3 Verdugo Mountains

Verdugo Mountains

Geobox| Range
name=Verdugo Mountains

image_caption=Verdugo Mountains, south view
country=United States
district=Los Angeles County| district_type=County
parent=Transverse Ranges
highest=Verdugo Peak
The Verdugo Mountains are a small mountain range located just south of the western San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County, Southern California, USA. The range is commonly known simply as the Verdugos. It is also sometimes referred to as the Verdugo Hills.


The Verdugo Mountains were named for the Verdugo family, holders of the "Rancho San Rafael" land grant which covered the mountains during California's Spanish and Mexican period. On October 20 1784 Pedro Fages, the military governor of Alta California, granted Jose Maria Verdugo permission to use the rancho Verdugo referred to as "La Zanja". [http://www.laokay.com/halac/RanchoSanRafael.htm "Adobes of Rancho San Rafael"] ] The rancho's boundaries were primarily defined by the Verdugo Mountains, Arroyo Seco, the Los Angeles River, the boundary followed north along the east bank of the river, and wrapping westerly around Griffith Park to a point near Travel Town.


The Verdugo Mountains are a rather rugged offshoot range of the San Gabriel Mountains located in Los Angeles County, California, and consist almost entirely of igneous and metamorphic rocks similar to the basement rocks exposed to the north in the San Gabriel Mountains, south of the San Gabriel Fault. These rocks consist of gneiss, and gneissic diorite and quartz diorite, intruded by irregular bodies of equigranular granitic rocks, predominantly quartz diorite and granodiorite, with accompanying pegmatite and aplite. [Weber, F. Harold, Jr., and others, 1980, Earthquake Hazards Associated with the Verdugo-Eagle Rock and Benedict Canyon Fault Zones, Los Angeles County California. Calif. Div. Mines and Geology Open File Report 80-10] Exposed rocks in the Shadow Hills neighborhood at the extreme northwestern end of the Verdugos are typically marine sedimentary rocks of Miocene age, predominantly sandstone and shale. A half-inch-thick vein of blade-shaped evaporite crystals can be found in the exposed shale just south of Wentworth Street, between Foothill Boulevard and the Foothill Freeway overpass.


The range runs roughly southeast to northwest between the City of Glendale and the community of Tujunga. The Verdugo Mountains lie within the corporate boundaries of the cities of Glendale, Burbank, and Los Angeles. The Los Angeles neighborhoods of Tujunga, Sunland, Shadow Hills, La Tuna Canyon, and Sun Valley are all adjacent to the range on its north end.

The Verdugos are part of the Transverse Ranges. They form part of the eastern boundary of the San Fernando Valley and part of the southern boundary of the Crescenta Valley. North of the range, it is separated from the San Gabriels by an area of connected valleys containing the Sunland and Tujunga neighborhoods of Los Angeles, between the Tujunga Valley at the mouth of Big Tujunga Wash and the northern end of the Crescenta Valley. The Foothill Freeway (US 210) climbs for a few miles up and over the northern end of the Verdugos after passing through the Crescenta Valley, descending into Sunland to continue along the northeast edge of the San Fernando Valley. Near where the Foothill Freeway begins to climb the Verdugos is another pass across the north end of the range through La Tuna Canyon along La Tuna Canyon Road. On the southeast end of the range, it is separated from the San Rafael Hills to the east by the "Verdugo Wash". The routing of the Glendale Freeway (SR 2) along these hills north of its junction with the Ventura Freeway (SR 134) provides a largely unimpeded view of the eastern slope of the range across the valley. Some say that there are traces of copper and gold. Fact|date=April 2008


The highest peak in the Verdugos is the informally named Verdugo Peak (3,126 feet) in Glendale near the northern end of the range. Another peak to the south of "Verdugo Peak" near Brand Park in Glendale was recently named Tongva Peak (2,656 feet) in honor of the Tongva (Gabrielino) people, the original inhabitants of much of the Los Angeles Basin, Santa Monica Mountains, and San Gabriel Valley areas. Other named peaks are Mount La Tuna on the north end of the range and Mount Thom on the south end of the range.


