. At first I was pretty freaked out, but Isaac didn’t seem at all concerned and I figured Geronimo knew what he was doing. Sometimes you just have to relax and enjoy the ride, huh?
Although it did take some effort to balance on the horse and steer our large furry friends every once in a while, the entire experience was pretty peaceful and relaxing. It was quiet out in the good ol’ LA countryside, which allowed my mom, sister, and I to chat and have some quality family time. Overall, we LOVED this experience. But I did need a 3 hour nap afterward. :)
If horseback riding through the beautiful hills of Griffith Park at all interests you after reading about my experience, here are the tour options from www.SunsetRanchHollywood.com:
Keep in mind that there is a 240 lb. weight limit to ride the horses at Sunset Ranch. Located just a few minutes from the center of Hollywood, this is the perfect Los Angeles experience if you like horses (or want to learn how to ride – beginners welcome!), want to try something new, and love a good outdoor adventure.
Sunset Ranch is located at 3400 N Beachwood Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90068. I was a little confused when I got there, so keep in mind these details: there will be a guard at the top of Beachwood Drive. Tell him you are going to Sunset Ranch and he will open the gate for you. Park in the dirt parking lot. If it’s full, you can park right next to the white fence by the picnic table – but leave enough room for a large truck to drive up.
Visit www.sunsetranchhollywood.com for more details or give ‘em a call at (323) 469-5450.
EXPLORE YOUR HEART OUT
L.A. is an amazing and diverse city full of culture, history, art, nature, museums, and attractions - which results in countless things to do & see - no matter your budget. Time after time I find that when you seek new adventure, you will find it!
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