In the 1960s, Laurel Canyon was simply "the canyon." It was where kids climbed steep streets on bikes and built forts in the... more » eucalyptus-scented hills. A few locals were becoming known as artists--Ed Kienholz and Carole King--as the canyon was undergoing a burst of creativity that would someday be likened to San Francisco's Haight in the 1960s or, with some exaggeration, Paris in the 1920s.
A place of great natural beauty, central in Los Angeles though also hidden and highly quirky, the canyon attracted such now-legendary rockers as Frank Zappa, Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall ("Blues from Laurel Canyon"), Mama Cass, Graham Nash ("Our House") and Joni Mitchell, who lived, loved, partied, composed and sang their hearts out in cottages and bungalows in the snaky streets off Kirkwood and Lookout.
That era may have ended when canyon ladies like Mitchell came "wrapped in songs and gypsy shawls" and found true love with shaggy, starry-eyed guitarists, but the canyon retains a special unbuttoned magic.
This tour is limited to the terrain between Mulholland Drive to the north and Sunset Boulevard to the south. These roads set the parameters of the canyons, which are, geologically speaking, former streambeds that cut through the Santa Monica Mountains, the camel's hump that divides the city from the valley. Though this tour covers about 30 miles, the tiny streets and hidden, shady folds make the canyons feel far more vast and intricate.
This tour references Travel + Leisure's article titled "Roadtrip through Los Angeles' Canyons" by Michael Frank. less «