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GREAT HIKES: Queensferry Trails:

The Queensferry trailhead has a big and bold entranceway, but is discreetly tucked away at the bottom of a cul de sac in the hills above Mandeville Canyon. Folks seem to either know all about it or never have heard of it at all.

Get there by driving Sunset Boulevard to Mandeville, go left on Westridge to Bayliss and then left on Queensferry. Parking is another issue. The most obvious parking spots, nearest the trailhead, are restricted, forcing hikers and bikers to back up a block or so, often crowding or impeding some of the canyon residents’ homes. A few houses have posted signs like “please don’t block our walkway,” which are too frequently ignored.

Once you are past the parking challenge, the trailhead is a short walk down the cul de sac. You can’t miss it; giant wooden gates close off the steep cement road, but there is a pedestrian passageway on the left.

Why the gate needs to be so imposing is a mystery; it looks like something designed for international border security. In many years of hiking the area, I’ve never actually seen the gate opened, but do seasonally notice heavy machinery down at the bottom of the ramp, prepping the Sullivan Canyon floor.

Just beyond the gate, you can take an immediate left and u-turn, and follow a charming little walkway as it zigzags its way down to the equestrian homes below. Or, you can head straight down the cement ramp and then bear to the right for a variety of options in Sullivan.

The most common trek is to simply stay on Sullivan as it gradually moves uphill to the north, narrowing and closing-in with increasing canopy coverage. It’s a very sweet hike, not especially demanding, but eventually fairly brushy. Although first timers will probably be unaware of the options, you’ll pass by the access route up to Wirebreak Two, on your right, and the cut-over trail up to the extended Capri Ridge on your left.

Our Monday-Wednesday night hiking group usually picks-up the cut-over trail rising up to Westerly ridge above Sullivan and then returns along an alternate “loop course.” The end result is tremendous diversity, great views and a nicely balanced two-hour adventure.

However, there are a variety of other great options that you can discover on your own and interlink with Sullivan, Capri, Westridge and even Mulholland. Just get past the big gate and have fun!Fearless readers interested in free Monday-Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.

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