*"Angeles Front Country Trail Map". San Rafael, California: Tom Harrison Maps, 2001. ISBN 1-877689-65-3.
*"Verdugo Mountains trail map". Matt Maxon, 2005 http://pctmap.homeip.net/data/PDF/Verdugo%20Mtns%2001-16-05.pdf
*Burbank, California, 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle map. United States Geological Survey.
*Pasadena, California, 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle map. United States Geological Survey.
*"Mount La Tuna" - coord|34.22327|N|118.33763|W|region:US_type:mountain_scale:50000
*"Verdugo Peak" - coord|34.21518|N|118.28001|W|region:US_type:mountain_scale:50000
*"Tongva Peak" - coord|34.19722|N|118.25833|W|region:US_type:mountain_scale:50000
*"Mount Thom" - coord|34.18717|N|118.25596|W|region:US_type:mountain_scale:50000

Flora and fauna

Except for a tenuous link to the Angeles National Forest through Big Tujunga Wash to the north, the Verdugo Mountains are an urban wildlife island. Native-plant landscapes that may survive and even thrive in many places at the higher elevations include chaparral and oak woodlands. Hazards that the wise hiker will learn to avoid in these landscapes include poison oak ("leaflets three: let them be!"), black widow spiders, gopher holes (ankle sprainers), and rattlesnakes.

Mountain lions are present in the Verdugo's. Visitors should take appropriate care.

Protected areas

*Verdugo Mountains State Park, California Department of Parks and Recreation
*Verdugo Mountains Open Space Preserve, jointly operated by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the City of Glendale

*Brand Park, Glendale
*Stough Canyon Nature Center, Burbank
*Wildwood Canyon Park, Burbank
*La Tuna Canyon Park, Los Angeles
*Tujunga Ponds, Los Angeles

The Verdugo Mountains are being considered as part of the proposed Rim of the Valley Corridor National Park.

tate conservation

The purpose of the Verdugo Mountains property, in Los Angeles County, is to preserve and protect as urban open space a remnant of natural lands located near the city of Glendale in the north portion of the heavily urbanized Los Angeles basin. The mountains are California state-protected property.

Hiking and biking

The Verdugo Mountains have many hiking trails. The trails are rather short and intermediate in difficulty.

In addition to hikers, mountain bike riders do their off-road sport on the many trails in the Verdugo Mountains. The trail that starts on La Tuna Canyon Road in the northwest end of the mountains is popular with bikers as it is one of the wider and easier trails in the mountains, with one of the easiest grades.

The entrance to the Upper Verdugo Park from the Villa Cabrinis in Burbank is a park popular with hikers who walk up the Cabrini hill.

ee also

Nearby mountain ranges
*San Rafael Hills - southeast
*San Gabriel Mountains - east and north
*Santa Monica Mountains - southwest
*Santa Susana Mountains - northwest
*Simi Hills - west


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*"The Verdugos of Hispanic California". Marie E. Northrop. 1978.


External links

* [http://outdoorla.org/trails/ Outdoor LA Hiking Trails] - Hiking trails in the area with maps and directions to the trailheads.
* [http://parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=635 Verdugo Mountains State Park] - California State Parks page for the Verdugo Mountains State Park
* [http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s109-153 Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act] - GovTrack page for Senate Bill 153, the Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act
* [http://www.latrails.com/hike/v.html LA Trails - Verdugo Mountains] - a listing of most of the hiking trails in the Verdugo Mountains.
* [http://www.verdugohillshike.org/ Verdugo Hills Community Hike] - an annual communinty hike and trail run in the Verdugos involving the Glendale, Burkbank, and Crescenta Valley communities
* [http://www.lamountains.com/searchresults.asp?regionid=9 Parks in the Verdugo & San Rafael Mountains Region] - Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy page, with an interagency list of parks and other protected areas in the Verdugo Mountains/San Rafael Hills area

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